Page 1

May 2013

Tennessee titles

Women’s golfers have found success in state’s top events.

ALSO INSIDE: The Family Fogler Austin reps Haiti in Davis Cup Introducing the SEC Network



P.16 SEC Network

P.9 Ben Fogler Sophomore golfer has family ties to Vanderbilt.

P.12 Gonzales Austin Sophomore represented Haiti in Davis Cup action.

More than 100 coaches and administrators from the Southeastern Conference recently gathered to announce a 20-year partnership between the league and ESPN to create and operate the SEC Network, a 24/7 showcase of the conference that will air more than 1,000 live events annually starting in the 2014-15 season.


P.17 David Williams Q&A Athletic director discusses SEC Network announcement.

P.19 Franklin honored by TNSHOF

Compliance Corner

Commodores’ football coach named Tennessean of the Year.



National Commodore Club

Freshmen pitchers Three questions with three baseball freshmen.

P.7 P.14 Amateur/Open champs Golfers Lauren Stratton and Kendall Martindale have captured both in-state titles.

Inside McGugin



My game

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

Tennis senior Megan Gornet.



Connect with the Commodores Editorial

Designer: Jeremy Teaford Director of Communications: Rod Williamson @vucommodores on instagram



High Flyer is a highly recruited prospect that is being coveted by many programs. In order to entice High to come to our institution, a group of fans have started a movement to “show some love” by bombarding social networking on High’s pages. Is this permissible? No. Vanderbilt’s responsibilities related to NCAA and SEC regulations extend beyond entities within the Athletics Department. In addition to its coaches, staff and student-athletes, Vanderbilt is also responsible for the actions of its fans and boosters. Therefore, it is important that all of these individuals understand NCAA rules related to their actions. One such rule is that fans are prohibited from any involvement in recruiting activities. Coaches and athletics department staff members are the only individuals permitted to be involved in the recruiting process. Fans should not make contact with prospects or their relatives, coaches, teachers or school administrators for the purpose of recruiting. They may only speak with prospects (or their families) if it is unavoidable, incidental contact, and the discussion does not include anything related to Vanderbilt Athletics.

Compliance questions? Please contact: Candice Lee George Midgett Director of Compliance Compliance Coordinator 615/322-7992 615/322-2083 John Peach Andrew Turner Compliance Coordinator Recruiting/Compliance Coordinator 615/343-1060 615/322-4543


M AY 2 0 1 3

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


Chancellor: Nicholas S. Zeppos

Director of Athletics: 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: Kendall Martindale (left) and Lauren Stratton have each won the Tennessee Amateur and Tennessee Open in the same year. Photo by Joe Howell, 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 ADVERTISEMENT: To advertise with Commodore Nation, please contact Vanderbilt IMG Sports & Entertainment Properties. Jeff Miller, general manager

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

Where can you find

NCC members

on game days?

(Memorial Gym)

Seat location

Annual donation (per seat)*

2F and 2L, Rows 11-26


3A-3E, Rows 8-12


2F and 2L, Rows 1-10


2G-2K, Rows 1-8


3A-3E, Rows 1-7


F and L, Rows 1-11


2A-2E, Rows 9-14


2A-2E, Rows 1-8


A-E, Rows 8-23


A-E, Rows 1-7


Cheering from the

best seats

at Memorial Gym!

For more information regarding priority seating for Vanderbilt men’s basketball at Memorial Gym, call the NCC office at (615) 322-4114. *Ticket prices are not included

Renew your men’s basketball priority seats by May 31, and score the best seats for the 2013-14 season.

BE A GAME CHANGER! Change the game by renewing your National Commodore Club membership and supporting our 325 student-athletes. How can you be a game changer? Renew your National Commodore Club membership by May 31. Annual gifts to the NCC are needed for Vanderbilt to continue offering competitive scholarships, recruiting talented student-athletes, and providing them with the education and environment to win. A single scholarship costs $62,470, so we encourage every supporter to make a gift to the NCC unrestricted annual fund first. Thank you for your support of Vanderbilt Athletics and our Commodore student-athletes.

Mas terp ie c e s Ma d e He r e

Tresham™ Ensemble

Experience a gallery where you are the artist. Where you can see, touch, and feel your home the

way you want it, right now. All the latest appliances. Gorgeous sinks and faucets. Brilliant lighting. Plus, trained product experts who really help and make it easy to turn your vision into reality.

FERGUSON.COM Murfreesboro:

540 New Salem Rd

(615) 890-5599


713 E Main St

(615) 444-2111


3201-B Powell Ave

(615) 385-3054


1369 Ashland City Rd

(931) 647-0276

Š2013 Ferguson Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


M AY 2 0 1 3

By The Numbers

Inside McGugin

Notes from the athletic department



wo Commodore football players were selected in the 2013 NFL Draft last month. Tailback Zac Stacy was selected by St. Louis in the fifth round (160th pick overall) and offensive lineman Ryan Seymour was chosen by Seattle in the seventh round (220th pick overall). Before the weekend ended, four other ‘Dores were prepared to ink free-agent deals: punter Richard Kent (San Diego), defensive tackle Rob Lohr (Kansas City), quarterback Jordan Rodgers and defensive back Trey Wilson (both with Jacksonville). l The men’s basketball team will play in the 2013 Paradise Jam in the U.S. Virgin Islands, November 22-25. The games will be played at the University of the Virgin Islands in Charlotte Amalie West, St. Thomas. Vanderbilt will be pitted against Providence in the tournament’s opening round, with the winner of that game playing either La Salle or Morgan State. The other half of the eight-team bracket includes Loyola Marymount, Marist, Maryland and Northern Iowa.

student-athletes who ran the 10,000 meters in under 34 minutes at the 55th annual Mt. Sac Relays, including Vanderbilt’s Liz Anderson, who broke the school record by nearly two minutes.


prep student-athletes committed to joining the Vanderbilt soccer team this fall, four of whom can be found on Top Drawer Soccer’s IMG Academy 150. Zac Stacy


l Thirty Vanderbilt student-athletes were named to the 2012-13 Winter Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll. Commodores from the basketball, bowling and swimming teams that achieved a 3.0 grade point average during the 2012 Spring, Summer and Fall terms were eligible for recognition. The list of VU honorees included 16 swimmers—greater than 90 percent of the squad’s eligible roster. n

yards passing for Austyn Carta-Samuels in the spring game, including five completions for 76 yards during the game-winning, fourth-quarter drive for Team Black.


career points for women’s basketball signee Rebekah Dahlman at Braham Area High School, a Minnesota state record.


Upcoming events May 31

May 27

May 26 SEC Baseball Championship The 12-team Southeastern Conference Baseball Tournament will conclude with Sunday’s championship game. The culmination of the six-day event will be televised live by ESPN2 at 3:30 p.m. CT. Vanderbilt is looking for its first tournament title since 2007 after runnerup finishes in 2011 and 2012.

NCAA Baseball Announcement The 2013 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship bracket will be announced on May 27 at 11 a.m. on ESPNU. The championship bracket consists of 64 teams that will open play at 16, four-team regionals, with winners at those campus sites moving on to a bestof-three super regional before eight schools advance to the College World Series in Omaha.

May 28 SEC Spring Meetings The SEC descends on Destin, Fla., in the final week of May for four days of meetings between coaches, athletic directors and league personnel. The week has become a showcase event for the league and is covered by many media outlets.

NCAA Men’s Golf Championships Initiated in 2009, the NCAA Men’s Golf Championships features three rounds of stroke play leading to an eight-team match play bracket that will begin on the fourth day of competition, Friday, May 31. The championship trophy will be awarded June 2 on the Crabapple Course of the Capital City Club in Atlanta, Ga.




M AY 2 0 1 3

The Family Fogler By Chris Weinman


n the evening of January 20, 1993, the 19th-ranked Vanderbilt men’s basketball team played host to eighth-ranked Arkansas in a nationally televised game between two Southeastern Conference powers. Eddie Fogler was in his fourth season as the Commodores’ head coach. “I can’t remember what I had for breakfast yesterday, but I can remember the Arkansas game on a Wednesday night, ESPN,” Eddie Fogler said. “I can remember we played very well and beat a very good Arkansas team pretty handily. I remember [Arkansas] Coach [Nolan] Richardson getting tossed out of the game with two technical fouls.”

Eddie Fogler coached the Vanderbilt men’s basketball team from 1989-1993.

Billy McCaffrey’s 28 points paced the Commodores as all five starters scored in double-figures en route to a 102-89 victory. But it was the events of the following day that have cemented the game into Coach Fogler’s memory. The next morning, the Fogler family became a foursome when Robin Fogler gave birth to her son, Ben, at Vanderbilt Hospital. The family

moved to South Carolina later that year when Eddie accepted a job as the Gamecocks’ head coach—a position he would hold until leaving coaching in 2001 when Ben was eight years old. The latter move cleared the elder Fogler’s calendar, allowing him to be ready when it became clear that Ben was interested enough in golf to start playing the junior circuit in his home state. Having that opportunity for father-son bonding was a huge bonus for dad. “It’s given me a lot of time to spend with my son,” Eddie said. “He got very involved in South Carolina Junior Golf, which is a terrific junior golf organization. I got to learn how to be a golf dad and navigate tournaments and traveling, where to play and when to play. So Ben and I— and his mother, to some degree—we traveled. That was a lot of fun to do, and he and I spent some quality time together. He and I also rode home after he didn’t play very well, which is when a lot of lessons are learned when you play the game of golf.” Ben progressed in the junior ranks to play many Carolinas Golf Association and American Junior Golf Association events. He earned a total of seven Top-20 finishes in AJGA events, including a runner-up finish at the 2010 North & South Junior Championship. He caught the eye of a number of college golf coaches. In making his decision about where to attend college, Ben remembered all the good things his parents had said about their time at Vanderbilt. “Growing up, they always talked about how much they loved Nashville,” Ben said. “And academics have always been stressed by them as coming first. Vanderbilt is in the top handful of schools in the country and the combination of academics and athletics, that’s basically what sold it for me.” Ben was recruited by former Vanderbilt head coach Tom Shaw, but when Scott Limbaugh arrived to mentor the Commodore men’s golf team, he also realized the potential Fogler held. Limbaugh attributes many of Fogler’s best qualities to the example set forth by his father in athletics. “He has some certain attributes that you can tell (he’s a coach’s son),” Limbaugh said. “He


Ben Fogler was born at Vanderbilt Hospital. Now he’s most at home on the greens of the Vanderbilt Legends Club.

