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March 2013

SPRING Loaded Winter sports wrap up as Spring sports ramp up ALSO INSIDE: National Signing Day Ticket office answers your questions Facilities update


CONTENTS

P.9 David Williams Director of Athletics returns for his regular Q&A.

P.10 Ticket FAQ Answering questions about recent changes to football ticketing.

P.12 Simone Charley Two-sport athlete to join soccer and track and field teams.

P.15 Baseball’s Golden Bears Kyle Smith is latest ’Dore from Mount Juliet.

P.13

P.18

National Signing Day

NCC Hospitality Room

Head Coach James Franklin’s best recruiting class made it official on February 6. National Signing Day 2013 also saw banner days for soccer coach Derek Greene and track and field/cross country mentor Steve Keith.

Gary Force Acura sponsors renovation of donor room in Memorial Gym.

P.2 Compliance Corner

P.3 National Commodore Club

P.19 Facility Update Work continues on multipurpose facilty/rec center and new golf complex.

P.7 Inside McGugin

P.23 It’s my turn Rod Williamson’s monthly column.

P.24 My game Bowling’s Kim Carper.

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Connect with the Commodores http://vucommodores.com Editorial

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Designer: Jeremy Teaford Director of Communications: Rod Williamson

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COMPLIANCE

CORNER Q: A:

Shock Jock, a local sports radio host, has invited our women’s basketball team on his broadcast. While on the air, he challenges the team to BEAT THE BRACKET, a contest that the station is running where the person who picks the most accurate results in the upcoming NCAA Tournament will win a grand prize of $1000. Can they participate? No. NCAA Bylaws prohibit student-athletes, coaches and athletics staff members from engaging in any sports wagering activities. Don’t bet on it!

Compliance questions? Please contact: Candice Lee George Midgett Director of Compliance Compliance Coordinator 615/322-7992 615/322-2083 candice.lee@vanderbilt.edu george.d.midgett@vanderbilt.edu John Peach Andrew Turner Compliance Coordinator Recruiting/Compliance Coordinator 615/343-1060 615/322-4543 john.w.peach@vanderbilt.edu andrew.turner@vanderbilt.edu

Publisher: Vanderbilt University Editor-in-Chief: Chris Weinman

Digital Image Specialist: Julie Luckett Turner

VU Photography:

Daniel Dubois Steve Green Lauren Holland Joe Howell Anne Rayner John Russell Susan Urmy

Contributors: Brandon Barca Andy Boggs Larry Leathers George Midgett Kyle Parkinson Weston Pletcher Emily Sane Michael Scholl Ryan Schulz

Administrative

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

Vanderbilt University Student Athletics’ Mission Statement We prepare student-athletes to become leaders and champions in life by placing the highest values on integrity, character, sportsmanship and victory. Vanderbilt University is an equal-opportunity, affirmative-action university. ON THE COVER: New turf at Hawkins Field allows VU baseball to play year-round; Vince Conde celebrates an earlyseason homer. Photo by John Russell, VU Photography. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to National Commodore Club, 2601 Jess Neely Drive, Nashville, TN 37212. SUBSCRIPTION: To subscribe, contact Chris Weinman by e-mail at commodorenation@vanderbilt.edu ADVERTISEMENT: To advertise with Commodore Nation, please contact Vanderbilt IMG Sports & Entertainment Properties. Jeff Miller, general manager 615/322-4468; jeff.miller@imgworld.com

Commodore Nation is printed using (10% post-consumer) recycled paper.

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By The Numbers

Inside McGugin

Notes from the athletic department

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B

l Snedeker also paired with friend and fellow Vanderbilt graduate Toby Wilt (‘66) to win a share of the Pro-Am championship with a combined score of 31-under-par. Snedeker was the first golfer to receive the Toby S. Wilt Athletic Scholarship in 1999. Snedeker and Wilt have played together at Pebble Beach three times. The pair played three rounds with two more VU grads— PGA pro Luke List (‘07), who succeeded Snedeker as the Wilt Scholarship recipient, and NBA executive Heidi Ueberroth (‘87).

Gatorade Runners of the Year among the eight student-athletes that signed a National Letter of Intent to compete for Coach Steve Keith’s track and field team beginning this fall. HARRY HOW / GET TY IMAGES

randt Snedeker (‘03) captured his fourth PGA Tour title with a 7-under final round of 65 to claim a two-shot victory over Chris Kirk at Pebble Beach last month. In his five starts of 2013, Snedeker already has a win, two second-place finishes and a third. The Nashville native was tied with rookie James Hahn heading into the event’s final round and seized control with an eagle and three birdies on the opening seven holes. Snedeker responded to his only bogey, a three-putt at No. 9, by rolling in birdie putts on the next two holes.

Toby Wilt and Brandt Snedeker

l James Franklin was honored February 13 by the Tennessee Senate, as lawmakers recognized his accomplishments as the Commodores’ head football coach. The Senate’s Davidson County delegation presented Franklin with a copy of Senate Joint Resolution 62, sponsored by Sen. Steven Dickerson, R-Nashville, and Sen. Douglas Henry, D-Nashville. The resolution praises Franklin for tying Vanderbilt’s single-season record with nine wins, a record that had stood since 1915. n

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consecutive NCAA Tournament berths for the women’s basketball program, which will learn its 2013 postseason fate on Selection Monday (March 18).

455

consecutive plays outside the red zone without giving up a touchdown for the Vanderbilt football team’s defensive unit, the longest streak in the FBS, according to ESPN.com’s Chris Low.

1,282

FedEx Cup points for Brandt Snedeker through his first five events of 2013.

Calendar

March March 15

March 13 SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament The Southeastern Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament returns to Nashville for the sixth time this month when the downtown Bridgestone Arena hosts the five-day event. The winner of the 13-game tournament receives the SEC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Bridgestone Arena also is scheduled to host the tournament in 2015, 2016 and 2019. The venue will host the NCAA Women’s Final Four next year.

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Columbia 300 Music City Classic The bowling team will play host to its annual home tournament at the Smyrna Bowling Center in Smyrna, Tenn., over the third weekend of the month. The three-day event features 28 of the nation’s top teams. Vanderbilt will be looking to re-capture the Columbia 300 Music City Classic championship for the first time since 2010.

March 16 Baseball at Auburn Nine Vanderbilt baseball games have been selected to be part of the Southeastern Conference’s 2013 television package. The ’Dores open league play at Auburn, and that Saturday’s game (March 16) will be televised by Fox SportsNet at 2:15 p.m. CT. Seven other Saturday contests—March 23 vs. Florida, March 30 vs. Tennessee, April 14 vs. Missouri, April 20 at Georgia, April 27 vs. Mississippi State, May 4 at South Carolina and May 11 at Kentucky— also will feature live broadcasts, as will a Sunday road contest against the Gamecocks.

March 22 Baseball vs. Florida The Commodores play host to their first SEC home series of 2013 when Florida visits Nashville in the fourth weekend of March. The series opener includes a limited-edition poster celebrating Commodores in Major League Baseball for “Free Stuff Friday.”

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A.D.’s Q&A: Williams discusses service trip and the price of major college athletics Commodore Nation: The Department of Athletics recently announced plans to partner with Soles4Souls by collecting shoes and clothing and then sending a contingent of 24-30 representatives, mostly student-athletes, to deliver the goods personally to Tanzania. How does an international service trip fit into department priorities?

CN: The NCAA routinely gets criticized for a variety of transgressions by member institutions, coaches or student-athletes. You are chair of the NCAA Committee on Infractions, so you see and hear the biggest offenses. Are you encouraged or discouraged by the direction of collegiate athletics as it pertains to rules compliance? Williams: I am actually encouraged because there is a lot of interest by a wide cross-section of people to get this right. We’ve heard from head football coaches, for instance, who came to us and said the risk-reward ratio is out of balance (Editor’s Note: The risk and severity of being penalized versus the high reward of bending the rules to win). That is encouraging. The diversity of groups and individuals coming forth with concerns and suggestions that we can do better is very uplifting.

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Williams: Yes. You need people to want to come see your product and there is always the tendency to follow a winner. CN: How do you evaluate the men’s and women’s basketball seasons to date (this interview was conducted Feb. 20):

JOHN RUSSELL

David Williams: Several things come to mind. First, Vanderbilt has a reputation for service. Our university originated “Alternative Spring Break,” where students voluntarily give up their enjoyable breaks in order to help people less fortunate. While we have been successful in giving some of our student-athletes the opportunity to study abroad, because of the nearly year-round training and competitive cycle, most of our student-athletes don’t have the chance to participate in Alternative Spring Break. This is our way of giving them the experience. Second, when you are an athlete in our society you can sometimes be placed on a pedestal and begin to think you are special. It is always good to put into perspective what is important and what is special. When we bring shoes and clothing to a village in Tanzania, nobody will know or care that we are soccer players or football players. To whom much is given, much should be expected.

CN: When cost of attendance rises, does that put more pressure on the coaches to win?

CN: Some fans feel the price of attending a football or basketball game is getting too expensive. As a Director of Athletics balancing a complicated budget, what is your take? Williams: The other night I was at a concert when a singer asked the audience how many could remember when gasoline was 80 cents a gallon. I remember gas at 18 cents a gallon! That is what gas used to cost but it doesn’t cost that anymore because all production costs have risen. It is the way of business. In the case of our ticket prices, we are not raising prices to put money in our pocket. It’s the cost of running the program. When our fans say, “keep the coach,” or, “build new facilities to help us win,” there are costs associated with that. The money doesn’t fall from the sky. While the revenue we receive from both the university and the conference is relatively fixed—and both are substantial—our revenue model has three prongs, and the third is self-generated. Unfortunately, this is our avenue of growth right now. I really wish there was another way because I do understand how some people feel.

Williams: At the end of last year we pretty much knew that the men’s and women’s teams had differing outlooks. The men’s team was losing five seniors and a junior—three to the NBA—so this was clearly a rebuilding season. Fans should realize that only three programs from the SEC have made the NCAA Tournament the last three years (Vanderbilt, Kentucky and Florida) and of those three, right now only Florida seems a lock to make it. There are natural ebbs and flows in sports. Our women’s team was different, losing just one senior and bringing back nearly the entire team. Then our excellent center (Stephanie Holzer) was injured early and Melanie had to figure out a new rotation. Then midway through we lose Foggie (Christina, first-team All-SEC) and add some untimely illness, it’s been a rough go. The women’s conference is better with Kentucky, South Carolina, LSU, Texas A&M and Tennessee having good years. We are not where we are used to being or where we want to be with either program, but I think next year the expectations will be higher when we field more experienced lineups. n

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Ticket FAQ: Answering your questions on ticketing changes for 2013 season Here is a list of some frequently asked questions that have arisen since we implemented a number of changes to our football ticketing policies this winter. We hope you will find this information helpful.

National Commodore Club Why implement a new seating and pricing plan for the 2013 season? • Stadium Improvement: Major improvements– from the video board to the new artificial turf– have been made to Vanderbilt Stadium in the past year. More improvements to the stadium, including those to enhance the fan experience, are on the horizon. We need additional revenue to support such initiatives. • Coaching Staff: Vanderbilt is committed to a successful football program. The university is supportive. We have shown this by retaining what we believe to be the best football coaching staff in the country led by Head Coach James Franklin. To do that requires us to grow our revenue streams for the athletic department. • Student-Athlete Scholarships: In 2013-2014, Vanderbilt Athletics will provide over $12 million for scholarships to support our 325 student-athletes. This money is partly generated through the generous donations of our National Commodore Club members. With the rising cost of a student-athlete scholarship and the need to generate more revenue, the decision was made to increase current NCC sections and add new NCC sections to Vanderbilt Stadium for the 2013 football season. Why not use Vanderbilt endowment to fund these changes/ needs? • The university annually contributes an investment of $15 million toward the athletics budget, which has been vital to overall department operations over the years. No major college athletic program is fully funded by its university. Regarding the “urban legend” of the endowment funding the program, this simply can’t happen. The vast

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majority of the money donated and residuals generated from the Vanderbilt endowment are earmarked for specific uses outside of athletic funding and cannot be changed from the original donor’s intent. Why/how were the sections chosen for an NCC donation? • The NCC sections have been sold out for two consecutive seasons, so more room is needed to allow for the growth of the NCC. A comprehensive analysis was done that looked at Vanderbilt Stadium pricing and cost-perseat history, industry norms, and SEC and peer schools’ comparative data. It was determined that, at this time, it was best to both add new sections requiring an NCC donation as well as ask current giving levels for seats to go up. • We have not gone up in giving levels for football seats in over 10 years. Why not just raise ticket prices? • Your donation per seat will directly impact the lives of our student-athletes by applying to scholarship support. We hope that this effort to closely tie seating to NCC support will raise awareness of the need for scholarship support because every gift does make a difference. Also by becoming an NCC member there are additional benefits for donors including an annual tax deduction, parking, and postseason ticket opportunities. Will my donation for football apply to basketball and other benefits? • Yes, your donation for football will apply for all 2013-2014 Vanderbilt sports including men’s basketball. Additionally, your donation at required levels can make you eligible to receive parking passes for various sports (as long as you have season tickets for that sport). Finally, all NCC members get the first opportu-

nities for postseason tickets (bowl games, SEC Tournament, NCAA Tournament). So what is the benefit of NCC membership for me beyond seating (i.e. parking?) • Every NCC member at $100 or higher receives benefits such as a tax deduction for a portion of your donation, opportunities for postseason tickets, this magazine, and invitations to NCC events. This year with a donation of $200 you will receive a parking pass for football if you have season tickets. Additionally, donations to the NCC apply across all Vanderbilt sports including 2013-14 men’s basketball. This may help to improve your current season tickets in other sports or give you additional parking benefits, and all postseason tickets are first made available to NCC members. For a complete list of NCC benefits for each giving level, visit our web site at: NationalCommodoreClub.com. When is my donation due, how do I make my donation, and are there any payment plan options (as in credit card pledges)? • All donations related to 2013 football season tickets are due at the football ticket deadline of March 22, 2013. For your convenience starting this year, only one payment is necessary for your tickets and NCC donation. You can make a larger NCC donation by contacting the NCC office by phone at (615) 322-4112, emailing them at ncc@vanderbilt.edu or by making the donation online. Credit card and bank draft payment plans are available, but your required donation must be paid in full before the start of the season (September) or you will not receive your tickets. If you have not notified the NCC office and set up your payment option by March 22, 2013, your tickets will be released.


If I don’t want to pay a donation, do I still renew in non-donation seats and what specific seats will I receive? • If you aren’t interested in paying the NCC contribution, but would still like season football seats, we can charge you for season football seats outside of NCC sections at this time. We will need to go through the entire renewal process for all seats which ends on March 22, 2013. We will fill all seat requests by first taking care of NCC members, then previous year season ticket holders, then new orders.

Ticket Pricing Why did you increase the price of tickets so much for next season? • E xcitement is high for the 2013 football season—the team finished the year ranked in the top 25 and has signed the top recruiting

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class in history. Following nine wins and the Music City Bowl championship, the Commodores will also host seven home games this season (up from six last year). During the 2012 season, we sold out three of our six home games creating new demand for football tickets. Head Coach James Franklin remains one of the most talked-about coaches in college football and has generated new excitement around the Commodore football program.

Vanderbilt Employees Why did employee pricing increase so much? • In the past, many employees have contacted us to voice displeasure over having a taxable benefit be applied to their paycheck. Tickets had become a taxable benefit due to a discount in excess of 20%. So, the decision

was made to set the Vanderbilt employee discount at 20% so no taxable benefit would be applied to any employee’s paycheck. Vanderbilt employees are still eligible to purchase the best seats in the stadium for the lowest price possible. What is a taxable benefit? • A taxable benefit is anything that is provided to an employee at a discount greater than 20%, as mandated by the federal government. Why can I not do payroll deduction over the phone or online? • There is no way to verify that a person calling on the phone or emailing us is the actual person they claim to be. Therefore we need each employee to come to the Ticket Office with their Vanderbilt ID in order to sign the payroll deduction forms in person. n

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O

ne afternoon late in the fall of 2011, Vanderbilt head women’s soccer coach Derek Greene was meeting with his staff when a knock came at his office door. It was Damien Charley (‘99), a former football letter winner and current minister and personal trainer in Nashville. Damien told the coaches that his cousin, Simone Charley, was interested in playing soccer for the Commodores. Simone had been named the Gatorade Player of the Year for girls soccer in Alabama as a standout at Spain Park High School in Birmingham. But she was under the coaches’ radar due to the low profile kept by her club side, which had not turned up in events the staff scouted. Damien had learned of his youngest cousin’s athletic prowess only recently on a trip back to his hometown of Birmingham. Damien often stays with his aunt and uncle—Simone’s parents—on those visits home. Simone is the youngest of three siblings and the youngest of all the cousins on that side of the Charley family. Both of her older siblings are college athletes—her sister, Nicole, at Auburn, and her brother, Myles, at Troy. So when Damien discovered another impressive athlete in the family, he rushed to inform his alma mater of her interest in attending college in Nashville. On the heels of Damien’s visit, assistant coach Sebastian Vecchio quickly got to work figuring out how Commodore coaches could catch a glimpse of Simone in action. In December of that year, Simone played as a guest with the Ponte Vedra Storm at the 2011 Disney Soccer Showcase. That was the first opportunity for Greene to watch her play. “The first time I saw her play I walked away from the field saying, ‘Wow. We have to get this kid.’” Greene said. “Simone is special. She has great speed, she’s great in the air and is very skillful. She brings a sophistication and knowledge to the game that typically you don’t see unless a kid is competing at the highest youth level.” A little more research into Simone’s athletic prowess showed her also to be a track and field standout. She is a four-time Alabama state champion in the triple jump. The prospect of competing in both soccer and track and field in college was important to Simone. “I was really excited when I found out I could do both because I’ve been doing both of them for so long that it would just be really hard to give up one,” Simone said. “It’s just a blessing. And with soccer in the fall and track in the spring, it works perfectly. It’ll keep me in shape the whole year so I don’t have to worry about that.”

Vanderbilt coaches agreed that sharing Simone’s talents was in everyone’s best interest. “Simone is a 40’7” triple jumper,” VU Head Track & Field and Cross Country Coach Steve Keith said. “That ranks among the top returners in the country. She and Tierney Price (another 2013 signee in triple jump) will be a really nice combo working out together. Soccer has been very generous in allowing her the opportunity to participate with us. The seasons complement each other very well. The athleticism that she gets from training for the triple jump will definitely help her in soccer.” The chance to compete in two sports was one of many reasons Simone decided to come to Vanderbilt. The university’s strong reputation and the close family ties to Nashville were also key factors. “Vanderbilt is a well-known university from an academic standpoint,” Damien said. “And there’s definitely a special connection between our families. Being the youngest, she’s not too far from my kids, age-wise, and they really look up to Simone.” Commodore coaches are happy to have another stellar student-athlete coming to Vanderbilt, and proud that a Vanderbilt alumnus thought enough of his university to recommend a family member to them. “It says a lot about Vanderbilt that Damien would take the time to stop by and bring Simone to our attention,” VU Head Coach Derek Greene said. “I know he’s excited. And we are equally thrilled to have Simone joining us.” n

NATIONAL SIGNING DAYS A total of 38 prospective student-athletes signed the National Letter of Intent last month on National Signing Day to enroll at Vanderbilt and compete as studentathletes for the Commodores. The first Wednesday of February has become quite an event on college campuses nationwide, and Vanderbilt is no exception. The football program hosted a day-long web cast to introduce its 26-member signing class, with soccer and track and field/cross country joining in the festivities. Other Commodore programs had their signing days back in November. Derek Greene signed five stellar student-athletes, including a pair of recruits lauded in Top Drawer Soccer’s IMG Academy 150: Women’s Soccer 2013 Signing Class • S imone Charley (Forward; Hoover, Ala.; Spain Park; Birmingham Legends) • L aura Foster (Defender; Knoxville, Tenn.; Christian Academy of Knoxville; Brentwood Premier) • Sasha Gray (Forward; Nesconset, N.Y.; Smithtown; Albertson Elite Fury) • K rystina Iordanou (Defender; Upper Brookville, N.Y.; Friends Academy; Albertson Elite Fury) • O livia Liebman (Goalkeeper; Austin, Texas; St. Andrew’s Episcopal; Lonestar 95G ECNL)

Eight top prospects will join Steve Keith’s cross country and track and field squads this fall:

Damien Charley played defensive back and returned kicks as a VU football player. His cousin Simone will play soccer and compete in the triple jump for the track team.

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Cross County/Track & Field 2013 Signing Class • Reagan Anderson (Distance runner; Wilmington, Del.; Tatnall School) • Sarah Bell (Pole vaulter; Bloomington, Ill.; Central Catholic) • Carmen Carlos (Distance runner; Mobile, Ala.; McGill-Toolen) • Courtney Clayton (Middle distance; Roscoe, Ill.; Hononegah) • Simone Charley (Triple jumper; Birmingham, Ala.; Spain Park) • Courtney Kriegshauser (Middle distance; Southlake, Texas; Southlake-Carroll) • Tierney Price (Triple jumper; The Woodlands, Texas; College Park) • Katie Watts (Pole vaulter; Westerly, R.I.; The Williams School [Conn.])

JOE HOWELL

Two-sport athlete has VU family connection


SIGNING DAY

Head Coach James Franklin reacts after Jordan Cunningham announced his intention to attend Vanderbilt live during ESPNU’s signing day coverage. The Commodores received 26 commitments on signing day, making up the most impressive class in Vanderbilt football history.

2013 Football Signees Name

Pos

Ht

Wt

Hometown

Rivals

ESPN

247

Scout

Jalen Banks

DB

5’11”

188

Markham, Ill.

★★★

★★★

★★★

★★★

Tre Bell

DB

5’11”

170

Union, N.J.

★★★

★★★★

★★★

★★★

Nigel Bowden

LB

6’1”

245

Macon, Ga.

★★★★

★★★

★★★★

★★★

Oren Burks

LB

6’3”

200

Fairfax Station, Va.

★★★

★★★

★★★

★★★

Carlos Burse

WR

6’2”

200

Alpharetta, Ga.

★★★

★★★★

★★★

★★★

Delando Crooks

OL

6’5”

275

Atlanta, Ga.

★★★

★★★

★★★

★★★★

Sean Dowling

OL

6’6”

270

Fallbrook, Calif.

★★★

★★★

★★★

★★★

Jordan Cunningham

WR

6’1”

175

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

★★★★

★★★★

★★★

★★★

Zach Cunningham

LB

6’4”

205

Pinson, Ala.

★★★★

★★★★

★★★★

★★★★

Taurean Ferguson

DB

5’9”

180

Jonesboro, Ga.

★★★

★★★

★★★

★★★

Chad Kanoff

QB

6’3”

200

Pacific Palisades, Calif.

★★★

★★★★

★★★

★★★

Nathan Marcus

TE

6’5”

220

Glen Ellyn, Ill.

★★★

★★★

★★★

★★★

Johnny McCrary

QB

6’3”

200

Decatur, Ga.

★★★★

★★★★

★★★

★★★

Tommy Openshaw

K/P

6’2”

175

Jacksonville, Fla.

★★

★★

★★

Mitchell Parsons

TE

6’4”

245

Parker, Colo.

★★★★

★★★

★★★

★★★

Gerald Perry

WR

5’10”

165

Memphis, Tenn.

★★★

★★★

★★★

★★

Latevius Rayford

WR

6’1”

180

Memphis, Tenn.

★★★

★★★

★★★

★★★

Darrius Sims

DB

5’9”

175

Memphis, Tenn.

★★★

★★★

★★★

★★★

Landon Stokes

DE

6’4”

220

Orlando, Fla.

★★★

★★★★

★★★★

★★★

Brandon Vandenburg

TE

6’5”

255

Indio, Calif.

★★★

★★★★

★★★

★★★

Mack Weaver

DE

6’5”

248

Collierville, Tenn.

★★★

★★★★

★★★

★★★

Ralph Webb

RB

5’10”

190

Gainesville, Fla.

★★★

★★★

★★★

★★

Ryan White

DB

5’10”

178

Louisville, Ky.

★★★

★★★★

★★★

★★★★

DeAndre Woods

WR

6’3”

208

Clay, Ala.

★★★

★★★★

★★★

★★★

Jay Woods

DT

6’2”

280

Jackson, Ga.

★★★

★★★★

★★★

★★★★

Jonathan Wynn

DE

6’4”

220

Stone Mountain, Ga.

★★★

★★★

★★★

★★★

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JOHN RUSSELL

The Golden Bears of Vanderbilt baseball

Taylor Hill (34) helped the Commodores reach the College World Series for the first time in 2011. Now Kyle Smith (inset) looks to carry on Mt. Juliet’s legacy at Hawkins Field.

2013 BASEBALL PROMOTIONS Free Stuff Friday Be sure to stop by the marketing table on March 22 to pick up a commemorative Vanderbilt Baseball poster celebrating Vanderbilt baseball players playing in Major League Baseball. Supply is limited. Catch With Mom or Dad Under the Lights On March 22, Hawkins Field will remain open for 30 minutes after the game for young fans 12 and under to get on the field for a Friday night game of catch. SEC Saturday Tailgate - Every Saturday during SEC play Football’s popular tailgating party, Vandyville, moves to baseball this spring. Vandyville opens two hours prior to the first pitch. Tent rentals are exclusive to season ticket holders and can be purchased by calling Alexis Henderson at 343-4198. Kids Zone - Every Saturday and Sunday during SEC play Located on the Memorial Gym Concourse, the Kids Zone features inflatable games, face painting, giveaways, concessions and much more. Mr. C’s Sunday Runday - Every Sunday SEC Game All youth, ages 12 and under, can run the bases after the game. Easter Sunday Easter Egg Hunt - March 31 vs. Tennessee After the March 31 game, youth, ages 12 and under, will be invited down to Hawkins Field to participate in an Easter Egg hunt. Select eggs will have special surprises. PACK THE HAWK - April 9 vs. UT-Martin $1 outfield tickets for the first 500 fans! Frequent Fan Card Cards can be picked up and punched at marketing tables at Hawkins Field. Bring them back to every game for more punches, which can be redeemed for prizes at year’s end: • 10 punches = Autographed 2013 Vanderbilt Baseball Poster • 20 punches = Vanderbilt Stadium Scarf • 30 punches = Throw 1st pitch at 2014 game • 35 punches = Exclusive Vanderbilt Baseball Insider Experience

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A

fter a one-year absence, the Vanderbilt baseball team once again has a Mount Juliet Golden Bear on its roster. And that’s anything but bad news. Freshman Kyle Smith joins a growing line of hardballers from Mount Juliet High School who have opted for the short, 23-mile drive to attend college at Vanderbilt and play baseball for Head Coach Tim Corbin. Notable Mount Juliet products include Stephen Shao, a left-hander who threw more than 135 innings from 2004 to 2007, and Caleb Cotham, a right-hander who spent 2008 and 2009 as a weekend starter for the ‘Dores and currently pitches in the Yankees organization. The most recent Golden Bear to find success at Hawkins Field was righthanded pitcher Taylor Hill. After being selected in the 30th round following his junior campaign in 2010, Hill chose to return to Vanderbilt for his senior season. He made 17 starts for the Commodores in 2011, boasted an earned run average of 2.73, and saw his draft stock rise steadily. He was chosen in the sixth round of the 2011 draft by the Washington Nationals. Hill may be best remembered for his performance in clinching Vanderbilt’s 2011 NCAA Super Regional berth by striking out 13 Belmont Bruins in eight innings of work. He returned in Vanderbilt’s third game at the College World Series to work seven strong innings and earn a victory that sent North Carolina home from Omaha. Hill sees a toughness in Smith that he knows will benefit the freshman on West End. “I know he’s a fierce competitor,” Hill said. “He’s one of those guys that’s gonna outwork you. I feel like Mount Juliet produces a lot of hard workers, and he definitely fits that bill.” The Mount Juliet connection came in handy when Smith was weighing his college options. “I talked to Taylor a lot, actually,” Smith said. “He was a big help. He and his parents, both. He lives in my neighborhood, right down the street from me, so we’d been over to his house, had dinner with his family, and they were a big help.”


Smith’s collegiate decision was made easier by the success enjoyed by some of his Golden Bear predecessors. “When I was younger, Coach Corbin had been here for a while already and kind of turned the program around,” Smith said. “So they had been in the spotlight for me since day one.” For Hill, however, the Commodore baseball program was just coming into its own during his formative years. But he saw the potential first-hand. “Baseball wasn’t that big at Vandy when I was first in high school,” Hill said. “It was my senior year when they were really good with [David] Price and Pedro [Alvarez]. I wanted to go to the University of Tennessee, but I got lucky and came on a visit to Vanderbilt first, and saw everything that Vanderbilt had to offer.” Now well-established as one of the top programs in the nation, Vanderbilt baseball is attracting the top talent in the country. Smith came to VU as part of the second of back-to-back No. 1 recruiting classes, according to Baseball America. The 6’3” right-hander is projected both as a corner infielder and a hard-throwing relief pitcher. It’s quite rare for a player to ply both trades at Vanderbilt, but Smith is embracing the opportunity. “That’s the beauty of college baseball,” Smith said. “You’ve got the opportunity to do something, you might as well take advantage of it. As far as the every day work standpoint, it’s not too bad. You have to put in a lot of time and effort either way. I like pitching, I like hitting. Coach Brown and Coach Jewett do a good job of managing my time on days I throw and when I don’t.” The multi-talented Smith saw at-bats in each of the first two series for the Commodores, but says he has no preference between contributing with his arm or with his bat. He simply wants to contribute. “Whatever it takes to get on the field,” Smith said. “In the batter’s box, in the field or on the mound—however I can help the team, that’s what I want to do.” n

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BLACK & GOLD SPRING GAME

Saturday, April 13, 1 p.m. CT

Admission to the Black & Gold Spring Game is free, but fans are encouraged to bring new or gently used shoes and clothing to donate to Soles4Souls—a charitable organization that is scheduled to take Vanderbilt student-athletes on a service trip to Tanzania this summer. A full day of events is scheduled in and around Vanderbilt Stadium. Most notably, the Vanderbilt baseball team will play host to a nationally televised game against Missouri at 4 p.m. inside Hawkins Field. Leading up to the football game, the popular Kids Field Day will once again take place on Dudley Field beginning at 10:30 a.m. All kids 12 and under are invited down onto the field to take part in a series of games and activities. Vandyville will be open for fans to enjoy tailgating prior to the football/baseball doubleheader. The football team will take to the Star Walk at noon and all fans are encouraged to come and be a part of this Commodore tradition.

