In a shocking move, Vanderbilt is terminating Bryce Drew as head coach after just three seasons, sources told Stadium.
Drew, 44, went to the NCAA tournament in his first year. The Commodores played all but five games this season without starting point guard and likely lottery pick Darius Garland, who suffered a season-ending knee injury on Nov. 23.
This is a baffling decision by new Athletic Director Malcolm Turner, who took over less than two months ago. Turner, who has no experience in college athletics, was previously the president of the NBA’s G-League for five years. One source told Stadium that the meeting to terminate Drew was the first between Turner and the coach, and also that Turner attended just one practice since arriving in Nashville.
Drew was hired in 2016 after five seasons as the coach at Valparaiso, where he went to two NCAA tournaments and a pair of NITs. The former Valpo star is best-known for his buzzer-beater in the 1998 NCAA tournament to beat No. 4 seed Ole Miss.
But Drew, the brother of Baylor coach Scott Drew, has recruited at a high level at Vanderbilt – bringing in two McDonald’s All-Americans this season: Garland and athletic Canadian forward Simi Shittu.
Vanderbilt finished 9-23 overall and 0-18 in the SEC this season, but Drew was without Garland and also had the 305th oldest team in the country.
Drew also has two players signed in the Class of 2019: forward Dyan Disu (No. 103) and wing Austin Crowley (No. 121). The Commodores also have a verbal commitment from point guard Scotty Pippen – the son of Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen.