January 9, 2013
Examining the Stallings era
The debate was inevitable.
Ever since last season ended, when the careers of Festus Ezeli, John Jenkins and Jeffery Taylor ended with a grand total of one NCAA Tournament victory before the three departed for the NBA, Vanderbilt fans have been more divided than ever in their opinions of coach Kevin Stallings. A slow early-season start, which included a loss to Marist, has only fanned the flames of the debate even more.
Our site celebrated its 10-year anniversary earlier in the week, and in that time, the Great Stallings Debate has consistently been the most polarizing issue among VU fans. One camp insists that Stallings is the most successful coach in VU history, while the other says that Stallings is just an average Southeastern Conference coach. The fact that both sides are so far apart tells you how hard it is to have an intelligent discussion on the topic - which is why, for the most part, I usually stay out of it.
At the same time, the fact that fans who are equal in their passion for VU hoops can be so unlike-minded when it comes to their opinions on their coach makes the issue worthy of a closer look - so I decided to look at Stallings' career in a historical context as it relates to his peers within the Southeastern Conference as well as his VU predecessors. I started by putting the claims of both sides under a microscope. Here's what I found.
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