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JOHN RUSSELL

1950 team helped put VU basketball on the map

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n December 5, 1949, the Vanderbilt men’s basketball team upset powerful NYU, 65-59, in overtime at Madison Square Garden. The victory put Commodore basketball, which had only been giving athletic scholarships for a few years, on the national map. The following

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season many of those same men were a part of the squad that defeated No. 1 Kentucky in the 1951 SEC Tournament. A genuine game ball from the historic victory over NYU has been preserved and was presented to VU athletic officials during the Arkansas game on February 9 at Memorial Gym.

Pictured in the photo above are (left to right): Associate Director of Student Athletics Steve Walsh, Graeme Huffman (daughter of George Kelley), John Southwood (son of Gene Southwood), Bob Dudley Smith, Associate Director of Student Athletics Rod Williamson, Emmett Russell, Jack Heldman and Pete Robinson. n

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March Madness SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament March 13-17, Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tenn.

JOHN RUSSELL

Vanderbilt is the only school that has won championships in both the SEC Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments in the past five years. The SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament returns to Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena for the first time since 2010. Current Atlanta Hawk John Jenkins (pictured) was a freshman that season, but he would help lead Head Coach Kevin Stallings’ Commodores to an SEC Tournament title just two years later.

SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament March 6-10, The Arena at Gwinnett Center, Duluth, Ga.

TODD J. VAN EMST

The Vanderbilt women will return to Duluth, Ga., for the 2013 SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament in search of their fifth championship in the past 12 years. Head Coach Melanie Balcomb’s squad last cut down the nets in 2009 behind seniors Jennifer Risper (left) and Christina Wirth.

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FACILITY ENHANCEMENT

PHOTOS BY JOE HOWELL

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he landscape of Vanderbilt’s campus is changing by the day as construction continues on the multipurpose facility and recreation center expansion (above). With the framework for the north side of the massive structure in place, the facility can be seen anywhere on the west side of campus. The multipurpose facility is scheduled to open on Oct. 31, 2013, with work slated to be completed on the recreation center’s enhancements in January, 2014.

Construction at the Vanderbilt Legends Club in Franklin also is continuing at a rapid pace. By mid-February, the roof already had been added to the hitting bays and workers were in the process of putting shingles on the building. The $2.3 million project is on schedule. The teaching facility is due to open on April 15 while the varsity clubhouse is targeted to open August 22. n

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JOHN RUSSELL

The men’s mural features VU legends Will Perdue, Shan Foster, Clyde Lee and Perry Wallace. The women’s mural features All-Americans Heidi Gillingham, Sheri Sam, Wendy Scholtens and Chantelle Anderson.

Local dealership funds fan enhancements at gym

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he commitment that has been made to improve Vanderbilt’s athletic facilities is obvious all around campus, from the new turf adorning Dudley Field and Hawkins Field to the Multipurpose Facility and Student Recreation Center Enhancement that already stands high above the Soccer and Lacrosse Complex. And while many of the facility improvements will directly benefit our teams’ abilities to field successful teams, athletic officials consistently have stated that enhancing the fan experience is a key facet of their plan for the future. One such fan-related improvement recently was completed inside Memorial Gymnasium. The National Commodore Club Hospitality Room, located in the southeast connector of Memorial Gym’s concourse adjacent to Section E, received a face-lift courtesy of a local partnership with Gary Force Acura. The former dance studio received an entire paint job in black and gold, while the east wall features murals of Vanderbilt men’s and women’s basketball legends. The space now includes flat screen TVs and plenty of room for VU fans to relax and enjoy refreshments during halftime. The revamped hospitality room is the dealership’s first large sign of support for the

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Commodore athletics, but Middle Tennessee’s only Acura dealer has plans to broaden the relationship. General manager Keb Barrett sees it as a perfect fit for his brand. “It’s a perfect marriage,” Barrett said. “There’s a lot of loyalty with Vanderbilt fans, and we’re trying to create the same kind of loyalty with our brand. We want to be loyal to Vanderbilt, and we hope they become loyal to Acura.” When Barrett approached IMG College, the exclusive multimedia rights holder for Vanderbilt athletics, about expanding Gary Force Acura’s presence at Commodore events, general manager Jeff Miller suggested a cobranding effort with the NCC. Barrett jumped at the idea of having his company’s support directly benefit Commodore boosters. “NCC members are a big deal to the university and they support athletics strongly,” Barrett said. “So to have this room for them, and have them be excited about it, it feels really good. And it seems to be driving more people there at halftime.” While Gary Force has entered Memorial Gym, Barrett also is making a push to benefit Vanderbilt fans on his own home court: the sales floor of the Brentwood dealership. “We put a Vandy plan together, which will give anybody who is an employee, a student, a

parent of a student or a National Commodore Club member a controlled price,” Barrett said. “I want to make sure that people know about that plan, and that there is a dealership that wants to take special care of those customers.” Gary Force Acura will have greater visibility at baseball games this spring and at Vanderbilt Stadium this fall. If the upgraded hospitality room is any indication, the improvements will be a boon to Commodore supporters. At a recent basketball game, VU fans were singing the praises of the renovation effort. “It’s a huge improvement,” according to Carol Crossland, an NCC member and season ticket holder for many years. “It’s great to have the pictures and all the nostalgia on the walls. It all looks wonderful.” Access to the Gary Force Acura NCC Hospitality Room is a benefit for NCC members who give annually at the Vice Admiral level ($6,000) and above that have men’s basketball season tickets (one pass per season ticket). Membership at this level also entitles basketball season ticket holders to a season parking pass in the Kensington Garage, located next to Memorial Gym on 25th Avenue. Interested in seeing the updated room? Contact the National Commodore Club at 615/322-4114 or visit NationalCommodoreClub.com. n


