Vanderbilt Basketball Promotes Andy Fox To Associate Head Coach

Andy Fox. Photo: Courtesy of Vanderbilt Athletics

Vanderbilt men’s basketball head coach Jerry Stackhouse has promoted Andy Fox to associate head coach.

Fox is entering his fourth season on the Commodores staff, spending his first two seasons as the Director of Scouting and Recruiting before serving as General Manager in 2021-22.

“I’m excited to announce Andy Fox as our new associate head coach,” says Stackhouse. “Over the past three seasons, Andy has worked tirelessly to support our vision and to help revitalize Commodore men’s basketball. Andy’s knowledge and expertise in college athletics, university policy and NCAA legislation has been a tremendous asset in laying the foundation for our program’s success. As we move forward, I know that his coaching experience combined with his passion for Vanderbilt basketball, makes him an amazing fit for this new role. I’m excited for Andy and his family, and I know our program will continue to thrive as he ascends into this new role.”

In his previous role as Vandy’s general manager, Fox oversaw the Commodores’ on-campus recruiting, underclassmen recruiting, off-campus recruiting, program enhancement and special capital projects, and he also coordinated non-conference scheduling games and ELITE camps. He also assisted with the oversight of the program’s managers and graduate managers.

Fox has been an important member of Vanderbilt’s staff over the last three seasons, helping Vandy to its first winning record since 2016-17 after advancing to the quarterfinals of the NIT this past season.

“I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to continue serving Coach Stackhouse and Vanderbilt University,” says Fox. “There is unprecedented momentum all throughout campus.  I am excited about the new role and my ability to contribute to the exciting trajectory of our program under Coach Stackhouse.”

During his career, Fox has coached six student-athletes who went on to the NBA. He has helped mentor 32 all-conference players and has experience working in a number of conferences throughout the southeast including the SEC, American Athletic Conference, Conference USA and Southern Conference.

Fox arrived at Vanderbilt after serving as the Director of Basketball Operations at Louisiana Tech for four seasons. For the Bulldogs, he handled team travel, coordination of student-athlete recruiting, directing summer basketball camps, game and practice planning, basketball analytics and team scheduling while serving as the program’s compliance liaison and budget manager.

Prior to Louisiana Tech, Fox spent five years as an assistant coach and director of operations at Tulane where he contributed to the recruitment and development of NBA players Cameron Reynolds (Minnesota Timberwolves) and Melvin Frazier (Orlando Magic). Fox also spent four seasons as an assistant coach at The Citadel. While there, he helped guide the Bulldogs to their most successful stretch in program history, including a school-record 20 wins and the program’s first postseason appearance in 2009.

Prior to his professional career in college basketball, he served as a graduate assistant at Tennessee, one year each under Bruce Pearl and Buzz Peterson. While with the Volunteers in 2006, the team captured the SEC East title and earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Belmont’s Destinee Wells Named TSWA’s Tennessee Player Of The Year

Destinee Wells against the Lady Vols of Tennessee in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament. Photo: Courtesy of Belmont Athletics

Belmont women’s basketball star Destinee Wells has been named Tennessee Player of the Year by the Tennessee Sports Writers Association (TSWA).

Wells has been the leading scorer during her first two years at Belmont, was named OVC Tournament MVP, and has helped lead the Bruins to back-to-back Round of 32 appearances in the NCAA Tournament. She becomes the first Bruin to be named TSWA Player of the Year since Darby Maggard in 2019.

This past season Wells averaged 16.7 points, 4.5 assists, 3.6 rebounds and a steal. She ranked among the top 65 players in the nation in both total assists (140) and assists per game, while second in the OVC in scoring and assists.

Wells averaged 21 points in the Bruins’ sixth OVC Tournament title run in seven seasons. She was masterful in the OVC Tournament championship against Tennessee Tech, dropping 22 points as the game’s only double-figure scorer. That performance came on the heels of scoring 20 points on 6-for-10 shooting and going a perfect 8-for-8 at the free-throw line in the OVC Tournament semifinal win over Austin Peay.

Wells’ impressive playing continued in the NCAA Tournament where she averaged 19 points, 5.5 assists, five rebounds and two steals against fifth-seeded Oregon and fourth-seeded Tennessee. In Belmont’s thrilling double-overtime First Round victory over the Ducks inside Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Wells scored 16 points, seven assists and grabbed four rebounds. Against the 18th-ranked Lady Volunteers in the NCAA Tournament Second Round, Wells posted a game-best 22 points, secured six boards and dished out four assists.

