The Vanderbilt Commodores women’s basketball team is off to what seems to be the team’s second-best 17-game start ever, all while including out gay coach Kevin Demille on head coach Shea Ralph’s staff.
Demille has built his young career as an assistant coach and recruiter, working at both UConn and George Washington.
Vanderbilt is 16-1 through the first two months of the season, with their only loss coming at North Carolina State, who are currently ranked No. 6. It’s the best start since the 1992-93 team, according to the school.
On Wednesday, Vanderbilt beat the Kentucky Wildcats in a blowout, 95-73, on the road. The Commodores are 3-0 in the SEC and tied for the conference lead.
Vanderbilt hasn’t participated in the NCAA tournament in a decade, last making a one-round appearance as an 8-seed in 2014, losing in the first round to the Arizona State Sun Devils.
According to one media outlet, Vanderbilt was picked to finish dead-last in the SEC. That would, at this point, be a truly shocking result.
The Commodores have made it to the Elite Eight five times, most recently in 2002.
There is only one SEC team — No. 1 South Carolina — ahead of Vanderbilt in the latest AP ranking.
Yet there are six SEC teams in the NET Top 50, meaning the Commodores will have to win some big conference games to earn a spot in the NCAA women’s basketball tournament. But a very big opportunity is there.
Previously, out LGBTQ head coach Stephanie White went 46-83 in the previous five seasons as the team’s head coach. In 2023, White was the WNBA Coach of the Year as head coach of the Connecticut Sun.
As for Demille, he’s been out for years and always representing the community in powerful ways.
Here’s hoping he and the Commodores are able to snap Vanderbilt’s NCAA women’s tournament drought this season.