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It’s My Turn By Rod Williamson

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e gave it away.” “We can’t seem to close it out.” “We struggle on Sundays.” Those are not the laments of a struggling preacher but rather the typical Monday morning comments of coaches. Who will deliver in the clutch has been one of sport’s great mysteries since the very first foot race. If we had a dollar for every time we saw a team blow a game that was in the bag we’d be filing this essay from somewhere in the Mediterranean. This is why we hold the Michael Jordan’s, the Jack Nicklaus’, the Tom Brady’s and the Shawn Johnson’s of the world as special. They came through when it counted. Former Vanderbilt football coach Steve Sloan used to say, “He looks like Tarzan and plays like Jane,” to describe a gameday under-achiever. After training for years, it is baffling why so many brick the free throw that would win the game, lose the strike zone with the bases loaded or jerk the putt they could usually make blindfolded. Some believe more games are “lost” than “won.” There are almost as many theories to this frustrating curse as there are competitors who have failed to meet the test of victory. They range from over-thinking to not thinking, from trying too hard to not trying hard enough, from being a glory hound to being a shrinking violet. It isn’t about being “smart,” although many psychologists do refer to a “sports IQ” that differs from standard intelligence. Former Marquette basketball coach Al McGuire wanted the last shot to be taken by a C student, reasoning the A student would over-analyze while the C student was less likely encumbered by the thought process. This theory has merit. Shelley Jarrard made a handful of game-winning shots for our 1993 Final Four women’s basketball team, and we once asked her what was running through her mind as the clock ticked down. Jarrard, a solid B student, seemed stumped and finally stammered, “Well, nothing. Somebody has to shoot it.” Why Jarrard or Barry Goheen (ESPN once coined the term “Go-heened” to describe a team losing on a buzzer beater) or Shan Foster could come through in the heat of battle while others fall shy is fascinating. Vanderbilt coaches have turned to experts. Every year leading sports psychologists are brought on campus to spend time with our teams. Our own sports psychologist Vicki Woosley is probably the busiest person in McGugin Center, her calendar full weeks in advance. Can leadership be taught? Experts think it can be nurtured and coaches hope so, but many wonder. All Vanderbilt teams have some form of leadership development in place and probably every coach wishes he had taken my psych courses in college. Even the legendary sportswriter and Vanderbilt alumnus Grantland Rice had the topic on his mind when he wrote this famous verse 75 years ago, which Johnny Wooden had memorized: The Great Competitor Beyond the winning and the goal, beyond the glory and the fame, He feels the flame within his soul, born of the spirit of the game, And where the barriers may wait, built up by the opposing Gods, He finds a thrill in bucking fate, and riding down the endless odds. Where others wither in the fire, or fall below some raw mishap, Where others lag behind or tire, and break beneath the handicap, He finds a new and deeper thrill, to take him on the uphill spin, Because the test is greater still, and something he can revel in. n

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My Game

Kim Carper

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enior Kim Carper has raised her game average each season since joining the Vanderbilt bowling team from Brainerd, Minn., in 2009. This month, Carper and her Commodore teammates will compete in their final regular season event of 2013: the Columbia 300 Music City Classic, March 15-17, at the Smyrna Bowling Center. Commodore Nation: We’ve been watching your behindthe-scenes “All-Access” videos on vucommodores.com. How did you first get into video production? Kim Carper: It was my nephew’s third birthday, right before my freshman year in college. I decided to film a bunch of stuff and use a new program that was on the laptop I’d gotten for college, iMovie, to make him a video to remember his third birthday. We had rented a big bounce house with a jump zone, one of those big slides and an obstacle course. I filmed the whole birthday party and then sat down to make the video. I just learned through doing that. Nation: And you decided to keep pursuing that in college? Carper: Actually, one of my teammates was a film studies major: Amanda Halter, who graduated a couple years ago. We did some work together making videos for the team and that continued to spark my interest. Nation: Are you a big fan of movies in general? Carper: I do like movies. I live with my sister and her family, and my brother-in-law has put together quite a movie collection recently, so I’ve started liking to watch movies more. Nation: What would you say is your favorite movie? Carper: “Peaceful Warrior.” It’s not really a well-known movie, but I like the message behind it. It’s based on the book “The Way of the Peaceful Warrior” by Dan Millman. It’s about how the mental preparation is more important than the physical. And I actually really like the “Underworld” movies, too. Nation: The sport of bowling isn’t always treated with respect in films. From your standpoint is there a good bowling movie? Carper: There really aren’t many movies related to bowling that portray it in a good light. But I’ve heard there’s a movie coming that a couple of pro bowlers have signed on for, so hopefully that will improve.

Carper: Maybe Ellen Page. When “Juno” came out, people said that she reminded them of me—my attitude or the witty comebacks that I have sometimes, so I could see her playing my role based on that. n

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STEVE GREEN

Nation: In “Kim Carper: The Movie,” who would play you?



Commodore Nation, March 2013