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September 2013

SECONDARY SENIORITY Defensive backfield shares special bond

ALSO INSIDE: Carr’s journal from Tanzania Athletics to induct fifth HOF class Ticket office stories

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P.9 A Close Shave Allen supports colleague’s fight against cancer.

P.11 Tanzania A group of student-athletes and support staff spent 10 life-changing days in Africa this summer, distributing shoes to villages through Soles4Souls. Soccer’s Abby Carr wrote about the experience.

P.17 Greene’s Off Day Soccer coach explains weekly rituals for recharging.

P.2 Compliance Corner

P.12 Senior Secondary


‘Dore DBs have spent four years building trust.

National Commodore Club




Ticket office seeks your Vanderbilt Stadium stories.

Hall of Fame

Inside McGugin

Fifth HOF class includes seven VU greats.



It’s my turn

My game

Rod Williamson’s monthly column.

Distance runner Lily Williams.

The VU From Here



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Champions WEEKEND by the Numbers


April 12-14, 2013

A look at record-breaking numbers for Vanderbilt Athletics







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Black and Gold Weekend was filled with fun. Thank you to everyone who anchored down for football, baseball, lacrosse and women’s tennis. Thank you to everyone who joined us at our NCC tailgate, the select-a-seat event and the Kids Field Day. Thank you to everyone for supporting the Commodores.






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National Commodore Club sets all-time record for athletics annual giving in 2012-13 During the 2012-13 academic year, the National Commodore Club challenged Commodore fans to be game changers. Commodore Nation responded and broke the NCC annual giving record. The NCC raised an all-time high of $3.72 million in unrestricted annual gifts during fiscal year 2013. The $3.72 million is more than a 13 percent increase from 2011-12. The total from fiscal year 2012 was the first time the NCC surpassed $3 million since 1994. Unrestricted annual gifts to the NCC help Vanderbilt Athletics fund scholarships for 350 student-athletes and ultimately provide the resources they need to perform on the most competitive stages. “The unprecedented success of our student-athletes in the classroom and in competition over the past few years is directly related to our growth in support,” said David Williams, Vanderbilt University’s Vice Chancellor and Athletics Director. “The continued generosity of our donors, our alumni and our friends is an integral part of our winning game plan. On behalf of our student-athletes and coaches, I want to thank our supporters.” As financial support grows, the number of fans joining the NCC grows. The NCC welcomed 1,682 new members in 2012-13, 13, another all-time high. The 6,674 active NCC members are currently represented in 45 states and five countries. “In addition to our longtime supporters, I want to extend a special welcome to our new National Commodore Club members,” said Mark Carter, Associate Director of Athletics and Executive Director of the National Commodore Club. “Your financial support helps us provide the best for our student-athletes.” “The National Commodore Club truly has a national representation, and we want to spread the message that anyone can play a major role in our success no matter how far away from campus you live. We want to continue bringing fans on board.” Commodore fans can still be game changers. An unrestricted annual gift to the NCC in any amount helps Vanderbilt to offer competitive scholarships, recruit talented T student-athletes, and provide them with the education and environment to win. To join the NCC C or renew your membership, visit or call (615) 322-4114. THANK YOU GAME CHANGERS!


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By The Numbers

Inside McGugin

Notes from the athletic department



Vanderbilt football players honored on a total of 10 preseason watch lists from the National College Football Awards Association.

ormer All-America third baseman Pedro Alvarez earned his first MLB All-Star game invitation and was selected to take part in the 2013 Home Run Derby. The honor was made all the more special since Alvarez was able to represent the Pittsburgh Pirates in his hometown of New York. As of the All-Star break, Alvarez ranked second in the National League with 24 home runs. He hit six bombs during the Home Run Derby, including one blast measured at 461 feet.

Pittsburgh pirates/MLB

l Before they returned to Memorial Gym for last month’s Alumni Game, three former Commodores were showing off in the NBA Summer League. Jeffery Taylor ranked in the league’s top five in scoring, averaging 20.3 points for the Bobcats, while John Jenkins had an impressive 18.0 points per game for the Hawks. It was Lance Goulbourne, however, that took home some hardware. Goulbourne’s 6.9 points and 5.6 rebounds per game helped the Warriors claim the first-ever NBA Summer League Championship.


Pedro Alvarez

l Junior Hunter Stewart finished 54 holes at 14-under-par to claim the championship at the rain-shortened 14th Annual Players Amateur. With the victory, the Lexington, Ky., native earned a spot in next year’s RBC Heritage, a PGA Tour event that takes place at the Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head, S.C. Also this summer, Stewart tied for third at the Monroe Invitational and 45th at the Greystone Invitational. n

PGA Tour titles for VU alumnus Brandt Snedeker, whose victory at the RBC Canadian Open was his second win of the 2013 season.