Seven of Wells’ 11 20-point games in 2021-22 came in the months of February and March and she scored a season-high 27 points in key road victories at Tennessee Tech (Feb. 5) and Murray State (Feb. 24).

Reaching double figures in all but two games in 2021-22, Wells finished the season with 519 points, 140 assists and 112 rebounds. She has scored in double figures in 43 of her last 45 games and 51 of her 56 career games. Starting in all but one game she’s donned the Belmont jersey, Wells is only 36 points away from becoming the Bruins’ 33rd 1,000-point scorer. She has also compiled 255 assists and 188 rebounds over the last two seasons.

Vanderbilt’s Scotty Pippen Jr. To Enter 2022 NBA Draft

Scotty Pippen Jr. Photo: Courtesy of Vanderbilt Athletics

Junior Vanderbilt basketball star Scotty Pippen Jr. has announced via social media that he will be leaving school and entering the NBA Draft.

Pippen has had one of the most successful seasons in Commodore history this past season. He scored 736 points in 36 games played–the most points ever scored by a Vanderbilt basketball player. He led the SEC in points per game with 20.4 ppg, 162 assists and 70 steals.

“I want to thank coach [Jerry] Stackhouse, all my coaches, teammates, support staff and professors for being there for me and always believing in me,” said Pippen in his statement.

Pippen was named to the All-SEC First Team and helped lead the Commodores to the NIT quarterfinals, picking up wins over Belmont and Dayton.

The Los Angeles native scored 1,577 career points, standing 12th on Vandy’s scoring list. His 17.5 points per game during his three seasons in Nashville are good for fifth best in school history.

Next up for Pippen will be the NBA Draft Combine which takes place in Chicago from May 16-22.

The NBA Draft takes place on June 23 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Vanderbilt Reveals Timelines For New Basketball Facility

Graphic courtesy of Vanderbilt Athletics

Vanderbilt University has relabeled the detailed plans for the men’s and women’s basketball operations center and practice facility as part of its Vandy United campaign.

Utility relocation work is scheduled to begin this summer and continue through the fall to support the construction of the north end zone facility. Construction activities for the building will begin during the upcoming football season and are expected to conclude before the start of the 2024 football season.

“We want to provide a championship-level experience to everyone we serve. That starts with the student-athletes but also includes our alumni, fans, donors, faculty and staff,” says Candice Lee, vice chancellor for athletics and university affairs and athletic director.

Since publicly announcing the $300 million Vandy United campaign a little more than a year ago, Vanderbilt has worked closely with Populous, lead architect for the project, to refine and finalize designs for the initial phase.

“This is the first step in a transformation. It will be iconic and beautiful, yet effective and efficient,” Lee continues. “I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to impact Vanderbilt Athletics and help position our student-athletes and community for success.”

The new basketball facility will be located beyond the north end zone of Vanderbilt Stadium and encompass 90,000 square feet and four floors. Design plans include two practice courts, locker rooms and offices for women’s head coach Shea Ralph, men’s head coach Jerry Stackhouse and their respective staffs.

“We truly see Vandy United as our stake in the ground,” says Ralph. “It marks the beginning of a new era and is proof of our commitment to elevate the best student-athlete experience in college athletics and take our fan experience to the next level.”

The student-athletes will also have access to a weight room, training room and equipment area to be used by both teams, as well as a dedicated nutrition space.

“For our program, being able to have world-class facilities from the standpoint of training, getting all the top equipment, being able to have more [practice] courts—they all create more opportunity for our student-athletes to get better in their development,” says Stackhouse. “Their [Candice Lee’s and Chancellor Daniel Diermeier’s] commitment and the commitment of all the coaches to take our programs to the next level are unmatched. You’re going to see that in the future with our new buildings and new equipment we’ll have available for our student-athletes.”

The building will be connected to Memorial Gymnasium, the Commodores’ home court, which now features newly renovated game day locker rooms for both teams. This connection also will allow fans and patrons access to both facilities on game days.

“We are excited about so many aspects of Vanderbilt basketball,” Lee adds. “Watching day to day, we see how Coach Stackhouse and Coach Ralph interact and support each other. This building represents the tone of those programs. Everybody has their own space, but there is a shared aspect. And it is connected to the broader athletics footprint that supports all our student-athletes.”

