Kevin DeMille is an assistant coach for the Vanderbilt women's basketball team.

The Vanderbilt women’s basketball team is in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2014 and out assistant coach Kevin DeMille is excited to be part of the journey.

“Three years of work, that’s called a journey; only had one goal: to get back to the tourney; knew we had it in us & just needed the chance; first time in a decade, the #dores are in the dance,” DeMille posted on Instagram.

The Commodores are seeded 12th in Region 3 in Portland and earned an at-large bid. They play Columbia in a First Four game Wednesday at 9 p.m. on ESPNU. The winner moves on to play fifth seed Baylor. (Update: Vandy won, 72-68, and will play Baylor Friday at 3 p.m. EDT on ESPNU).

This is DeMille’s ninth trip to the NCAA’s, having gone in past jobs at powerhouse UConn and George Washington. But dancing in March never gets old, especially for a program in a 10-year drought.

DeMille has been an out and proud coach for years and in a 2022 essay for Vanderbilt’s website on the importance of Pride Month, he made an analogy between coming out and college basketball.

“Coming out can be a momentous event in a person’s life — a pivotal moment of clarity and vulnerability, of freedom and authenticity,” he wrote. “Mine was more of a slow burn, a gradual build toward truth and a painful journey to get there. It was a lot like a 40-minute basketball game—full of exciting runs, scoring droughts, much-needed time-outs, questionable calls, great execution and the constant support of great teammates.  My life is immensely better after coming out 12 years ago.”

He also singled out Vanderbilt head coach Shea Ralph — with whom he worked with at Connecticut — for her support and commitment to being inclusive.

“When she approached me about working with her at Vanderbilt, she wasted no time in expressing her desire to build a diverse and inclusive staff at the nation’s premier institution. My sexual orientation was not something for me to hide when I got to Vanderbilt, it was something she expressly wanted me to live out fully,” DeMille wrote.

“That’s a brave thing for her to ask! In a visible and public-facing role, not everyone will be comfortable with me being out and proud. But that’s OK! We have a responsibility, as educators, to show our students what the world looks like. There are gay people in the world. They are just like everyone else.”

It is vitally important to have out LGBTQ coaches like DeMille show those in the closet that it’s possible to be authentic and still do the job they love.


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