Two coaches at Vanderbilt led their squad to Southeastern Conference championships during the 2011-12 academic year and both have been recognized as Vanderbilt Coach of the Year.
Cross country and track & field coach Steve Keith and men's basketball coach Kevin Stallings received the prestigious honor this week from Vice Chancellor David Williams. Keith led the women's cross country team to the SEC title last October, claiming the program's first-ever league championship. Stallings guided the Commodores over a top-ranked Kentucky team in the SEC Tournament to win Vanderbilt's first SEC Tournament championship since 1951.
The 2011 season was a record-breaking year for Keith and the women's cross country team. The team debuted in the top 30 of the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association poll in late September for only the second time after a solid showing in Minnesota. Weeks later the women flew up the poll to third after a second-place finish in Wisconsin. In Knoxville, Tenn. for the SEC Championships, Keith led his team to history with the women dominating the meet and placing five runners in the top 10 to outscore second place Arkansas by 31 points. Two weeks later the squad ran to a second place finish at the South Regional and earned the program's first trip the NCAA Championships, finishing sixth in the nation. For his efforts Keith was tabbed the SEC Coach of the Year and South Region Coach of the Year.
Stallings became the first coach in Vanderbilt history to lead the Commodores to three consecutive NCAA Tournaments and five tournament berths in six years. The Dores finished the campaign 25-11 to secure Stallings' seventh 20-win season at VU, the most in school history. Following the successful season, three Commodores (John Jenkins, Festus Ezeli and Jeffery Taylor) were selected in the first 31 picks of the NBA draft to set a school record and two players (Jenkins and Taylor) were tabbed All-SEC. Having two players named All-SEC marked the first time since 1989 two Dores were recognized by the league.
The women's cross country returns to Percy Warner Park for the Commodore Classic on September 15. The men's basketball team opens the season at home on November 10. Season tickets for men's and women's basketball are now on sale. For more information call 615.322.GOLD or click here.