As part of the north end zone upgrades associated with the project, the concourses will connect to allow fans to move around Vanderbilt Stadium with ease. There will be terrace and balcony viewing areas on the upper levels of the basketball center for guests during football game days.

NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship Most-Watched Season Finale in Nearly Two Decades

South Carolina’s women’s basketball team celebrating its NCAA Tournament Championship. Photo: Courtesy of ESPN

South Carolina’s 64-49 win over UConn in the 2022 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship became the most-watched women’s title game since 2004, racking in 4.85 million viewers on Sunday night (April 3).

The championship was the fourth largest audience to watch a women’s championship game since ESPN began exclusively airing the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament in 1996.

“ESPN’s commitment to women’s basketball has never been stronger and this year’s viewership numbers are a clear indication of the growing popularity of the sport and the NCAA Women’s Tournament,” says Nick Dawson, ESPN vice president of programming and acquisitions. “Since ESPN began exclusively televising this event more than two decades ago, we have consistently strived to raise the bar in our presentation, and we are particularly gratified by our expanded coverage and the introduction of new elements like the MegaCast this year. We look forward to working with the NCAA to further enhance our presentation in the years ahead.”

The 4.85 million viewers tuning in across ESPN networks Sunday was the most-watched cable program of the day, an audience increase of 18% year-over-year and 30% from 2019. The matchup peaked from 9-9:15 p.m. CT with 5.91 million viewers across ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU, as South Carolina captured its second national title during ESPN’s MegaCast presentation.

The 2022 NCAA Women’s Final Four is the most-watched Final Four weekend since 2012, averaging 3.46 million viewers. The audience for the trio of games throughout the weekend was up 20% from 2021.

The full NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament averaged 634,000 viewers per game, up 16% from last year’s coverage. The total hours of consumption were up 6% year-over-year, with viewers devouring 74.6 million hours of content across ESPN platforms, roughly 4.1 million more hours compared to 2021.

The 2022 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament experienced several additional viewership milestones throughout, including:

  • The most-consumed early rounds on record
  • The most-watched early round window in more than 10 years
  • The most-watched Sweet 16 game on cable since 2017
  • The most-watched Elite Eight round in more than 10 years
  • The most-watched Elite Eight game in more than 10 years

Lady Raiders Fall To Seton Hall 74-73 In WNIT Semifinals

Kseniya Malashka. Photo: Courtesy of MT Athletics

The Lady Raiders’ strong second half wasn’t enough to overtake Seton Hall whose last second bucket secured the 74-73 win over MTSU on Thursday night (March 31).

“We never quit,” head coach Rick Insell said in a postgame press conference. “They made some plays at the end. They executed two or three times in a row and we had a couple of breakdowns. I’m very proud of our young ladies. I hate it for our fans, our school, and our team. They did everything they could do to win this game.”

The Pirates took a strong early lead over MTSU at the Murphy Center 38-26 going into halftime. Hall was led by Sidney Cooks who scored 28 points and rebounded seven. But the Lady Raiders came out of halftime with a vengeance.

MTSU scored 24 points in the third quarter and 23 points in the fourth quarter, outscoring Seton Hall 47-36. The Lady Raiders were led by Kseniya Malashka who dropped 25 points and rebounded nine on 28 minutes played. Dor Saar scored 19 points in an attempt to pull off the comeback victory.

In the final quarter, MTSU went on an 11-0 run to take the lead. After some back-and-fourth play, the Lady Raiders found themselves up four with 23 seconds to play. But a hard fought drive, layup and-1 from the Pirates, and a tie-up on the next possession gave Seton Hall the ball with 16 seconds to go. Cooks then scored on a heavily contested shot, giving Hall the lead with 2.4 seconds left.

Malashka was the one to take the final shot to win the game, but fell short, with the Pirates punching their ticket to the WNIT Finals.

“I thought she got a body down low, and they didn’t make a call,” Insell added. “She went in and was able to get the ball up, but I still think there was too stuff much going on underneath. I’m still proud of [Malashka], she did exactly what we wanted to do.”

The Lady Raiders finish their season 27-8 with a home record of 16-1. Their historic WNIT may have come to an end but not before picking up wins against Wofford, Wake Forest, Vanderbilt and Toledo.

Belmont’s Nick Muszynski To Play In NABC Reese’s Division I College All-Star Game

Nick Muszynski. Photo: Courtesy of Belmont Athletics

Belmont senior Nick Muszsynki will have one more opportunity to represent the Bruins as he plays in the NABC Reese’s Division I College All-Star Game in New Orleans ahead of the Final Four.

