Jerry Stackhouse is the men’s basketball coach at Vanderbilt, and so far, not a very good one. But hey, don’t try to blame Stackhouse.
Instead, blame Donald Trump supporters. At least, that’s what Stackhouse appears to imply in a long-winded piece (filled with mostly hot air) from The Athletic.
Stackhouse, 46, was an excellent player at North Carolina and pretty darn good pro. But his playing success has not translated to coaching — as Vanderbilt is just 16-31 in his first two seasons, and a pathetic 4-23 in the SEC.
Now, Stackhouse deserves more of chance to fail. A coach can’t be judged in a season-and-a-half. What’s annoying here isn’t the lousy win-loss record, it’s how Stackhouse tries to sound so defiant about it.
For starters, Stackhouse called out veteran college basketball insider Jeff Goodman, formerly of ESPN and now of Stadium. Along with Goodman, he called out fans who are angry that Vanderbilt stinks.
“Maybe someone like a Jeff Goodman said something — and I’ve got him blocked, anyway — so now a fan wants me to know what Jeff Goodman says, so he tags me,” Stackhouse said. “Well, now you’re blocked, too. I don’t want to see this on my timeline. I don’t want the noise. Don’t want the hate. Y’all mad your man got fired, man. That’s the real world.”
Stackhouse wasn’t finished.
“New regimes come in and they bring in their people. And change happens,” he said. “And it can happen, especially when you don’t win a game. If I don’t win a game, I don’t know what the hell I’d do. But I couldn’t be mad about nothing. Even in my situation. But that’s what people tried to lose sight of, the reality of where we are.”
Stackhouse wasn’t done shifting the blame. Next up: The “75 million” people who voted for Trump. In other words, Stackhouse seemed to imply, if people are dumb enough to vote for Trump, they’re dumb enough to question his knowledge of basketball. And, oh yeah, if they voted for Trump, they must hate Stackhouse.
“How am I not qualified when I played basketball at the highest level and played under some Hall of Fame coaches?” Stackhouse asked. “I don’t have the acumen to know what I’m looking at? What’s the angst? And it becomes the things we see right in front of us, man.
“All I can say is, 75 million people voted for Trump. That’s all I can say. You ain’t fooling me. I know what it’s about, a lot of you hate everything we did when we came here about the staff, the diversity of the staff, it was this or that. And I like to think I know a little something about building teams and what organizations should look like. I’ve worked and played for some of the best organizations.”
Stackhouse sounds almost like a child here. He is Vanderbilt’s coach. Vanderbilt is bad. Coaches generally take the blame from fans, reporters and administrations when their teams fail. That and that alone is why Vanderbilt supporters are giving Stackhouse grief. If he doesn’t want criticism, the solution is simple: Win some games, man.