Sophomore Ben Fogler has recorded Vanderbilt’s low total score in four tournaments this season.

never backs down. He’s a pretty tough, resilient kid when he’s on the course—a tough competitor. I’m sure he gets a lot of that from his dad, and seeing how his dad was as a coach.” After ranking fifth on the team in scoring as a freshman, Ben has moved up to second on the squad and was the low Commodore in four events this season. At the Arkansas State University Fall Beach Classic, Ben’s third-place finish helped lead Vanderbilt to its second of three team championships on the season. Ben faced some adversity in the spring season when he was held out of the Jim West Intercollegiate in early April, another event captured by the Commodores. But instead of sulking, the sophomore responded by qualifying for the 2013 SEC Championship in Sea Island, Georgia. “Coach Limbaugh stresses to us to be resilient,” Ben said. “I’m a very competitive person and I want to play every tournament and hit every shot and be out there. When you don’t play for the first time in a while, you feel it, and you just want to get out there and prove yourself the next time.” Ben posted the Commodores’ low total at the event, but it was his Sunday round in harsh conditions that captured the biggest praise from his coach. Ben got off to a quick start with a birdie on the par-4 second hole, which he had bogeyed in each of the event’s first two rounds. With three holes to play, Ben was at even-par



“The Southeastern Conference is by far the toughest golf conference in the country. We had 12 teams ranked in the Top 35 this year. For him to finish 20th there, and be our low man there, was really big. The round he played, the final round of the SEC Championship, was a really, really good round.” — Head Men’s Golf Coach Scott Limbaugh this year. For him to finish 20th there, and be our low man there, was really big. The round he played, the final round of the SEC Championship, was a really, really good round.” With all of the accomplishments he is racking up on the course, Ben has never lost sight of his academic responsibilities. The economics major was Vanderbilt’s nominee for the SEC’s annual Scholar-Athlete of the Year award after he held the team’s highest GPA during the fall semester. “He’s really committed to being great in the classroom, and it’s really important to me that we do the right things in the classroom,”


on a day where the tournament scoring average had jumped two full strokes due, in part, to 30 mile-per-hour winds. A triple-bogey on the 16th hole threatened to derail Ben’s round, but he kept his composure to par 17 before stepping up on 18 to sink a 20-foot birdie putt. Limbaugh says that “never quit” attitude is a Fogler trademark, both on and off the course. “He showed it at the SEC Championship,” Limbaugh said. “The Southeastern Conference is by far the toughest golf conference in the country. We had 12 teams ranked in the Top 35

Limbaugh said. “Ben led our team in GPA in the fall, and that’s just as important to me as him leading our team in the SEC Tournament. That’s ultimately what we’re here for.” Ben’s academic record is solid enough that his parents refrain from questioning his progress in school. “His mom and dad, we’re awfully proud of what Ben’s done at Vanderbilt,” Eddie said. “He has done extremely well in the classroom. We don’t really ask him much more about his academics because we have full faith and confidence that his grades are going to be good.” And now that Ben has found a home at Vanderbilt, his parents also have stopped from trying to show him around the city where they used to live. “There was a little bit of that when we first came here, for the first visit or two,” Ben said. “But they were here 20 years ago. Now I feel like I know the area better than they do.” n

Fogler ranked in the Top 20 at the 2013 Southeastern Conference Tournament to help VU to a T-7 finish.


M AY 2 0 1 3


Support Vanderbilt at home and on the road with Grand Avenue.


Our fleet of buses and vans

and book your


accommodate groups of all sizes and ensure you never miss another away game. Start your tailgate party early

for these upcoming weekend


and leave the driving to us.



Corporate, special occasion and


at The University of Louisville

customized transportation.


341 miles round trip

Louisville, Ky.

B E D R I V E N. 5/3 5/4 5/5

at The University

5/10 5/11 5/12

at The University

of South Carolina

884 miles round trip

Columbia, S.C.

of Kentucky

426 miles round trip

Lexington, Ky.

The Ground Transportation Partner for Vanderbilt Athletics

GAT 083.13 | CN | 5/13

Corporate transportation • Airport transportation • Weddings & receptions • Member services Sporting events • Nights on the town • Concert service • Signature events & fundraisers Anniversaries & birthdays • Proms

Call us today at 615.714.5466 or toll-free at 866.455.2823 or visit G R A N D A V E N U E W O R L D W I D E . C O M C O M M O D O R E N AT I O N



Tennis sophomore Gonzales Austin holds dual citizenship in the U.S. and Haiti. He has played in two Davis Cup ties for his father’s homeland.


M AY 2 0 1 3

International experience important for AJ by Weston Pletcher


only help the young student-athlete who was part of the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class in 2011. “It’s a pressure-packed environment when you play for your country and there are a lot of people who depend on you,” Duvenhage explained. “That can only help you grow as a competitor. There is a lot of pressure in college tennis also. The more matches you get to play under extreme pressure, the better adapted you become to deal with that pressure.” Duvenhage has seen a great deal of development in a short amount of time by Austin. “A.J. is a much better tennis player now than he was a year ago,” Duvenhage said. “His return of serve has improved a lot, his first and second serve have improved. I hope he gets the chance to play some more Davis Cup matches in the future because I think that can add to his experience and help him grow as a player.” Austin missed a recent tie against Guatemala to stay in Nashville for Vanderbilt’s match against Kentucky. He would earn the first of four straight points for the Commodores in a 4-2 upset win over the eighthranked Wildcats. As Austin continues to develop, he looks forward to another chance to continue the progression of tennis in Haiti. “I’ll get to play again, so we’ll see,” Austin said. “I feel the same way about playing for Vanderbilt as playing for country.” n


onzales Austin is used to pressure. Playing an individual sport like tennis where one usually relies solely on himself, pressure is nothing new to the Miami native. Austin—who goes by “A.J.”—is a sophomore for the Vanderbilt men’s tennis team, but he has also played on a larger stage representing the country of Haiti in Davis Cup competition. Playing in a high-profile international tournament and taking on one of the toughest conferences in all of college tennis has presented Austin with pressure and challenges that he has faced head on. Austin’s father, Gonzales Sr., was born in Haiti, while his mother, Susan, is a native of the Philippines. Given the opportunity to represent either country in international play, Austin chose to gain citizenship in Haiti, since it had been his father who started him playing tennis. “I already knew a lot of Haitian tennis players, my old coach from Miami is Haitian,” Austin explained. “He actually turned out being the Davis Cup captain for Haiti. He helped get the whole citizenship process going. It’s cool to say I have dual citizenship.” The Davis Cup began in 1900 and is now the world’s largest annual international team competition with 130 nations competing in 2013. Haiti first joined the tournament in 1988. Austin is trying to help Haiti reach unchartered territory, especially in a country that has fallen on hard times and is not recognized as a tennis power. “They’ve always loved tennis (in Haiti) and a lot of talented players come out of there, but it’s been tough for anyone to get a name out there for international recognition,” Austin said. “When we moved up in group play to Group 2, which means the money is bigger and the stage is bigger, they really enjoyed it and everyone started coming out to watch.” Austin has competed in Davis Cup competition on two occasions that had very different outcomes. “The first time I played, which was two years ago, before I got to Vanderbilt, we were in Puerto Rico and I was really nervous and really out of shape,” Austin said. “I think I was already winded in the third game and it was three out of five sets. After I committed to Vanderbilt, I started taking it a little easier with tennis because I just wanted to enjoy my senior year. So, I put on a little weight and I lost some of my fitness and I was down there playing a grinder against a guy who was running everything down and was super fit. It was pretty embarrassing. My first run in the Davis Cup was really bad.” Austin would quickly redeem himself, recording the team’s lone point in the next round despite his lack of conditioning. Last summer was his second go-round in the prestigious event and he would have a much better outing, winning all five of his singles matches. His play during that summer helped transition him to a great fall at Vanderbilt and his current terrific spring season. Playing singles primarily in the No. 2 slot, Austin has helped the Commodores to a top 20 ranking and their best record in nearly 10 years. Vanderbilt earned a bid to host a regional for the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2003, and Austin was chosen to join junior Ryan Lipman at the NCAA Singles Championship. Vanderbilt Head Coach Ian Duvenhage, now in his eighth season leading the Commodores, knows that international experience can

Vanderbilt sophomore Gonzales Austin holds dual citizenship in the U.S. and Haiti. He has won six of seven singles matches representing Haiti in Davis Cup play.



Golfers Kendall Martindale (left, with Women’s Open Championship trophy) and Lauren Stratton (with Women’s Tennessee Amateur Trophy) pose with Vanderbilt Head Coach Greg Allen.

Women’s golfers conquer state of Tennessee by Andy Boggs

Commodores Lauren Stratton and Kendall Martindale have coupled collegiate success with victories in the Tennessee Women’s Amateur and Women’s Open.


urrent Vanderbilt golfers Kendall Martindale and Lauren Stratton are the leaders of the nationally-ranked Commodore women’s golf team, and both hail from the state of Tennessee. They also are members of an elite group that has claimed the state’s top two tournaments—the Tennessee Women’s Amateur Championship and the Golf Capital of Tennessee Women’s Open Championship—in the same summer. They are two of only three golfers to accomplish that “double,” joining former Commodore Sarah Jacobs (‘04), who raised both trophies prior to her senior season at Vanderbilt in 2003.


M AY 2 0 1 3

Martindale, a sophomore this year, won both tournaments as an incoming freshman in the summer of 2011, while Stratton, a senior in 201213, won the Open and the Amateur last summer. Ironically, Stratton beat Martindale, 1-up, in match play competition of the semifinal round of the 2012 Tennessee Amateur. “We don’t talk about it much,” said Stratton, who hails from Thompson Station. “We’ve played back and forth throughout the years, and we play so many tournaments. Certain ones mean more than others, yes, but it’s still a tournament, and it’s nice to get the W, no matter the tournament.”

Sarah Jacobs won both the Tennessee Open and Amateur championships in 2003.



Kendall Martindale, a dual champion in 2011, earned the team’s 2013 Peggy Harmon Brady Player of the Year award.

Creek Mountain Golf Club in Chattanooga in 2003. At the Tennessee Open at Greystone Golf Club in Dickson, Jacobs defeated Melanie Hagewood of Texas, after shooting a final-round 68. In the summer of 2011, Martindale won her second Tennessee Amateur after defeating Courtney Shelton of Franklin, 6 and 4, at the Blackthorn Club in Jonesborough. She also won in 2009 at the Memphis Country Club, defeating future LPGA player and Alabama All-American Brooke Pancake of Chattanooga, 3 and 2. At the 2011 Open in Crossville, Martindale defeated Pancake by two strokes at the Stonehenge Course at the Fairfield Community Club. Martindale’s victory in 2011 snapped a sevenyear run at the Tennessee Open of professional winners (included in that streak was 2004 champion Courtney Jacobs, a former ‘Dore).


Despite the modesty, both players have contributed to the Commodores’ dominance of the state of Tennessee in the women’s golf arena, and both have helped continue Vanderbilt’s inclusion in the national conversation about the country’s best collegiate golf programs. The Commodores are a major player on the national scene, having been ranked in the top 10 for most of the season, and successfully hosted the sport’s national championship in May of 2012, when the team finished 11th. In fact, the 2012 appearance by Vanderbilt at the Vanderbilt Legends Club was the program’s third consecutive in the national championship, a program first. The Commodores, who made their 14th consecutive appearance in the postseason this month, had two first-team All-Americans last season in Stratton and Marina Alex. A native of New Jersey, Alex graduated last May as one of the university’s most decorated athletes, garnering two first-team All-America accolades and earning SEC Player of the Year honors on two occasions. But much of the team’s success over the years can be attributed to the quality of golfer the Commodores’ have recruited from the state of Tennessee. Although there were a few players from the state of Tennessee prior to Jacobs’ arrival, the Nashville native helped put the Commodores on the map, especially in her home state, with her State Amateur and Open wins in 2003. Jacobs, who like Martindale and Commodore great Peggy Harmon Brady won the Tennessee Amateur twice, defeated Commodore teammate May Wood, 1-up, in the finals at the Black

“The odds of winning both are so small, so actually doing it is such a great accomplishment,” said Martindale, who is from Jefferson City. “I think I was one of the youngest to win the State Open, but I didn’t think I had a chance to win it, because it was the first time I had played over at Stonehenge. I was just going over there to have fun.” Stratton did the “double” in 2012, defeating Ashley Averitt, 4 and 2, in the 18-hole final of the Tennessee Amateur at Foxland Harbor Golf Course in Gallatin after beating Martindale in the semifinals. At the Open on the Stonehenge Course in Crossville, she defeated Mo Martin of California by one stroke. “The Amateur was the first time playing [that event], so that was kind of interesting,” said Stratton. “I love playing match play, because we don’t get to do it very often, so it’s always fun to see how the bracket plays out. With the State Open, I had just come off a big travel month, so to see a lot of local players that we used to play junior golf with growing up was good. It always puts you in a good mood to play against familiar faces.” Luckily for Vanderbilt, a good deal of those familiar faces end up as teammates, with the future looking bigger and brighter for the Commodore women’s golf team. When asked about Vanderbilt’s past successes in the state of Tennessee and the elite state of the current program, Stratton had a very simple explanation. “Good recruiting and keeping local kids close to home,” said Stratton. “You don’t see it happen too often, especially with golf. Being able to see talent at a younger age, even when we may have not seen it ourselves. It’s good for the program to be put on the map in some sense, especially in the state of Tennessee.” n

Lauren Stratton captured both tournament titles last summer.



SEC and ESPN announce new TV network



he Southeastern Conference and ESPN have signed a 20-year agreement through 2034 to create and operate a multiplatform network which will launch in August 2014, it was announced today by SEC Commissioner Mike Slive and ESPN President John Skipper. The new network and its accompanying digital platform will air SEC content 24/7, including more than 1,000 events in its first year. The network will televise approximately 45 SEC football games, more than 100 men’s basketball games, 60 women’s basketball games, 75 baseball games, and events from across the SEC’s 21 sports annually. Programming will also include studio shows, original content such as SEC Storied, spring football games, signing day and pro days coverage. Hundreds of additional live events from various sports will be offered exclusively on the digital platform. The network and its digital extensions will connect with each SEC institution and create opportunities for each school to produce and develop content. “The SEC Network will provide an unparalleled fan experience of top quality SEC content presented across the television network and its accompanying digital platforms,” stated Slive. “We will increase exposure of SEC athletics programs at all 14 member institutions, as we showcase the incredible student-athletes in our league. The agreement for a network streamlines and completes an overall media rights package that will continue the SEC’s leadership for the foreseeable future.” Each weekend throughout the season, the new network will air multiple top-tier matchups from the strongest conference in college football. Since 2006, the SEC has claimed seven consecutive football national championships. In 2011-12, SEC teams won eight national champi-

Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive discusses the new SEC Network.

onships: football (Alabama), men’s basketball (Kentucky), gymnastics (Alabama), men’s indoor track and field (Florida), women’s tennis (Florida), women’s golf (Alabama), men’s outdoor track and field (Florida), and softball (Alabama). Since 1990, the SEC has won 149 national team championships for an average of more than six per year. Skipper said, “The SEC is unmatched in its success on the field and its popularity with fans nationwide. The new network’s top-quality SEC matchups across a range of sports will serve all sports enthusiasts including the most passionate, die-hard SEC fans. Also, it will serve the needs of our multichannel distributors and advertisers by providing extremely attractive programming options across all platforms.” As part of the agreement, ESPN will now oversee the SEC’s official Corporate Sponsor Program. In addition, ESPN and the SEC also agreed to extend their existing media rights agreement through 2034. ESPN has televised

ESPN-SEC Announcement Press Conference included (left to right) ESPNU Host Dari Nowkhah, ESPN SVP Justin Connolly, SEC Commissioner Mike Slive and ESPN President John Skipper.


M AY 2 0 1 3

the SEC since 1982. ESPN’s existing networks present more than 1,600 hours of SEC action each year. The new network will focus exclusively on the SEC and add another outlet to deliver sports fans more SEC content than ever. AT&T U-verse® has been secured as the network’s first national distributor. AT&T U-verse is the fastest growing TV provider in the U.S. and their subscribers will have access to an unprecedented amount of SEC content across all platforms. Subscribers receiving the live linear network via a multichannel subscription will also have access to the network on PCs, tablets, smartphones and select gaming devices like Xbox. Additional games and coverage will be available through an authenticated digital offering. Fans looking to learn more about how to get the SEC Network can visit GetSECNetwork. com for more information. “We are pleased to be involved with the SEC and ESPN at the very beginning of this great alliance,” said Jeff Weber, President of Content and Advertising Sales, AT&T. “As the fastest growing and most advanced pay TV service, we want to bring our customers the highest value and most compelling product that we possibly can. Access to the SEC Network, across multiple platforms, will only increase the demand for U-verse.” ESPN’s Justin Connolly, formerly senior vice president, ESPN affiliate sales and marketing, will oversee the network’s day-to-day operations. The network will originate from ESPN’s Charlotte, N.C., offices with additional staff located at the company’s Bristol, Conn., headquarters. Staff announcements and additional details will be made in the coming months. n

SEC Network FAQ

3. Will each school have a block of time to program as they see fit?

1. How is this different than other conference or single-school networks?

This is a conference-wide network. The goal is to provide equitable exposure for each of the SEC member institutions. The network will achieve this goal without each school having its own block of time to program.

This collaboration between the SEC and ESPN will bring together unparalleled content from one of the most competitive conferences in the country with the highest quality, most innovative production partner in the sports industry. 2. What kind of shows will I see on the SEC Network? At the outset, the Network will offer SEC sports and sports-related studio programming 24 hours a day, seven days a week. More than 1,000 live events will be available in the first full year across the television network and its digital extensions. This will include approximately 45 football games, more than 100 men’s basketball games, 60 women’s basketball games and events from across all 21 SECsponsored sports.

4. How can I get the SEC Network in time for the August 2014 launch? An agreement is already in place with AT&T U-verse to distribute the network. ESPN is working hard to ensure that the network will be available via cable, satellite and telecom distributors (such as Comcast, Time Warner Cable, DirecTV, DISH Network, Cox and Verizon FiOS). Your cable, satellite, or telecom provider makes programming decisions based on customer requests. As a fan of the Southeastern Conference, please support the SEC Network by calling your cable, satellite or telecom provider and requesting the SEC Network.

5. What is the best way for fans and alumni who want to make sure their cable company carries the network? Please visit to show your interest in the network and provide some general contact information. 6. I live in [a state outside SEC footprint]. Are you working to make sure we are able to see the network too? Yes. Our interest is in delivering this content in broadly distributed packages across the country. 7. Will each campus (or the SEC Offices) have upgraded television facilities? Each campus is being assessed for its capabilities and level of content integration from each of the school campuses. We anticipate some level of connection and integration with each institution’s facilities so we can produce and deliver content in an efficient manner. n

