Page 1

September 2010



table of contents



2 Compliance Corner

Special discounts for student-athletes?

4 National Commodore Club

Join the tailgate tour

6 Point of View

Louise Hannallah, Cross Country

7 More from McGugin

By the numbers

8 My Game Golfer Lauren Stratton 10 Robbie Caldwell Q&A

Introducing VU’s new football coach

13 It’s My Turn: Summer Break

Rod Williamson

14 Summer Adventures


Student-athletes take sport overseas

17 John Stokes Linebacker, long snapper, future doctor 20 Four You Should Know

Football players ready to make impact

23 Katie Dean

To submit a letter to Commodore Nation, you can e-mail: or write to Commodore Nation, 2601 Jess Neely Drive, Nashville, TN 37212. Letters should include the writer’s name and address and may be edited for clarity and space.


Soccer player teaches in Africa

24 Commodore Calendar What’s on tap in September 24 Last Shot David Price in the All-Star game






Line Backer is an incoming student-athlete. He and his teammates head over to a local establishment to hang out. The owner spots the team members and proceeds to let them in free of charge because he is a huge financial supporter of the team.

Editor-in-Chief: Chris Weinman

Is this permissible?

Director of External Relations: Rod Williamson

Designers: Jeremy Teaford

No. According to NCAA Bylaw, a student-athlete may not receive a special discount, payment arrangement or credit on a purchase or a service from an institutional employee or a representative of its athletics interests.

Editorial Publisher: Vanderbilt University

Chris Weinman

Digital Image Specialist: Julie Luckett Turner Photographers: Mary Donaldson

Compliance questions? Please contact:

Daniel Dubois

Candice Lee Director of Compliance 615/322-7992

George Midgett Compliance Coordinator 615/322-2083

Steve Green

John Peach Compliance Coordinator 615/343-1060

Andrew Turner Recruiting/Compliance Coordinator 615/322-4543

Joe Howell Jenny Mandeville Anne Rayner John Russell

Contributors: Laina Balafas

Andy Boggs Sterling Frierson Larry Leathers David Rutz Ryan Schulz Jennifer Stevens


Chancellor: Nicholas S. Zeppos Vice Chancellor for University Affairs: David Williams II Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs: Beth Fortune

Vanderbilt University’s Mission, Goals and Values Vanderbilt University is a center for scholarly research, informed and creative teaching, and service to the community and society at large. Vanderbilt will uphold the highest standards and be a leader in the quest for new knowledge through scholarship, dissemination of knowledge through teaching and outreach, and creative experimentation of ideas and concepts. In pursuit of these goals, Vanderbilt values most highly intellectual freedom that supports open inquiry; and equality, compassion and excellence in all endeavors. Vanderbilt University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action university. ON THE COVER: Head Football Coach Robbie Caldwell POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to National Commodore Club, 2601 Jess Neely Drive, Nashville, TN 37212. SUBSCRIPTION: To subscribe to Commodore Nation, please contact Chris Weinman by phone at 615/343-0019 or by e-mail at ADVERTISEMENT: To advertise with Commodore Nation, please contact Vanderbilt ISP Sports. Jeff Miller, general manager 615/322-4468

Commodore Nation is printed using recycled paper.







PHONE: 615/322-4114 • ONLINE: Why is my annual gift to the National Commodore Club important?

NCC 101

The total scholarship expense for Vanderbilt student-athletes topped $12 million last year. Gifts to the NCC provide scholarship support to help offset these costs. With the rising cost of tuition, fees, room and board, it is important that NCC members make their gifts each year by the May 31 deadline. Gifts of all sizes are important and help us reach our goal of meeting this scholarship expense each year. Take pride in knowing that your NCC gift makes an impact on the lives of Vanderbilt student-athletes.

JOIN THE COMMODORE TAILGATE TOUR The NCC and the Vanderbilt Alumni Association will be sponsoring tailgates at three away games this year. Register today by contacting Sarah Woodall at or 615/322-2929. at OLE MISS Saturday, September 18 The Lyric Oxford, Oxford, Miss. (8:30-10:30 a.m.) at CONNECTICUT Saturday, October 2 Rentschler Field, Hartford, Conn. (2 hours before kickoff)

PAVE THE WAY Be a part of Vanderbilt history by purchasing a brick toward our Pave the Way brick campaign. Your personalized brick will be placed in the plaza around Vanderbilt Stadium. Proceeds will go toward facility upgrades for our outstanding student-athletes. Log on to for more information.

at GEORGIA Friday, October 16 Atlanta, Ga. (To be determined)

WELCOME NEW NCC MEMBERS Below are the names of NCC members who joined in July. We welcome you and look forward to seeing you at Commodore games and events this year. Encourage your friends and family to make a gift to the NCC if they have not already. Michael Czorniak - Washington, D.C. Sarah Delisle - Murfreesboro David Hohnalek - Deerfield, Ill. Melissa and Kelly Garner - Birmingham, Ala. Timothy Geiger - Brentwood Tina Gess - Madison, Ala. Kelly and Dwight Ginn - Murfreesboro Hollie and Ronald Graham - Old Hickory Bryan Hall - Little Rock, Ark. Jeff Halwes - Birmingham, Ala. Jerry Herron - Goodlettsville Erin and Ryan Holt - Nashville

Francine Hutson - Whitehouse Barbara and John Ivey - West Hills, Calif. Eric Nicholson - Hendersonville Magda and Joe Osburn - Franklin Page and Joseph Plowman - Nashville Heather Rietz - Nashville Kyle Smith - Gallatin Chris Song - Nashville William Stack - Nashville John R. Wallace - Clarksville Hayley and Jackson Williams - Cleveland Heights, Ohio


Christy Passmore Executive Director


Mark Carter Director of Development


Lucy Jones Senior Director

Robin Langlois Member Services Coordinator

Michelle Parks Administrative Assistant

Sterling Frierson Program Coordinator

McGUGIN RENOVATION UPDATE — AUGUST 2010 Below are some photos of the first phase of McGugin Center renovations. This phase includes upgrades to the center, including renovations of the Stratton Foster Academic Center and the football coaches’ offices. Your continued support is needed to allow us to proceed with additional upgrades. Please call the NCC office at 615/322-4114 if you would like be a part of this landmark endeavor.

An outside view of the renovations to the football coaches’ offices from the Star Walk on Jess Neely Drive.

The patio overlooking the John Rich Practice Facility was covered during this renovation.

Football coaches began moving into their new offices during the last week of July.

Coaches’ meeting rooms were overhauled with state-ofthe-art audio and video components.

COMMODORE CLUB SNAPSHOTS Show us your Commodore spirit. If you are interested in having your photos appear in a future issue of Commodore Nation, please e-mail your images to

July 25, 2010

Hall of Famer Charles Davis Jr. (’82) and radio personality George Plaster (’81) at the annual Charles Davis Foundation Dinner.

July 26, 2010

Julia Doolittle (’06) and Boone Lancaster (’07) at a monthly Vanderbilt GOLD (Graduates Of the Last Decade) event.

To ensure you receive important updates, please make sure your most current e-mail address is on file (for changes:



Point of View By Louise Hannallah


hen I committed to Vanderbilt not just as a student, but also as a threeseason athlete, I accepted the reality that I would not be receiving the typical college experience. So when I learned about an opportunity to study abroad in the summer, I immediately seized it. I studied in Florence, Italy, for two months and can truly say that it was an experience that helped shape me into a better person and, surprisingly, a better athlete. During the seven weeks in Florence I took three classes. At first, the biggest struggle was adapting to an academic mindset in the midst of one of the most beautiful cities in the world. However, my classes introduced me to real Italian culture: a side of Italy that is neither photographed nor publicized. I learned my fair share of the Italian language as my teacher took us to the local gelateria and the community markets. Learning how to order gelato in perfect Italian became an everyday necessity. In my Italian Cultural History class, I visited old theaters and community centers and met with everyday Italians who gave their outlook on topics such as politics, fashion and immigration. I learned that beyond the picturesque Arno River, there was a Florence partially filled with corruption, racism and instability. Renaissance Art and Architecture was my favorite class because I became familiar with Italy’s most prized possessions: sculptures, churches, paintings, palaces and architecture. I found myself truly engaged in the Italian culture and open to not only new ways of learning but new ways of living. I am on the Varsity Cross Country and Track and Field team, and I will admit that the thought of training in Europe was my biggest hesitation before committing to studying abroad. I take comfort in the routine and precision of my sport and was very concerned I would not be able to train as effectively in Italy. I did experience some setbacks in my training, such as traveling on the weekends and often getting lost on my early long runs. Luckily, once I was settled, my running improved dramatically. Instead of seeing running as part of my daily routine as I did at home, I began to look forward to and appreciate my training. I joined a local gym and became good friends with the owner who forced me to improve my Italian during our daily conversations. Each morning before class, I would wake up and run along the Arno or in an enormous park by my apartment. I was constantly in awe of the scenery and my surroundings, and the beauty of Italy helped me remember the daily pleasure of my sport. Studying abroad has opened my eyes to a new culture and a new way of life. I have learned to appreciate every aspect of the Italian lifestyle: the food, the art, the fashion, the language, the people and the culture. All of these have inspired me to continue to learn about the world beyond my knowledge. I am so lucky to have left Italy a more confident, grateful and inspired student and athlete. n Editor’s Note: A native of Potomac, Md., Louise is a junior on the cross country team who will compete at Nashville’s Percy Warner Park twice in September (3rd and 18th). “Point of View” allows a varsity athlete to discuss a topic of personal interest each month.



Support your Commodores in San Juan at the

November 18-21 – Coliseo de Puerto Rico featuring Vanderbilt, Davidson, Hofstra, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, West Virginia and Western Kentucky Anthony Travel is offering official travel packages with hotel accommodations, welcome reception, game tickets and game day transportation for Commodore fans. For more information, please visit Anthony Travel’s official website for the Tip-Off:

More from McGugin

By The


Riding in Style There are 1,003 miles between Vanderbilt Stadium and UConn’s Rentschler Field in East Hartford. That’s 17 hours of publicity for the newest member of Vanderbilt’s travel party. Old Dominion Freight Line has partnered with Vanderbilt and ISP Sports to provide a custombuilt, billboard-on-18-wheels for the Commodore football team. The equipment truck—strongly branded with Vanderbilt logos, marks and memorable photos—will help Head Equipment Manager Luke Wyatt and his staff haul the team’s gear to away games.


fourth- or fifth-year players return in Head Coach Ronnie Woodard’s 10th season with the Commodore soccer program.

The vehicle will also be accessible to Vanderbilt officials throughout the year, beginning last month when it was introduced at the annual “Dore Jam” fan day.

New Radio Flagship

Beginning this fall, Vanderbilt athletics will have a new home on Nashville’s radio waves—97.1 Nashville’s Classic Hits. Cumulus Broadcasting and Vanderbilt University last spring announced the agreement that will move the flagship station of the Vanderbilt ISP Radio Network for Commodore football and men’s basketball games to 97.1 (WRQQ). The three-year contract is scheduled to run through the 2012-13 sports year, with two option years to follow. “We appreciated a long run with our former flagship station,” Vanderbilt Vice Chancellor David Williams said. “We have found a terrific new partner with Cumulus Media and

97.1 WRQQ. Their management is excited to welcome our programming and brings a very strong commitment to showcase Commodore athletics.” In addition to all Vanderbilt football and men’s basketball games, the 28 planned Commodore call-in shows featuring Robbie Caldwell, Kevin Stallings and Tim Corbin will be available without fear of being pre-empted by other programming in what is a very busy Middle Tennessee sports marketplace. WRQQ also plans to broadcast live from a number of Commodore events, including many call-in shows at the Commodore Grille inside the Holiday Inn Vanderbilt. Joe Fisher’s popular Commodore update will now be heard daily during afternoon drive-time (5:12 p.m. CT) as part of 22-year radio veteran Michael “Mac” McIntyre’s 2-7 p.m. shift.

Football Campaign Lauded Before the season kicks off on the field, the behindthe-scenes work of a number of Vanderbilt employees is being praised off it. The Bleacher Report recently named Vanderbilt’s schedule poster the best in the nation and also had a number of good things to say about the entire season-ticket campaign: “What distinguished Vanderbilt was its powerful four-part poster series that coincides with an advertising campaign. The four posters feature Brandon Barden, Jamie Graham, Warren Norman, and Zac Stacy. Each... refers to the player as being ‘Vanderbilt Football.’” The series was a collaborative effort between Vanderbilt Creative Services, Marketing and Athletic Communications. In addition to the poster, 30-second radio spots have been airing throughout the Nashville market, and 60-second versions are available that go farther in telling each athlete’s story.


years of combined experience coaching football at Vanderbilt for new Head Coach Robbie Caldwell and his nine assistants.


strikeouts recorded by Sonny Gray in his two summers with the U.S. Collegiate National Team in only 48 innings of work.


strikeouts at the AllStar break for American League starter David Price, who became only the sixth pitcher younger than 25 with at least 12 wins, an ERA less than 2.50 and 100 Ks at baseball’s midway point.


articles returned by a Google news search of “Robbie Caldwell” for the 24 hours following Vanderbilt’s appearance at SEC Media Day.


pounds lifted by redshirt junior defensive tackle T.J. Greenstone on July 21— a new Commodore record for the hang clean.


miles planned this season for the Vanderbilt football team’s new, custombuilt equipment truck provided by Old Dominion Freight Line.



My Game After sitting out the first golf tournament of last fall, Lauren Stratton saw to it that she was in Coach Greg Allen’s lineup for the remainder of her freshman campaign. The Oregon native—who now calls Spring Hill, Tenn., home—discusses her game.



On Coach Allen: “Coach’s philosophy is something that I wanted.... His background really does help, because I want to try to go pro. He knows the best way to do it, since he’s coached some of the most successful professionals.” Coach Allen hands out star stickers for rounds of par or better. Lauren’s low collegiate round of 67 came at Stanford last fall. “I was not feeling well at all. I could tell you pretty much every shot of any other round, but I can’t remember much from that round. I just hit the ball close, and it went in.” On the beginning of her golf career: “I played every other sport when I was young, so I had eye-hand coordination already. I started playing tournaments in the summer when I was eight. When I moved here, I chose golf. High school is when I committed to the sport.” During the third round of the NCAA National Championship in Wilmington, N.C., Lauren’s driver broke in half. “On my eighth hole I hit a really good drive, and as I put the club on the ground to pick up my tee it just snapped. [S.I.D. Andy Boggs] drove it to a local golf shop, and I had a new shaft the next morning.” On using a 12-degree driver: “I hit a really low ball, so if it’s dry I can hit it a really long way. I count on roll. [My driver] is more like an old lady’s driver. I get made fun of for it, but it’s what fits my swing. I’ll just hit it past them.” Lauren’s trademark on the course? Sunglasses. “I’ve had this pair since I was in eighth grade. Unless it’s pouring down rain, I have them on. I can switch the lenses out depending on the conditions.” On her first hole-in-one:

Editor’s Note: Your best chance to see Lauren and her Commodore teammates on the links comes this month as both golf programs play host to the 2010 Mason Rudolph Championships, Sept. 24-26,at the Vanderbilt Legends Club in Franklin, Tenn.




“It was the eighth hole of the middle course at McCabe during a practice round in high school. I was hitting a pitching wedge. I’m certainly looking forward to many more.” n




resh into his new position as Vanderbilt’s head football coach, Robbie Caldwell sat down with Commodore Nation to discuss philosophy, emotion, Jerry Clower and sheetrock before the start of the Commodores’ 2010 preseason camp.

Commodore Nation: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given about being a head coach? Robbie Caldwell: “Delegate. You’ve got good people, you surround yourself with great coaches, which I feel like ours is as fine as any in the country; but you know I’ve always done things in my group—and whatever responsibilities I was given as an assistant head coach—and I liked to do it. I grew up working, and I thought that was your responsibility, so that’s been the hardest thing for me is to let our people work. They have responsibilities, and they’ll take care of them better than anybody. I just need to stay out of their ways sometimes. I want them to be able to work. I’ve never worked under a job description—whatever needs to be done, I was just always trained that way in this business.” CN: Looking forward to the first game, how do you think you’ll act on the sidelines as a head coach? RC: “Coach Johnson was very emotional, yet he could keep a calm head when it was time to make a decision. I hope to be able to do the same. I’ve got to, because it involves everybody now; but I will continue to be emotional, because it’s an exciting, fun time. On offense, the players have to play with a more controlled emotion because they have to make decisions. If a guy moves six inches, eight inches, it may change the whole blocking scheme. But defensively, you can be a little more emotional, so when [the defense is] on the field, I want to make sure I show that, as well.” CN: What are the differences in philosophy between Coach Johnson and yourself? RC: “Really, none, in the fact that we both grew up in the football realm thinking defense first. We kind of had the philosophy that if they don’t score, we’re going to be okay. That’s always been our deal.... We will continue the same philosophy: attacking defense. You know, Coach Fowler and Coach Bryant would always ask me—and not just me, but any offensive guy—’what do you think about this,’ because we’re the ones who’ve got to block it, try to stop it. We try to share ideas. What’s the hardest for us as an offensive line to block? And in



return, defensively, they would say ‘This is the toughest play. This is hard for us to defend.’ We share ideas all the time.” CN: Coming into camp, you’re the most familiar with the offensive line. What can you tell us about that unit? RC: “One thing about that group is that we always ask them to play two positions to help them get on the field sooner [and] gain a greater knowledge of the system, so most of them have done that. Our last scrimmage in the spring, most people did not see it, but we had seven guys and they all played different spots and had a ball, and we did very well offensively. So the continuity’s there, but we’ve got to add some pieces to the puzzle. We’re going to have to have some freshmen step up, and that’s what they came here for. That’s part of the decision, the great academics and the chance to play early. We’ll give them that opportunity.” CN: In the weeks since your promotion, have you had any time to sit back and soak it in? RC: “No, but I tell you what, I’m enjoying it. I’m so proud. I love selling Vanderbilt. I really love what this university stands for. The true student-athlete. It’s just very special. I think that’s the way college athletics should be.”

CN: What can you say about the support that the Vanderbilt community has shown in the first few weeks? RC: “It’s been tremendous. Every administrator and every coach here has been so supportive. It would bring a tear to your eye, just when you walk down the hall, everybody wants to know what they can do to help. And I want them to know whatever we can do to help their program, we’re in this together. If they keep score, I love it, whether it’s shooting marbles or whatever, I’m a competitor, and I want to help every member. I made a stupid statement, which is very common from me, when I was talking about the different sports I played growing up. I made the comment, ‘I hated basketball but I played it to get out of work.’ I wanna set that straight. I did not hate basketball. I loved basketball. What I should have said was, I wasn’t very good at it. But I continued to play it, worked hard. Matter of fact, my basketball coach called me last week, and he said, ‘If you didn’t like basketball, you sure didn’t show it. You worked hard.’ I told our basketball teams out here, I’m so proud of them. What they’ve accomplished has just been tremendous.” CN: You were mistaken for a doorman during your visit to Media Day in Birmingham. Are you becoming more recognized here in Nashville? RC: “I don’t know. I wear my Vanderbilt stuff everywhere, so people can associate it. I love Nashville. My daughter, this is what she knows as home. She was six when we got here, and she just loves it. My wife does, too.” CN: Where did you develop your sense of humor? RC: “Jerry Clower’s a hero of mine, and I used to listen to all of his stuff, because we grew up in area much like what he did and people I grew up with talked like him. Then I got to Nashville, and I met a man named Tandy Rice, [Jerry’s] manager, and what a thrill that was. He gave me a Jerry Clower road sign. They named a road in his honor, and he gave me one, and man, I display it with pride. I’ve got pictures of Jerry, all his albums, tapes, you name it. I’ve got some stories just like his, so it was very special to me.”

Photos by John Russell

CN: Have you had any other encounters with celebrity since you’ve been in Nashville? RC: “Not really. Shook some hands, but not really sat down and talked with them. But I like to meet all people. It doesn’t matter to me. I tell you what, I was just upstairs talking with a man putting sheetrock up, and I’ve done a little bit of that. He was walking on the stilts. That’s an art. And it’s good to see those guys pour a little concrete. I’m fascinated by the job that they do. It’s tremendous. I’ve got a round window in my office, and that’s an art. I hired a master carpenter to work [with] me when I was living in Cary, North Carolina. I was coaching at UNC, and we had an unfinished basement, so my wife found this master carpenter. I got to know him, and he would tell me what to do, show me and then if I messed up, he’d fix it. It was great. We built these arch doorways. I said, ‘Man, this is just amazing how people could figure all that out.’ Even cut a window out of the side of the house, he made me put the siding back on, and he showed me how to do it. He said, ‘You’ve got to do it’ and he’d leave me and come back and check on it. It was a lot of fun, I learned a great deal.” n






at Ole Miss


- bye -


at Connecticut



10/16 at Georgia 10/23 SOUTH CAROLINA 10/30 at Arkansas 11/6


11/13 at Kentucky

NASHVILLE NASHVILLE Oxford, Miss. East Hartford, Conn. NASHVILLE Athens, Ga. NASHVILLE Fayetteville, Ark. NASHVILLE Lexington, Ky.





Log on to for updated game times and television broadcast details.





It’s My Turn By Rod Williamson

Summer Vacation?


