NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)Vanderbilt has fired women’s basketball coach Stephanie White after five seasons and a 46-83 record.
Athletic director Candice Lee announced Tuesday that White will not return. Lee thanked White and her staff for helping the players navigate the challenges during the coronavirus pandemic over the past year.
”As I continued my evaluation of the program, I ultimately concluded that change is needed at this time,” Lee said in a statement. ”I wish Stephanie and her family the best.”
A national search for the next head coach will begin immediately.
White went 13-54 in the Southeastern Conference. Vanderbilt opted out this season after a 4-4 start and 0-3 in the SEC in a decision announced Jan. 18. They had dealt with three cancellations with two SEC games postponed.
The roster was thinned by COVID-19 issues, opt-outs, injuries, a player with myocarditis and another recovering from an ACL injury.
Within the past week, three starters announced they are transferring including top scorers Koi Love and Chelsie Hall and three-year starter Autumn Newby. Hall and Newby are graduates with Hall transferring to Louisville with Newby going to LSU.
This decision comes barely a week after Vanderbilt announced a $300 million project to improve football and basketball facilities and a new Vandy United Fund to raise money for athletics programs. Women’s basketball is slated to get its own dedicated practice court along with improvements to the locker room and offices.
Vanderbilt hasn’t reached the NCAA Tournament since 2014 despite a history featuring 26 berths, 15 trips to the Sweet 16, five Elite Eights and the lone Final Four in 1993. Lee had the interim tag taken off last May as athletic director. She played basketball for Vanderbilt between 1998 and 2002 when the Commodores made back-to-back Elite Eights.
White was coaching the Indiana Fever in the WNBA when then- athletic director David Williams hired her in May 2016. Her best record was 14-16 in her first season and also in 2019-20. The Commodores never finished better than tied for 11th in SEC play.
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