A.D.’s Q&A on the SEC Network Commodore Nation: The SEC finally revealed that the “Project X” that has been in the making for several years is the SEC Network, a 20-year partnership with ESPN. In a general sense, what does this mean to Vanderbilt University and Vanderbilt Athletics? David Williams: It means two things. First of all, Vanderbilt will receive a lot more national exposure when considering the power and reach of the SEC Network along with older partners such as CBS, which will still have first choice of our football menu. There will be more games and a lot more stories that relate to Vanderbilt—even academically as well as athletically. Right now we don’t know details as the network isn’t due to launch until August, 2014, but we do know the league will have to fill a 24/7 time span so there will be a lot of inventory to produce. It also means that we could receive more revenue from the SEC if the network proves to be a success, which everyone associated with the planning process feels it will. CN: The conference has been very tightlipped about revenue from the Network, yet the media is very interested in project-

ing out potential income. Is there a danger some speculation will be inaccurate? Williams: I think all the early speculation is likely to be inaccurate. When we were in Atlanta for the announcement, the Commissioner was asked the question—and I can assure you that all the athletic directors were interested in the answer since we haven’t been appraised either! (Editor’s note: Commissioner Slive declined to answer.) I can look at our future bowl partners and speculate somewhat accurately on future revenue but this is hard to do with a network that relies on subscriptions. We expect to do very well in the 11-state Southeastern Conference footprint but a key might be how well we do in the other 39 states. John Skipper (ESPN president) emphasizes this will be a national network, not a regional one, and we have the vast expertise of his network to make that happen. CN: Will there be any adjustments that the SEC member institutions will have to make for the Network? Williams: All 14 of us become partners in filling the huge inventory of the SEC Network. In the past, we were often able to go out and sell certain inventory to others; now we are the inventory. This isn’t a surprise, we clearly knew

this going in, but there is a chance that a game that might have been scheduled for a weekend could be asked to be played mid-week. It was made clear, however, that SEC football “is a Saturday league,” and basketball already plays nearly every day of the week. CN: With the speculation of this huge contract bantered about, what do you say to the regular fan that has been making a gift to the National Commodore Club or supporting the team with the purchase of tickets? Williams: I’d say we will need our fans’ financial help more than ever now. We will be moving to a bigger risk. Before we could plan on a certain amount of income from the conference and, even then, all of us were strapped to keep pace. Now there is risk involved and we are all mindful that the conference must stay in a leadership position to keep the channel successful. We need to maintain a high level of competitive success. Also, does anyone think the other conferences are going to take this news lying down? Of course not, they will burn midnight oil to keep pace with us. So yes, for Vanderbilt and all other schools the core of our support will always be the faithful fan. n




M AY 2 0 1 3

Vanderbilt Head Coach James Franklin is congratulated by Dr. Bill Emendorfer, Executive Director of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, at halftime of the Black & Gold Spring Game last month.


Franklin named Tennessean of the Year


anderbilt Head Coach James Franklin received the 2013 Tennessean of the Year Award presented by the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame during a banquet on Saturday, May 4, at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel. The recognition for Franklin was revealed by Dr. Bill Emendorfer, Executive Director of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, during a surprise announcement as part of halftime ceremonies for the Black and Gold Spring Game held last month on campus. Franklin, 41, becomes the first Vanderbilt coach to receive the Tennessean of the Year Award. Franklin was honored by the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame after guiding the 2012 Com-

modores to a 9-4 campaign capped by a 38-24 victory over N.C. State in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl in Nashville. The 2012 squad matched a school record for single-season victories that dates to 1915. The team also ended with a seven-game win streak, which ranks as the longest active streak in the Southeastern Conference. Franklin was named as Vanderbilt’s head coach in December 2010. In two years, Franklin has guided the Commodores to a 15-11 overall record and consecutive postseason bowl appearances for the first time in the team’s 122year football history. The only other recipient with Vanderbilt ties is current U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander, the former Tennessee governor who ran track as a

Commodore undergraduate. The 2012 recipient was former University of Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt. The Hall of Fame’s premier honor is presented to an individual or organization that has made significant contributions to our state through sports or other methods, demonstrating outstanding character and leadership. Among the other honorees at the banquet were two former Commodore athletes, pitcher David Price and golfer Brandt Snedeker, who were named co-Male Professional Athletes of the Year. n



Vanderbilt’s 20-20-20 Vision Vanderbilt is one of two schools to find itself in three prestigious national polls: 20th Football Coaches’ Postseason Poll (USA Today)


M AY 2 0 1 3

19th 2013 Signing Class Rank (

17th University National Ranking (U.S. News & World Report*) * Vanderbilt and Notre Dame are tied for 17th in the publication’s annual “Best Colleges” edition

3X3 Three freshman have been featured on the mound for Head Coach Tim Corbin’s Commodores this season. Commodore Nation caught up with the trio for three quick questions about each one’s baseball upbringing. 1. Is there a professional pitcher that you look up to or have modeled your game after? STEVE GREEN

Tyler Ferguson

2. W  hat is your fondest memory in baseball prior to coming to Vanderbilt? 3. Do you have a favorite baseball movie?

Tyler Ferguson 6-3 RHP Fresno, Calif. 1. Justin Verlander 2. Traveling with my dad to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown and to watch games at Citizens Bank Park, Fenway Park, and the old Yankees Stadium. 3. Moneyball


Carson Fulmer 5-11 RHP Lakeland, Fla. Carson Fulmer

1. Justin Verlander 2. Playing for the 18U U.S. National Team and winning a gold medal during the 2011 COPABE Pan American Championships in Cartagena, Colombia. 3. The Rookie

Walker Buehler 6-1 RHP Lexington, Ky. 1. Zach Greinke 2. Advancing to the championship game of the 11th Region tournament as a sophomore at Henry Clay in 2010.