o how was your summer? Ours was a tad busy. That often comes as a surprise to people, who logically assume since we don’t play any games between June and September that we kick back and cruise in the “off-season.” It’s a nice thought, and once upon a time it was probably true. But it doesn’t work that way anymore. In fact, for some around McGugin Center, summer represents the busiest time of year because it’s when preparations for the upcoming year are put into place. Since we last gathered around this magazine, our baseball team completed a thrilling run through the NCAA Tournament, making its farthest advance ever in the process. The season ended one base hit away from Omaha. It was reported that Commodore baseball had the best Academic Progress Report (APR) of all the Top 25 programs in the nation—a perfect 100%. Our online editor, Brandon Barca, led an internal team through an intensive few months of redesigning our official website, It is possible that by the time you are reading this column, the new site is up and thriving. Countless hours were invested in an effort to make the new layout easy to read and navigate. For those of you still not using a computer and therefore not on the internet, you probably can’t appreciate what the fuss is about. But for the majority of fans who realized a long time ago that mainstream media is unable to cover the Commodores as perhaps it once did, our web page is a critical link. Fans will see even more intense coverage of our teams and the issues that surround collegiate athletics and the Southeastern Conference. Our sales and marketing team also was in overdrive. There once was a time when the local paper announced the schedule, and tickets were sold at the entry gates on game day. That is ancient history. Take the current football season ticket campaign, for example. Sometime last winter, a strategic decision was made to focus our advertising and promotional efforts on our student-athletes—not simply for football, but for all sports. Why not? Our student-athletes are our most credible and valuable resource, and you lead with your strength. We wanted to differentiate ourselves from the norm. so we included video of various players on campus, volunteering in the community and so forth. We enlisted Perry Wallace, our Hall of Fame basketball legend, to do the voiceovers on the videos. We were fortunate that the university’s crack creative services team threw its talents behind the effort. The results are encouraging. A national sports website ranked our football poster series as the Best in the Nation. Our ticket sales have been steady in this still-sluggish economy. In fact, men’s basketball sales were way ahead of the recent pace that has made Memorial Gym a sold-out venue the past three seasons. Oh, and then there was the retirement of Coach Bobby Johnson in mid-July. That one caught everyone by surprise. As we quickly wished Bobby and Catherine well, we didn’t have the luxury of reflection as we introduced Robbie Caldwell to Commodore Nation and the college sports world. During the media dog days of July, this late transition gave pundits a chance to pontificate. Some commentaries were insightful. Other yahoos that couldn’t pick out Robbie or Bobby in a police lineup didn’t let that stop them from offering their own opinions on the state of Commodore football. Ah, the glass house we live in! We welcome you to a new year of Vanderbilt athletics, one full of promise, excitement and intrigue. It’s going to be fun. n



Ultimate Summer Adventures Brittni bowls over Finland Deeding a double in the bottom of the 10th, Brittni Hamilton stepped up to the line. It was the semifinal match of girls’ singles at the 2010 World Youth Championships in Helsinki, Finland, and the Commodore standout was up against the top-seeded bowler from Holland. Pressure is nothing new to Hamilton, who has made two appearances in the NCAA Championships, won the 2010 USBC Junior Gold title in June and last represented Junior Team USA by taking gold at the 2009 Pan American Bowling Federation in Bogota, Colombia. But in Finland, 48 countries were represented, and the stakes were higher. “This tournament was the world championships, whereas last summer it was just North and South America,” Hamilton said. “This felt a lot bigger, so I was still extremely nervous to bowl this one.” If she felt the pressure, it did not show. Hamilton closed with two strikes to advance to the finals and ensure the first U.S. medal of 2010.

Brittni Hamilton bowled her way to an individual silver medal (inset) at the World Youth Championships.

Rhoades to the World Cup Don’t adjust your television. That’s not a swarm of bees coming your way. This summer, all eyes were fixed on the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and no ears were able to avoid the hum of South Africa’s favorite one-note trumpet—the vuvuzela. “When you’re at the game, it’s not bad,” VU sophomore midfielder C.J. Rhoades said. “You don’t even recognize it unless someone behind you is obnoxiously in your ear. Other than that, it seems natural. It’s such a big part of the game when you’re there.” Rhoades joined family—including brother Chance—and friends in South Africa for her second straight cup. They stayed in Cape Town with the Donaldson family (son Craig lived at the Rhoades’ home while attending Butler) seeing Uruguay draw France and Italy tie Paraguay. Rhoades, who started every game for the Commodores as a freshman last year, was in Germany with her ODP team for the 2006 cup and hopes to take a trip to Brazil for the 2014 cup.

C.J. Rhoades (inset with vuvuzela) spent two weeks in Cape Town, South Africa during the World Cup.




Red, White, Gray and Espo Sometimes he had a good break, other times it went by awfully fast. Either way, over the past two summers on the U.S. Collegiate National Team, Sonny Gray has been nearly unhittable. The VU ace has gone 6-1 during a twoyear career with Team USA, striking out 64 batters against only 12 walks in 48 innings of work. Team USA took second place at the V FISU World University Baseball Championships in Tokyo this summer behind three victories from Gray. Making his third trip to Japan in 13 months, the Smyrna native set a USA FISU record with 14 Ks in the team’s opening victory. Gray was not the only Commodore on the squad this summer; classmate Jason Esposito joined the all-star roster during the team’s first week. Esposito hit .273 with six RBI in 14 games for Team USA. The Bethany, Conn., product put together an impressive nine-game hitting streak during the team’s stretch run.

Sonny Gray and (inset) Jason Esposito played for U.S. Collegiate National Team this summer.





John Stokes: Fourth and Rising



s a stellar student, standout athlete and tireless volunteer, John Stokes has made quite a name for himself at Vanderbilt. But the name John Whittemore Stokes already owned quite a legacy on West End Avenue, stretching back nearly 90 years. His parents, John and Carol, and his paternal grandparents, John and Anne, all have undergraduate degrees from Vanderbilt. His great-grandfather, the original John Whittemore Stokes, earned a Doctor of Dental Sciences degree from the Vanderbilt School of Medicine in 1926. But the Memphis University School product was not always destined to be a Commodore. When the opportunity presented itself to play football in college, Stokes had a decision to make. The Commodores had won only two Southeastern Conference games in the five years leading up to his junior season at MUS, and Vanderbilt was not No. 1 on his early list. Until he met the Commodore coaching staff. “I knew Vanderbilt was a great school,” Stokes said. “I knew I liked a lot of things about it. Coach Johnson and his staff convinced me that we can win and we will win, and there was no, ‘It’s okay to get a good education and not do well on Saturday.’ I think that was sort of what really made me want to come.” The 6’5” Stokes began making a big impression as soon as he arrived on campus. The only true freshman to play in every game of the 2007 season, Stokes earned time as a second-string outside linebacker. But he made his name on special teams and would take over snapping duties for both kicking squads during the season. Stokes’ impact on the field was mirrored by success off of it. His academic prowess landed him on the SEC Freshmen Academic Honor Roll, a distinction he has repeated as a sophomore and junior. His proficiency in math and science led him to consider a future career in medicine. During spring break of his freshman year, Stokes volunteered with Dr. Rick Donlon at Christ Community Health Center in Memphis—his first “watch a doctor be a doctor” experience. That summer, he shadowed surgical oncologist Dr. Martin Fleming. “He loved what he did,” Stokes said. “I loved how he treated people and what he was able to do outside of just healing people and helping them. Those two experiences made me want to go for it.” So as a sophomore, Stokes applied to the Vanderbilt School of Medicine through the school’s early-acceptance program. The program only accepts a handful of Vanderbilt sophomores each year, allowing them to forego the MCAT and encouraging them to “take academic risks and/or perform scholarly work” while maintaining at least a 3.5

