Former North Carolina men’s basketball star Jerry Stackhouse was named the new head coach of the Vanderbilt men’s basketball team on Friday — extending a long line of Tar Heels who have gone on to coaching careers after their time in Chapel Hill.
"I am extremely excited to join the Vanderbilt family and build on the incredible accomplishments of its athletics program and men's basketball program," Stackhouse said, according to a release from Vanderbilt. "I look forward to furthering Vanderbilt's unique approach to athletics — blending a powerhouse competitive spirit with elite academics to holistically develop talented student-athletes and celebrate victories on and off the court.”
Stackhouse, an All-American and All-ACC selection while at UNC, will take over for Bryce Drew, who was fired at the end of the season after just three years leading the program, a stint when the now-former coach saw his team's record progressively decline.
Stackhouse played in a Tar Heel uniform from 1993 to 1995, averaging 15.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game during those two years — numbers that launched him into an 18-year NBA career.
Even while still a player, Stackhouse had professional coaching aspirations. After starting Stackhouse Elite, a successful AAU program based out of Atlanta in 2011, Stackhouse looked seriously into beginning his coaching career after he retired from the NBA in 2013.
On the ESPN podcast "Marty Smith's America" in November 2018, Stackhouse told Marty Smith that he started getting an interest in coaching after learning the fundamentals of the game from Dean Smith, something that stuck with him throughout his career.
The Kinston native got his first taste of professional coaching in 2015 when he was brought aboard as an assistant coach for the Toronto Raptors under head coach Dwane Casey.
After that brief stint, Stackhouse transitioned in 2016 to becoming the head coach of Raptors 905 — the organization’s G-League team — and guided the team to a 39-11 regular season record and its first championship that season.
Before being hired to lead the Commodores, Stackhouse was open about his aspirations of propelling that success into a head coaching position in the pros or college. He did not rule out pursuing either.
Signing a six-year contract for an undisclosed amount, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Stackhouse will now have his chance.
The 6-foot-6 former forward will take over a nine-win program that was winless in the SEC (0-18) last season. Stackhouse had spent the past season as an assistant coach for the Memphis Grizzlies, another experience on a long resume Roy Williams said will make him a successful college coach.
“Jerry was one of our great players at Carolina and was an outstanding player in the NBA for a long time. He has paid his dues to prepare for this job – coaching in the G-League and sponsoring and coaching teams at the high school level,” head coach Roy Williams said, according to a tweet from the UNC basketball Twitter account. “He is eager to be a college head coach and I can’t think of anyone who is more prepared to do a great job at Vanderbilt than Jerry.”
Stackhouse is part of an impressive list of recent Tar Heels who have gone on to the coaching ranks after their playing careers were over.
Most recently, Rasheed Wallace, Stackhouse’s former teammate — who was selected one spot after him in the 1995 NBA Draft — was named the boy’s basketball coach at C.E. Jordan High School in Durham. Former UNC players David Noel and Donald Williams are also high school basketball coaches in the Triangle.
In the college ranks, Stackhouse will join King Rice (Monmouth) and Wes Miller ( UNC Greensboro), two other Tar Heels at the helm of college programs. Current UNC director of basketball operations Sean May has also expressed an interest in pursuing a coaching career.
Stackhouse will have his work cut out for him with the Commodores. With most of the incoming recruits already committed to schools, he will have a year to adjust to his new job and work toward trying to turn around a program that has had just 21 combined wins the last two seasons.
"I would like to thank (athletic director) Malcolm Turner and Chancellor Zeppos for giving me this fantastic opportunity to direct the Vanderbilt men's basketball program into its next great era," Stackhouse said.
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