Walker Buehler


3. Moneyball




M AY 2 0 1 3

It’s My Turn By Rod Williamson


e were listening to a report which noted that we had established our high-water mark for baseball ticket income, which would normally be assumed given our dynamic team. However, having endured one of the South’s wettest and coolest springs in memory, that revelation raised eyebrows. Twenty-four games had precipitation or ominous skies at first pitch and nine home contests began with temperatures in the 30s. Whoever said Commodore fans are fair-weather? A busy box office is the result of several factors, not the least of which is a good product. And what a quality product it is! Not only have fans showed up in rain gear to enjoy it, the nation’s elite high school stars now dream of becoming Commodores and the media routinely gives us more attention than area competitors. Even Sports Illustrated and the New York Times have sent reporters to Hawkins Field recently. Baseball is spring’s highest profile success story but not our only one— not by a long shot. Our women’s tennis and golf teams have traditionally been very good—tennis reaching the NCAA Tournament for the 19th time this year and golf a top 10 program the past three years. However, we have added the men’s tennis and golf programs to the winning mix. Just one year ago both teams missed an invitation to their NCAA Tournaments and neither had really clicked in the past few seasons. This year, buoyed by the nation’s top-rated recruiting class two years ago, men’s tennis has been a top 20 team and was chosen to host the first round of the NCAA Tournament, an advantage bestowed on the best 16 teams. Men’s golf, under the direction of new head coach Scott Limbaugh, has transformed a sub-.500 team to one that is 70 wins over .500, won three tournaments and finished second in two others. Quite an impressive turnaround! When the dust settles soon, 75% of our varsity programs will have made NCAA post-season play. The overall program is almost unrecognizable to long-time fans who remember when it was the butt of jokes and supported it not for the limited excitement our teams produced but for what we stood for—integrity and the true student-athlete. Those core values still exist but we now enjoy so much more! Our football program enters the fall with the Southeastern Conference’s longest winning streak. That is no misprint. Women’s basketball, always a winner, has one of the nation’s top recruiting classes and men’s basketball recovered from a rocky start last season to thrill fans at the Southeastern Conference Tournament. Inside the corridors of McGugin Center, the push for excellence continues. Director of Athletics David Williams, the architect of this resurgence, refuses to allow anyone to bask in the warm glow of progress because there are bigger, hairier, more audacious goals around the corner. Few, if any, of these accomplishments would be possible without you, the National Commodore Club member, who steadfastly supports the ’Dores, rain or shine, with your gifts, your enthusiasm and your time. You are appreciated and we are thankful. n



My Game

Megan Gornet


fter four years with the Vanderbilt women’s tennis team, senior Megan Gornet is ready to face her next opponent: Johns Hopkins University. The St. Louis, Mo., native will begin medical school at the prestigious university in Baltimore next fall. She follows in the footsteps of both parents, who also attended JHU. Commodore Nation: Both your parents are doctors, did that influence your decision to choose medicine? Megan Gornet: I grew up getting to see the rewards and sacrifices of being a doctor. It’s definitely been something I’ve wanted to do, as a result of that. For myself, I also want to help people, but seeing my parents do it was a big factor. Nation: What kind of doctor do you want to be? Gornet: I have to try everything out in med school, but one of the things I’ve always talked about was being an orthopedic surgeon so that I could continue to work with athletes. Nation: When did you decide that this was the career you wanted to pursue? Gornet: My interest in science and all that kind of stuff started when I was little and wanted to be an entomologist, which is someone who studies bugs. That kind of gradually evolved into a love for biology and then eventually medicine. I had the opportunity to shadow a couple of doctors and that was when it really cemented it for me. Nation: What are you most looking forward to as a doctor? Gornet: One of the things that I’ve been able to see is how thankful people are of my parents. We’ll be out around town and people will come up to my parents and say, ‘thank you so much for what you did.’ After experiencing that with my parents, to change someone’s life is something I couldn’t pass up. Nation: What appeals to you about Johns Hopkins? Gornet: I was born there, which is something that is interesting. It’s kind of like my life is coming full circle. My parents met in med school and had me, so it’s kind of funny how it works out. Also, Johns Hopkins has a lot of tradition and I really value that. Nation: Do you watch any medical TV shows? Gornet: Not really any of the drama shows, but I like watching ‘Untold Stories of the ER’ and ‘Mystery Diagnosis.’


Those are my favorite doctor-related TV shows. I also watch ‘House’ sometimes. n


M AY 2 0 1 3

Commodore Nation, May 2013 The May 2013 issue of the Commodore Nation magazine, the official publication of Vanderbilt Student Athletics.

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you