NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings, a leading candidate for Ohio State's head coaching position in 1997 when Jim O'Brien was hired, may get another shot at the job.
Ohio State athletic director Andy Geiger asked late last week for permission to talk to Stallings about the Ohio State opening, created when O'Brien was fired June 8 for giving $6,000 to a recruit in 1999.
``We told Andy Geiger that we were going to keep him,'' Vanderbilt vice chancellor David Williams told The Tennessean newspaper for a story published Monday.
A message seeking comment on Stallings was left Monday for Ohio State spokesman Steve Snapp.
Williams was a top administrator and Vanderbilt President Gordon Gee was president at Ohio State in 1997 when Stallings was interviewed and O'Brien was hired.
Stallings, in his fifth year at Vanderbilt, led the Commodores to a 23-10 record and a trip to the NCAA's round of 16 in March. They lost to eventual national champion Connecticut.
Stallings was the head coach at Illinois State in 1997 when Geiger interviewed him about the Ohio State job left open by the firing of Randy Ayers. O'Brien was hired and took the Buckeyes to the Final Four two years later, but the program fell on hard times in recent years.
The Buckeyes were 14-16 last year and failed to make a postseason tournament for the first time since 1999.
Geiger hired away Vanderbilt women's basketball coach Jim Foster two years ago. The Ohio State women's program has prospered under Foster, who took the Buckeyes to the second round of the NCAA tournament last season.
Stallings is 85-69 in his five years at Vanderbilt. He played at Purdue and was an assistant under Gene Keady at his alma mater for six years before taking the job at Illinois State.