Commodores on the 2012-13 SEC FirstYear Academic Honor Roll, led by eight student-athletes representing the soccer team.


career points for Ashley Earley, who returned to the women’s basketball program this summer as an assistant coach.


September events

Sept. 6 Hall of Fame Dinner Vanderbilt’s Department of Athletics will induct its fifth Hall of Fame class during festivities the weekend of the Austin Peay home football game, Sept. 6-7. The Hall of Fame Dinner, considered the premier event of the weekend, will be held in Vanderbilt’s Student Life Center Friday evening at 6 p.m.

Sept. 20

Sept. 22

Women’s golf hosts Mason Rudolph Championship A stellar field will return to the North Course at the Vanderbilt Legends Club when the women’s golf team plays host to the 2013 Mason Rudolph Championship. The three-day event tees off on Friday and is scheduled for 54 holes.

Men’s golf at Dick’s Sporting Goods Collegiate Challenge Cup The Nashville Sports Council and the Golf Club of Tennessee will play host to some of the premier golf programs from the SEC and ACC in the third week of September. The event concludes with Sunday’s third and final round.

Sept. 21 Soccer vs. LSU Head Coach Derek Greene’s squad opens Southeastern Conference play against LSU with a rare Saturday night game at the VU Soccer Complex.



Allen shows support for SEC colleague


ecently a photo of George H.W. Bush went viral after the 41st President shaved his head in support of the 2year-old son of a member of his security detail who lost his hair during treatment for leukemia. Earlier in the summer, a similar story had played out in the world of collegiate women’s golf when Vanderbilt women’s golf coach Greg Allen gave up his locks in a nod of solidarity to colleague Kim Evans, the head women’s golf coach at Auburn. Allen moved from coaching the men’s side with the University of Texas to become the Head Coach of the University of Arizona women’s golf team in 2000, and the Beechmont, Ky., native’s southern roots helped him quickly bond with Evans. Allen and Evans’ teams played at each other’s home events each season and became fast friends. When Allen moved to Vanderbilt in 2007, being Southeastern Conference rivals did nothing but strengthen his bond with Evans, whom he says is “like the big sister I never had.” “Especially within the coaching ranks in the sport of golf, we’re competitive, we want to beat each other, but at the end of the day we’re pretty good friends,” Allen said. “She’s one of those coaches and one of those people that you just enjoy their company and enjoy being around them. I’d do anything for that lady.” When Evans was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in early May prior to the NCAA Championships, Allen vowed to shave his head if Evans’

chemotherapy regimen took hers. By early July the treatments had done just that, and Allen scheduled a detour through the Plains during a drive to Atlanta for a recruiting trip to make good on his vow. Allen spent a few hours with Evans at her home before the Tigers’ mentor, in her 20th year at Auburn, did the honors with electric clippers. Allen’s gesture of friendship illustrated just how close the coaching community often grows, in spite of—and partially because of— the profession’s dog-eat-dog nature. Other coaches have joined Allen in standing with Evans. Georgia coach Josh Brewer, Alabama coach Mic Potter, Duke coach Dan Brooks and even former UGA mentor Kelley Hester have all sacrificed their hair for the cause. At a recent junior event that brought together college coaches from across the country, many more showed their support by donning knee-high socks; penguins were featured prominently all the way up Allen’s calves. Social media has been a catalyst in the effort, with a group on Facebook updating Evans’ progress and encouraging golfers to wear argyle socks during competition as their sign of support. When the Tigers travel to Nashville this month for the 2013 Mason Rudolph Championship at the Vanderbilt Legends Club in Franklin, its unlikely that Evans’ treatment will allow her to travel with her squad (Evans named Andrew Pratt her associate head coach in June). But its clear that Evans will be on top of everyone’s

minds—and visible on the top of many folks’ bald heads—throughout the weekend. Victory in Arizona: During Greg Allen’s time as the head women’s golf coach at the University of Arizona, the athletic department’s Senior Woman Administrator, Kathleen “Rocky” LaRose, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Allen and a number of other Wildcat employees all shaved their heads in support of LaRose. More than a decade later, LaRose is planning to retire from the UA athletic department this fall. n

New Golf Facility A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the recently completed clubhouse and instruction facility at the Vanderbilt Legends Club has been scheduled for late September.



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Twenty-five Vanderbilt student-athletes and staff went on a service trip to Tanzania this summer through Soles4Souls. The group visited orphanages across the country and gave shoes to those in need.