Muszynski has had one of the most successful career in the history of Belmont’s men’s basketball program. Posting a career record of 104-25, Muszynski led Belmont to three conference regular season championships, two NCAA Tournament bids and the 2022 postseason NIT. He was named the OVC Freshman of the Year in 2019, OVC Tournament MVP in 2020 and has been named to the All-OVC First Team each of his four years.

The 6’11” center ranks 11th among all active frontcourt players with 1,886 points. His 105 career double figure scoring games ranks second among all active frontcourt players, trailing only Richmond’s Grant Golden. He is one of only nine players over the last 30 years with at least 1,800 points, 700 rebounds, 250 assists and 200 blocked shots, and joins the likes of Tim Duncan (Wake Forest), David West (Xavier), Nick Collison (Kansas) and John Wallace (Syracuse) to reach that standard.

Muszynksi is the first Belmont Bruins to take part in the NABC Reese’s Division I College All-Star Game since All-American Evan Bradds in 2017.

He will play with the West All-Star Team led by Missouri head coach Dennis Gates. His teammates include Davion Mintz (Kentucky), Stanley Umude (Arkansas) and Gabe Brown (Michigan State).

College Corner: Jerry Stackhouse, Lady Blue Raiders WNIT, Belmont Soccer

Vanderbilt’s Jerry Stackhouse Named Finalist For Ben Jobe Award

Jerry Stackhouse. Photo: Courtesy of Vanderbilt Athletics

Vanderbilt basketball head coach Jerry Stackhouse was named a finalist for the Ben Jobe award after a successful NIT run.

The Ben Jobe award is presented annually to the top Division I minority coach by College Insider. Stackhouse is one of 25 finalists for this year’s award.

This past season, Stackhouse guided the Commodores to 19 wins, the most since the 2016-17 season. Now in his third season, Vandy is the only SEC program to improve its NCAA net ranking in reach of the last three seasons.

Vanderbilt won two games at the SEC Tournament before earning an at-large bid to the NIT. The Dores capped the season in the NIT Quarterfinals after wins over Belmont and top-seeded Dayton in the first two rounds.

The winner of the award will be announced April 1 in New Orleans at the NCAA Final Four.

 

 

MTSU Women’s Basketball To Host Seton Hall In WNIT Semifinals

MTSU Lady Raiders. Photo: Emily Cole/MT Athletics

The Lady Raiders of Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) have punched their ticket to the WNIT semifinals for the first time in program history after a thrilling 73-71 overtime win against Toledo.

MTSU, now with a record of 27-7, will host Big East powerhouse Seton Hall in the semifinals on Thursday (March 31).

The intense and exciting Toledo matchup included 17 lead changes and 15 ties, with the largest lead for either team coming in at eight points in the first quarter. However, the Lady Raiders held strong, never trailing in overtime.

“Great, great game between two quality teams,” Lady Raider Head Coach Rick Insell said in a postgame press conference. “This was a great atmosphere and that’s what you expect when you reach this point of a postseason tournament. We knew it would take a great effort to come in here and win against a very good and well-coached Toledo team. I’m excited for our team and our fans, but I’m proud of how this team responded tonight.”

Middle Tennessee takes on the Pirates at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday. All tickets are general admission and can be purchased for $20 each.

 

 

Belmont Soccer Hires Cam Olsen As Assistant Coach

Belmont men’s soccer head coach David Costa has named Cam Olson as the program’s new assistant coach.

Olson comes to Belmont following a season at the Patriot League’s Bucknell University and brings four seasons of collegiate coaching experience to the Bruins.

“We want to welcome Cam and his wife, Katelynn, to Belmont,” says Costa. “We are thrilled to add someone of his character, quality and experience. Cam is a man of high character and will have a strong impact on our student-athletes and their experience at Belmont.”

On a collegiate coaching staff the past seven years, Olson spent the last six seasons with NCAA Division I men’s soccer programs, including Xavier and Vermont, in addition to Bucknell.

While on staff at Xavier, the program compiled 33 match wins and earned results against numerous ranked opponents. Xavier reached the Big East Conference Championship title match in 2017, was ranked in the national top 25, advanced to three consecutive Big East Championships and earned a United Soccer Coaches Team Academic Award for four-straight years. The Musketeers’ 2019 recruiting class was ranked seventh nationally by TopDrawerSoccer.com and Xavier rose to No. 11 in the nation.