Strong promoted to Assistant Basketball Coach at Vanderbilt

James Strong – a former team captain for the Commodores – has been elevated to assistant coach for the Vanderbilt men’s basketball program, it was announced by head coach Jerry Stackhouse. 

Strong, who graduated from Vandy in 2000, has served on Stackhouse’s staff in various roles for each of the last four seasons. 

“We are excited to promote James Strong to an assistant coach,” Stackhouse said. “He is a Vanderbilt Man who loves the University, the city and our basketball program. He is an excellent basketball coach with extensive experience across the Southeast. We are confident that his connection to Vanderbilt and his familiarity with the spirit of Memorial Magic will tremendously benefit our program as he continues to mentor our student-athletes.”

The program record holder for steals in a game and in a season, Strong previously served as an assistant coach at Belmont for eight seasons and Furman for five. Prior to that, he was on staff at Vanderbilt under Kevin Stallings for six seasons. 

“I love what we are building here at Vanderbilt,” Strong said. “There’s something special about working for your alma mater, and I’ve loved serving on the staff the last four seasons. I’m excited and thankful to Coach Stackhouse for this opportunity to continue to work with our student-athletes in a new role.”

Strong recently completed his 27th season being involved with college basketball as a student-athlete, coach or staff member. He has been part of 18 winning seasons, six NCAA Tournaments and 10 NIT appearances. His teams have won seven regular season championships and three conference tournament championships. 

During his current tenure with the Dores, Strong has helped the resurgence of the program that has included back-to-back NIT quarterfinals appearances. He spent the 2022-23 season as the program’s director of operations, the 2021-22 campaign as the director of scouting and recruiting and the previous two as the director of player personnel. 

Prior to his return to Vandy, Strong made a tremendous impact for Belmont as an assistant coach – helping the Bruins reach four NCAA Tournaments during an eight-season stretch. Belmont went 195-71 during his tenure, won six consecutive regular season conference championships, received top 25 poll votes and earned victories over North Carolina, Marquette, Stanford and Georgia. 

While at Belmont, Strong worked with five of the most productive and decorated players in program history — Ian Clark, Kerron Johnson, J.J. Mann, Craig Bradshaw and Austin Luke.

Prior to Belmont, Strong spent five seasons as an assistant coach at Furman, where he served as associate head coach prior to the 2010-11 season. The Paladins completed one of their finest seasons in program history, posting a 22-11 record and earning an invitation to the 2011 Postseason Tournament — the program’s first postseason appearance since 1991. Furman’s 22 victories marked the second-highest single-season total in school history, and most in 30 years. Perhaps most notably, the Paladins defeated South Carolina, 91-75, and won at eventual Southern Conference tournament champion Wofford. Strong shouldered great responsibility at Furman, including on-the-floor teaching, player development, scouting and recruiting.

Strong began his coaching career at Vandy, serving as the program’s video coordinator for six seasons from 2000-06. He was part of three teams that made the NIT and one NCAA Tournament bid.

As a student-athlete, Strong was a four-year letter winner for the Commodores (1996-2000), leading Vanderbilt to three postseason appearances – one NCAA Tournament, two NIT appearances. As a junior, Strong led the SEC and established a Vanderbilt single-season record in steals (77). He ranks fourth on the Commodores’ career steals list (209) and served as team captain as a senior. 

Originally from Huntsville, Alabama, Strong earned a bachelor’s degree in human and organizational development from Vanderbilt in 2000.

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