grade point average and fulfilling their premed requirements. Now entering his senior year, Stokes carries a 3.85 GPA. “I was accepted,” Stokes said. “And from there I’ve done a lot of different things, and I’m really fired up about it.” For Stokes, the first “different thing” was a 2009 trip to Belize through Manna Project International, a nonprofit started at Vanderbilt that connects young people with service projects in Central America. The group built school buildings and a playground for local children and helped farmers run irrigation lines to their crops. This past spring, Stokes led a Manna

group back to Belize. He serves on the campus group’s executive board and is organizing trips for Spring Break 2011. Stokes also had a different summer break than most this year. He spent four weeks in South Africa this May with his brother, Will, working on AIDS relief and prevention through the United States Agency for International Development. These experiences have put a lot of different things into perspective for Stokes. “I’ve really come to realize that the world is big,” he said. “And there’s a lot of people that don’t get to play football in the SEC and (Continued on Page 18)



(Continued from Page 17) have everything given to them. To understand that and to recognize the problems—not that there aren’t problems here— but it’s good to be reminded that college football at Vanderbilt, the things I have here, are not necessarily the norm.” Stokes’ path through college has certainly strayed from any usual storyline by weaving together top-notch athletics and international relief efforts. Through it all, he has shown a continued ability to perform at the highest level both in a Vanderbilt classroom and on an SEC football field. The training and preparation he has received, and the successes he has produced, have convinced Stokes he can tackle any challenge, whether at the Vanderbilt School of Medicine or in the National Football League. He will have the option to defer his medical school acceptance should the league come calling, his most likely look coming as a snapper. “There’s a confidence that comes from handling the responsibility and pressure of playing on Saturdays in the SEC with 100,000 people watching that carries over,” Stokes said. “Most 22-year olds don’t have that when they walk out of college. Being a part of something as big as an SEC football game and an SEC football team prepares you for a lot. “I think the discipline it takes to play college football and get a degree from a place like Vanderbilt University is incredibly impactful, and it changes who you are. There’s a sense in me that I can kind of do anything.” Still, Stokes is quick to deflect praise for his accomplisments, choosing instead to honor and thank those closest to him. “There’s an overwhelming sense in me that, although I’ve worked hard and done some things, I don’t know that I have a whole lot to do with what’s happened,” Stokes said. “My parents, my friends, so many people around me; I’m a Christian, I love the Lord—I just feel that it’s not me who did all this.” n



Congratulations to the

Vanderbilt Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2010

Ernest “Bucky” Curtis Shan Foster Chris Groer Heidi Gillingham Jackson Frank Lorge Ed Martin Jeff Peeples Ann Hutcheson Price Grantland Rice Will Wolford

Football Basketball Tennis Basketball Swimming Basketball Baseball Tennis Journalism Football

Hall of Fame Weekend Sept. 3-5, 2010 Induction Dinner Friday, Sept. 3 Call 615/343-1107 for more info







To hear him tell it, Theron Kadri was reborn this past season. Now the senior defensive end hopes to use an offseason of self-improvement to put a positive stamp on his final year at Vanderbilt. Kadri returned to Ruston, La., over the summer and spent time with some football greats, including NFL stars safety Johnny Robinson and defensive tackle Fred Dean, the latter a Hall of Famer. Dean’s story of religious discovery particularly resonated with Kadri, who said he felt lost at times during his first three years with the Commodores, calling himself “a foolish kid.” “He just talked to me about his own personal relationship with Jesus Christ and what he’d done in his life,” Kadri said. “He shared his story with me, and that’s the thing that stuck with me. Just seeing someone else go to the pinnacle, and they still are able to revere and give that respect back to Jesus Christ, and then, in addition, come back and share it with somebody younger than them.” KADRI Kadri was one of only three true freshmen to play when he arrived in 2007 and has been a valuable contributor his entire career. Last year he put together his best season, posting a career-high 24 tackles. But before any personal goals on the football field this season, Kadri wants to be a role model. “I want to be the best example to my team that I can,” Kadri said. • Set personal career high with six tackles in last year’s game against Mississippi State • His mother is a Vanderbilt alumna • Majoring in computer engineering Did you know? Kadri was baptized in March in the Nashville Church. “Ever since then, I’ve been doing the best I can to live my life for the Lord and continue to praise him in everything that I do.”





