After winning only nine games in his third season, Bryce Drew was fired as the Vanderbilt Commodores head basketball coach on Friday.
We want to thank you all for the enormous support and outpouring of love we have received today. Below is a quick note from myself & my awesome wife, Tara. Be Blessed. 🙏🏼 🏀 pic.twitter.com/fKZmqwRKfZ
— CoachBryceDrew (@BryceDrewCoach) March 22, 2019
Drew, who led Vandy to 19 wins in his first season, won only 21 games over the last two seasons.
This past season was the worst season in school history for the Commodores, who went 0-18 in conference play (the first winless season in SEC in 65 years).
Vanderbilt will have plenty of options in front of them to replace Drew, but the decision won’t be easy. Many of the “available” coaches have similar resumés. That means the Commodores might have to take another gamble on a young coach.
Here are five coaches I think Vandy should consider.
Thad Matta — Former Ohio State head coach: I think this would pretty much be a home run hire. Matta, who hasn’t coached since 2017, led Ohio State to 12 straight 20 win seasons, before winning only 17 games in his final season. Under Matta, the Buckeyes won the NIT, reached the Final Four, the Elite Eight (twice) and the Sweet 16 (four times). He’d quickly be able to build Vanderbilt into a NCAA Tournament team. Matta reportedly turned down the Georgia job shortly after leaving Ohio State.
Matt McMahon — Murray State head coach: McMahon has found plenty of success at Murray State during his first four years in Kentucky. After two mediocre seasons to start his tenure, McMahon has led the Racers to two straight NCAA Tournament appearances. On Thursday, McMahon led Murray State to a first round upset of Marquette. McMahon, who played under Buzz Peterson at Appalachian State, was a graduate assistant at Tennessee from 2000-02.
Matt Figger — Austin Peay head coach: Figger would be a bit of a gamble because he’s only been a head coach for two seasons. But he does have some SEC experience. Figger was an assistant at Arkansas in 2007 and an assistant at South Carolina from 2013-17. In two seasons at Austin Peay, Figger has compiled a 41-26 record, including a 22-11 record this past season.
Johnny Dawkins — UCF head coach: Dawkins has plenty of experience to be Vanderbilt’s head coach. The former Duke standout, who played nearly ten years in the NBA, was on Duke’s coaching staff from 1998-2008. He served as Stanford’s head coach from 2008-2016, leading them to a NIT championship and a Sweet 16 appearance. After being fired as the Cardinal’s head coach, he was hired by UCF. Dawkins led the Knights to a No. 9 seed in this year’s NCAA Tournament.
Casey Alexander — Lipscomb head coach: The longtime Belmont assistant, and Chattanooga native, has been the head coach at Lipscomb since 2013. Alexander led the Bisons to a NCAA Tournament appearance in 2017-18. The former Stetson head coach knows the Nashville area well and has a 134-119 overall career record.
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