Dan Muller has studied under Kevin Stallings long enough to have an advanced degree.
Tuesday, he finally graduated.
The 36-year-old was introduced as the new basketball coach at Illinois State and – predictably – he said he planned to put into practice many of the lessons he learned under Stallings.
“Really it’s about doing it the right way,” Muller said during a press conference. “The right way is making it about the players. It’s about doing it with integrity. Following the rules. Being about academic first, athletics second, social third.
“Those are things [Stallings] instilled in me and everyone we worked with that I’ll certainly try to carry forward.”
Muller played four seasons under Stallings at Illinois State and coached under him for 12 years at Vandertbilt. He sat the school record for consecutive starts with 128 and scored 1,445 points, which is 10th all-time in the program.
“Illinois State is getting the same thing that they got when Dan was a player,” Stallings said in a statement. “He will do all aspects of the job extremely well. He will bring a great energy level and a great passion to the team and to the program, much like he brought to the teams that he played on at Illinois State.
“Most of all, he brings the same pursuit of excellence and commitment to excellence that he had as a student-athlete where he achieved not only the highest level of success in the classroom.”
Muller is the second Stallings assistant in as many years to be named head coach at a smaller school. King Rice led Monmouth (N.J.) to a 12-20 record this past season, which was an improvement of three victories over the previous season.
Illinois State, which competes in the Missouri Valley Conference, went 21-14 and reached the second round of the National Invitational Tournament in 2011-12 under coach Tim Jankovich, another former Stallings assistant.
Jankovich was the first staff member hired when Stallings came to Vanderbilt. He later worked as an assistant at Illinois and Kansas before he went to Illinois State.
“I know Tim Jankovich very well, and they did a great job with this team, so not only am I coming back to a place that I love and a great basketball job, but to a great bunch of guys,” Muller said. “If you put everything together, honestly, this is the ideal situation for me.
“… It’s good to be home.”
• Eric McClellan, a 6-foot-4 guard, announced he would transfer to Vanderbilt from Tulsa.
“I'm officially a Vanderbilt Commodore! To God Be The Glory,” McClellan posted on his Twitter account Monday night.
He has three years of eligibility remaining and joins three incoming freshmen in the Commodores’ 2012 recruiting class.
McClellan started the final 16 games for Tulsa last season and averaged 8.5 points. He also had 67 assists, which tied him for second on the team.
Current Commodores assistant David Cason originally recruited him to Tulsa.