For the first time since 2005, someone other than Brett Upson will be punting for Vanderbilt this season, and odds are it will be Richard Kent taking over those duties. He’ll have some big cleats to fill, as Upson started every game of his four-year career, was named to the All-SEC Second Team his senior season and was the Most Valuable Player of the 2008 Music City Bowl victory over Boston College. Kent, a walk-on from Marietta, Ga., looks like the heirapparent to that key part of Vanderbilt’s special teams unit. Although he has yet to see collegiate game action, Kent has impressed coaches by demonstrating a very strong leg in practice. “I didn’t get much advice [from Brett],” Kent said. “I just expect to come out, do my best and do my thing, everything the team needs.” As a kicking specialist in high school, Kent helped his Walton Raiders to the playoffs for three straight years. He averaged 39.6 yards per punt his senior season. Not surprisingly, he also lettered in soccer in high school. As far as his specific goals, Kent, a redshirt sophomore, wants to continue the tradition Upson established by lining up on fourth down for four years: consistency. “Kicking the same ball every time, accuracy, putting it where I want it,” Kent said. • Five-time Scholar Athlete in high school • An expert on the cello and a four-year member of Walton’s orchestra • Majoring in economics Did you know? Kent once had a 65-yard punt at Walton. It came at quite an opportune time: in the Georgia Dome during the semifinals of the state playoffs.


There’s good news and bad news for the Vanderbilt defense as the season opener looms. Bad news first: veteran defensive tackle Adam Smotherman will likely miss the first few games rehabbing his torn ACL. Now the good: Meet Rob Lohr, more than an adequate replacement. Lohr was a dynamic contributor in a platoon last year and looks to play 40 snaps a game at the outset as his friend recovers. “I’m really close with Smo,” Lohr said. “We talk about football all the time. Hopefully he gets back in full health, but until then, I’ll be holding the reins.” If last year is any indication, the Commodores will be in capable hands up front with Lohr and co-captain T.J. Greenstone. Lohr played in every game in his first year of on-field action and posted 14 total tackles, including five solo stops, a tackle for loss and a quarterback hurry. He displayed high energy and intensity on every snap. Yet that’s exactly what he wants to improve as the new season approaches and his role on the defense expands. LOHR “Just my speed, my agility, my quickness, explosiveness, stuff like that,” Lohr said. “Working my technique. Over the past couple of years, we’ve always had a good defense. We’re hoping to continue that and get better than we’ve been in the past.” • Posted a season-high in tackles (3) in last year’s homecoming game against Georgia • Won conference title in high school in javelin throw • Majoring in economics Did you know? Lohr was a football and track star at Pennsylvania’s Phoenixville High School, but he didn’t attend classes there. He was home-schooled all the way through 12th grade before coming to Vanderbilt in 2008.



You’re well-acquainted by now with Warren Norman and Zac Stacy, Vanderbilt’s fab freshmen running backs from last season. In the background all season, though, was fellow 2009 signee Wesley Tate, who redshirted his freshman year and will be an important offensive option for the Commodores in 2010. The three heralded tailbacks share a close relationship after being a part of the same recruiting class. “It’s very close,” Tate said. “Even though those guys played ahead of me, we’re still good friends. We’re great friends.” The bruising Tate is a powerful downhill runner who brings a physical presence to the Commodore running back corps. While he stands at 6-feet-1-inches and weighs 222 pounds, don’t mistake his size for a lack of speed; Tate is one of the most naturally gifted athletes at Vanderbilt. Tate missed much of the spring recovering from a foot injury, and he’s made a point of taking this summer as an opportunity to get back to full health. “Just getting in shape, trying to rehab my injury from the spring, just trying to learn the system,” Tate said. “That’s really the main thing I’ve been working on.” Tate, a native of Hendersonville, comes from a strong football family. His older brother, Golden III, was a star receiver at Notre Dame and was chosen this year by the Seattle Seahawks. Father Golden Jr. played wide receiver for Tennessee State University and was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts. • Rushed for 3,045 yards and 45 touchdowns during his career at Pope John Paul II High School • Majoring in human and organizational development Did you know? Tate was a member of his high school chorus. “I enjoy singing a little bit,” Tate said. “I was a Bass 1, Tenor 2.”





Katie Dean: A-B-C, Easy as 4-3-3 By David Rutz


atie Dean didn’t think she would ever have an opportunity like she did this summer, and the experiences gained through her trip went beyond teaching nearly halfway around the world. About 8,000 miles east of her home town of Boca Raton, Fla., Dean, a senior defender on the Vanderbilt women’s soccer team, spent six weeks this summer teaching at the Bridge Nursery School in the East African country of Tanzania. Dean’s trip was paid for by Vanderbilt’s Nichols Humanitarian Fund. Established in 2006 by the E.C. and Lucile Hamby Nichols Trust, the fund paves the way for Vanderbilt students to participate in service opportunities both domestically, and as in Dean’s case, internationally. Students must document their trip through words and photographs and submit a report upon their return detailing their experiences. Dean heard about the opportunity through Vanderbilt teammate Catherine Wearn, who had learned about it while she was abroad last year. Dean had to convince the organization that her service opportunity was worthy of funding, and she was successful. After her application was accepted, she flew to Tanzania and found herself in a tight spot almost right away at Bridge. Dean’s a veteran member of the Vanderbilt defense, having seen action in 40 games over the past three seasons, so she’s used to facing attacking forwards and midfielders. The same doesn’t necessarily go for an army of toddlers. “I’d never taught before, and I literally got there the first day and the teacher was like ‘Okay, you teach’ and left the classroom. So I was standing in front of 25 three-year-old Tanzanian kids,” Dean said. “English is their first language, that’s what they’re trying to get them to become fluent (in), so they’re taught in all English. American volunteers can go over there without knowing Swahili.” Dean rose to the occasion. For the next six weeks, she taught the youngsters subjects such as English, math, letters, colors and numbers. She had traveled abroad before, having spent the previous summer doing volunteer work in Brazil, but this was her first time in Africa. The experience working with young children was eye-opening. “Just seeing how the little things that you do can really affect the kids, especially there, since they don’t have that much,” Dean said. “Paying attention to them and helping them individually. They’d never had that.” The trip also made the rising senior, who’s double majoring in medicine, health and society and child studies, realize what she wants to do after her college career ends next spring. She met a native Tanzanian who, while he

goes to school in London, plans to open a school of his own in his home country. Dean helped him—outside of her volunteer work with Bridge—and hopes to return to Tanzania next summer to take on a greater role in the development of this new school. One of the differences next summer, of course, is that there won’t be a World Cup capturing the attention of the planet like it did during Dean’s service trip. The quadrennial international soccer championship took place in South Africa June 11-July 11, and while Spain took home the title, the entire continent of just over one billion people was gripped by plenty of World Cup fever while Dean taught there. “A ton,” Dean said. “It was a lot of fun to be over there.” Dean was able to play a little soccer herself while in Tanzania, although it was unorganized and did not involve her Commodore teammates. Now back in Nashville, soccer has again taken center stage. Before her trip, Dean could scarcely have imagined she would be able to visit Africa, so the goals that she and her large class of fellow seniors—totalling nine fourth- and fifthyear players—have for themselves don’t

seem too far out of the question. “I never thought I’d be in Africa teaching for that long,” Dean said. “It was a dream of mine, and if you set your mind to something, you can make it happen, you’ll find a way somehow.” Last year’s up-and-down season saw Vanderbilt shut out its final four SEC opponents to clinch a spot in the SEC Tournament in Orange Beach, Ala.—the squad’s first postseason appearance in three years. This year, Dean and her fellow classmates hope to increase their win total for the third consecutive season, positioning the Commodores to return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2006. “I think if we set our goals at the beginning, work towards them and really all stay focused, we can definitely achieve what we set out to. “I think we’re all ready,” Dean continued. “We feel like we’ve had our time to grow up, and we’ve grown a lot together as a class but also with the younger players, as well. We’re all very in sync and on the same page right now to try to go farther than we have in the past.” n Senior defender Katie Dean spent a lifechanging six weeks this summer teaching in Tanzania thanks to a grant from the Vanderbilt Nichols Humanitarian Fund.

2010 Soccer Schedule 8/15

BELMONT (exh.)

8/20 8/27



9/3 9/5 9/10 9/12 9/17 9/19 9/24 9/26


10/1 10/3 10/8 10/10 10/15 10/17 10/21 10/24 10/29

Tennessee* Knoxville Georgia* - ESPNU Athens, Ga. Arkansas* Fayetteville, Ark. LSU* NASHVILLE AUBURN* NASHVILLE ALABAMA* NASHVILLE Mississippi State* Starkville, Miss. MISSISSIPPI* NASHVILLE Kentucky* - FSN Lexington, Ky.

Birmingham, Ala. NASHVILLE

SEC Tournament Nov. 3-7, Orange Beach, Ala. NCAA Tournament Nov. 12-28, Campus Sites NCAA Women’s College Cup Dec. 3-5, Cary, N.C.





Cross Country 3

Belmont-VU Opener (Percy Warner Park)

5:30 p.m.


Commodore Classic (Percy Warner Park)

9 a.m.

Football 4

Northwestern (Vanderbilt Stadium)


LSU (Vanderbilt Stadium)


Ole Miss (Oxford, Miss.)

6:30 p.m. 6 p.m. 11:20 a.m.

Men’s Golf 13-14 The Invitational at the Ocean Course (Charleston, S.C.) 24-26 Mason Rudolph Championship (Vanderbilt Legends Club) Women’s Golf

Tuned in to the SEC Vanderbilt’s Sept. 4 opener against Northwestern will be shown by CSS. The LSU Tigers visit Vanderbilt Stadium on Sept. 11 in a game that will be shown nationally on ESPNU. The Commodores first road trip (Sept. 18 at Ole Miss) will be available in more than 60 million households on the SEC Network. Future broadcasts and times will be announced on our official web site, The Vanderbilt soccer team’s Sept. 26 game against SEC rival Florida, one of three contests set for air this season, will be shown by CSS.

13-15 NCAA Preview (College Station, Texas) 24-26 Mason Rudolph Championship (Vanderbilt Legends Club) MLB Stretch Run

Soccer 3

Tennessee Tech (VU Soccer Complex)

7 p.m.


Southern Miss (VU Soccer Complex)


Wake Forest (Blacksburg, Va.)

5 p.m. ET


Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, Va.)

2 p.m. ET


Valparaiso (VU Soccer Complex)

7 p.m.


Wisconsin (VU Soccer Complex)

1 p.m.


South Carolina (VU Soccer Complex)

7 p.m.


Florida (VU Soccer Complex)

1 p.m.

1 p.m.

The run for October is heating up in Major League Baseball, and a pair of Commodore left-handers are right in the mix. David Price and the Tampa Bay Rays lead the A.L. Wild Card hunt while pressing for the A.L. East crown. Mike Minor was called up to the N.L. East-leading Atlanta Braves in early August. Minor’s Braves will travel to face Pedro Alvarez and the Pittsburgh Pirates in a three-game set, Sept. 6-8.

All times Central (unless otherwise noted) and subject to change.




At 24 years old, David Price was the youngest pitcher to start a Major League All-Star Game since Dwight Gooden (23) in 1988. The left-handed fireballer allowed only one infield hit in two innings of work. He threw just 23 pitches—22 of which were fastballs—and hit 100 MPH on the gun with his final offering. Price became the first American League pitcher to win 15 games this season with a nine-strikeout performance on Aug. 9 in Detroit.

Commodore Nation: Sept. 2010 Issue  
Commodore Nation: Sept. 2010 Issue  

The September 2010 issue of Commodore Nation magazine, the official monthly publication of the Vanderbilt Student Athletics department.