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Vanderbilt fires coach Jerry Stackhouse after 5 seasons and a 70-92 record

Vanderbilt head coach Jerry Stackhouse reacts on the sidleine during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game againnst Arkansas at the Sotheastern Conference tournament Wednesday, March 13, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Vanderbilt fired coach Jerry Stackhouse on Thursday after a big drop-off in his fifth season with the Commodores, going 9-23 with fans showing their apathy by staying away from historic Memorial Gym.

Athletic director Candice Lee said in a statement that Vanderbilt and Stackhouse, who signed a contract extension in October 2022, agreed to part ways. He leaves with a 70-92 record at Vanderbilt, including 28-60 in the Southeastern Conference.

“Commodore Nation will always remember the ‘Memorial Magic’ moments we experienced under Coach Stackhouse’s leadership,” Lee said. "Given his pedigree, experience, and love of the game, I look forward to seeing what’s next for him.”

Stackhouse and Vanderbilt appeared poised to keep building after going from 19-17 to a 22-15 record. The Commodores reached the Southeastern Conference Tournament semifinals last year, then reached the NIT quarterfinals before losing on their home court to UAB.

Stackhouse thanked Vanderbilt for the opportunity in the university's release Thursday. But the decision had only been a matter of time.

“All that matters is the results, and the results weren't what they were supposed to be,” Stackhouse said after Wednesday night's opening loss in the SEC Tournament. “The NCAA Tournament is the ultimate goal, and we haven’t done that. I haven’t done that. No matter what, those results are those results.”

The Commodores started this season with a home loss to Presbyterian before going 5-8 in nonconference play. They finished with a 4-14 record in SEC play to finish 13th out of 14 teams before the league expands by adding Texas and Oklahoma this summer.

Worse, attendance topped 10,000 at Memorial Gym only twice all season with Tennessee and Kentucky fans helping fill the building. Vanderbilt averaged 6,785 spectators per game this season. Vanderbilt currently is building new basketball offices and a practice gym for the men’s program.

Stackhouse replaced Bryce Drew for the 2019-20 season when he was hired away in April 2019 by then-Vanderbilt athletic director Malcolm Turner from the NBA, where he was an assistant with the Memphis Grizzlies.

The new coach took over a program that went 0-18 in SEC play, leading to Drew’s firing. Under Stackhouse, Vanderbilt was the only SEC team to improve its NET ranking in three seasons spanning the pandemic starting in his first year on the job.

Stackhouse dealt with injuries throughout this season, starting 15 different lineups. That made Vanderbilt one of seven teams in the country to start that many lineups. Stackhouse had four sophomores and five freshmen on a team led by fifth-year guard Ezra Manjon and senior guard Tyrin Lawrence.

Vanderbilt lost its first seven SEC games before beating Missouri, which went winless in league play. The Commodores beat Texas A&M, LSU and got their lone road win at Arkansas before wrapping up the regular season by edging Florida.

But the Commodores blew a 14-point halftime lead to open this year's SEC Tournament and lost the rematch with Arkansas 90-85 Wednesday night.

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AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball