Jerry Stackhouse turned down interviews with two unnamed NBA teams before taking the Vanderbilt head coaching job, he said during his introductory press conference, as relayed by Adam Sparks of the Nashville Tennessean.
Stackhouse served as an assistant coach with the Grizzlies this season.
“I can’t say there are too many college situations that I was looking to go to with my trajectory being what it was in the NBA,” Stackhouse said. “I was on pace to sit down and talk about a head coaching job in the NBA this offseason already with a couple of teams. I had those interviews lined up.”
Stackhouse replaced Bryce Drew, who was fired after the season. Vanderbilt went winless in 18 Southeastern Conference games.
Stackhouse had his share of interviews last summer for NBA head coaching openings. He was a candidate for the Charlotte, New York and Toronto jobs. He doesn’t have college coaching experience but has been in the professional ranks since retiring as a player after 18 years in the league. He was an assistant under Dwane Casey with the Raptors and coached their G League affiliate, Raptors 905, to two championship finals.
Vanderbilt’s athletic director Malcolm Turner, who like Stackhouse is a North Carolina alum, is the former president of the G League. Turner convinced him to take over the downtrodden program.
“I’m ready to anchor down,” Stackhouse said. “As a head coach, I want to teach. It doesn’t matter at what level that I got in. People felt like I was on a trajectory in the NBA. But when I had an opportunity to come here and meet with (Turner), it was an opportunity that I couldn’t resist.”