Commentary

Vanderbilt's Stallings makes a great call

Updated: September 1, 2009, 3:26 PM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

In this day and age, we often hear about negative things in the world of sports. We learn about the bad things that happen in college basketball.

It has been a rough summer for the sport. There was the Memphis situation, where the school had to vacate its 38 wins from the 2008 season, as well as take down the Final Four banner. There was the Tim Floyd dilemma out at USC, the soap opera involving Rick Pitino at Louisville.

Well my friends, let's talk about one of the great deeds that took place.

If you knew Kevin Stallings, you would not be shocked. Stallings is the outstanding and underrated coach at Vanderbilt. I use the word outstanding because he doesn't operate in a scenario where he can get every great player.

Stallings is a veteran coach with a great background. He served under Roy Williams at Kansas and Gene Keady at Purdue, two winners in the coaching profession.

Vanderbilt has high academic standards and also faces tough competition in the SEC, battling the likes of Kentucky, Tennessee, Florida, Alabama and others for top talent.

Stallings never backs down. His teams are always well-prepared and ready to perform. Stallings' kids usually excel in a positive way, especially at home. The Commodores have created nightmares for teams travelling to Nashville.

The coach took a step beyond the norm. He turned down a huge raise so that the dollars could be used to fund a trip for his team to Australia. To paraphrase, Stallings said it was all about his team.

It was an incredible move. Talk about a coach who cares about his players, the student-athletes. He is a solid gold, All-Rolls-Royce coach for that gesture.

That move gets an A+ in my book. Nice to hear a positive story involving college hoops.

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.