Athletes take service trip to Tanzania Abby Carr was one of 20 student-athletes selected to travel to Africa this summer as Vanderbilt athletics paired with Soles4Souls to distribute shoes in Tanzania. A rising senior on the Vanderbilt women’s soccer team, Carr wrote about her experience for Commodore Nation.


n sports terms, our trip to Kigoma, Tanzania was one giant head-fake. You see, we thought we were going there to give shoes to those less fortunate. Instead, we received more than we had imagined or gone to give. We learned the value of a simple act of kindness, seemingly small to us, but for those who received it, insurmountably significant. We saw a kind of love that has no limitations. And lastly, our lives have been forever changed, as we now understand that because of our many blessings, we have a duty to care for, and more importantly love, those less fortunate. In typical athletic fashion, everyone was excited to hit the ground running when we arrived and luckily, the process of handing out shoes was relatively simple. There were four jobs: foot sizers, foot washers, shoe sorters and shoe givers, and we all spent time doing each of them at our multiple distributions. It is painstakingly difficult to put the experience into words, because I feel as if no words can do it justice. However, I did my best to journal while there, and here is a small taste: The first distribution we did was a profound experience. On that day I had the job of sizer, which meant that after someone put their foot

on the mat in front of me, I would measure the size of their foot and write that number on their hand. The first person to come up to me was a little girl, about five years old. She placed her toes on the mat but kept her heel in the air. I went to push her heel down and quickly realized it would never lie flat. Her foot was deformed so that only the ball of her right foot touched the ground. Her ankle was distorted and it was evident she would never be able to walk regularly. That was the moment I realized the weight of what we were doing—it was about much more than giving a pair of shoes. The second head-fake of the trip: it was not just about giving shoes, but also giving love. The bedroom wall in an orphanage there said it best: “Those who love each other fully, truly are the happiest people in the world. They may have little, they may have nothing, but they are happy people. God bless them.” This is why it was equally as important that wherever we went, we not only gave shoes, but also spent time interacting with those who were receiving them. Being a soccer player, I always sought out the group that was kicking something, whether it was a true soccer ball, a ball made of fabric, or anything plastic. Usually we would stand in a circle and kick the “ball”

back and forth; on two lucky occasions, we even started a pick-up game. I would be remiss not to mention how loving they all seemed when I was kicked in the shin, no holding back at all! When we arrived, they did not see just the shoes we brought; they saw that we loved and cared for them. And in them, we did not see hopeless children but rather a loving children of God who just needed some shoes. And now for the third, and perhaps most important head-fake of the trip: because we have seen first-hand how truly blessed we are, we now have a duty to help those less fortunate. Two of the most humbling moments of my life occurred in Kigoma. The first was when an orphanage and school director showed us their library: eight books on a shelf in a tiny room, but to them it was a library. The second occurred while we were eating lunch one day. Some of us had befriended several of the local village children, who then insisted on us meeting their grandmother. Through our guide, we learned that the home she lives in with her five grandkids cost 5,000 shillings a month—about $3. It is facts like these that break my heart and prompt me to wonder if enough is being done. There is so much need across the world, and even right here at home. Now, thanks to Vanderbilt athletics giving me this experience, I am determined to continue sharing love with those around me, particularly those less fortunate. Whether that is putting shoes on someone’s feet or simply just being there to listen to them talk, I am not sure. I may not be always know the next best thing to do, but I will always find the next loving thing to do. n



Secondary thrives on communication, competition, camaraderie by Chris Weinman


ast season, during Vanderbilt’s first nine-win campaign since 1915, the Commodores ranked sixth in the nation in pass efficiency defense. Opponents completed less than 54 percent of their passes as Vanderbilt was one of only four schools to allow fewer than 10 passing touchdowns for the entire 2012 season. With three of four starters returning to a secondary anchored by senior leaders, no one is expecting a drop-off from the Commodore defense this season. Senior cornerback Andre Hal, who has been named to the preseason watch lists for the Bednarik, Thorpe and Maxwell Awards, appreciates the years his position group has invested in the program because of the advantage that gives them in communicating on the field. “We have four seniors in the back, with me, Kenny [Ladler], Steven [Clarke] and Javon [Marshall],” Hal said. “We’ve all played since freshman year. We’ve had a lot of experience, a lot of playing time. We don’t huddle up, we get our plays from the sideline, so we have to have good communication. I think that’s why we’ve been so good.”



Clarke, who came on strong at the end of the 2012 season before making a season-high five tackles in Vanderbilt’s Music City Bowl victory over North Carolina State, is looking to fill the opposite corner position vacated by the graduation of two-year starter Trey Wilson. Clarke knows that the experience he and his classmates have built together allows each person to be confident his teammates will be filling their assignments. He especially counts on safeties Ladler and Marshall to have his back in coverage. “They’re going to be where they’re supposed to be,” Clarke said. “That’s why we’re so aggressive at corner. We’re allowed to jump stuff because the safeties are going to be there.” Those tenets of communication and trust are the backbones of defensive coordinator Bob Shoop’s system. The third-year mentor, who also coaches the safeties during individual drills, has been able to put more responsibility on his players as they have grown into leadership roles on his defense. “Coach Shoop is probably one of the best defensive coaches in the country right now,” Hal said. “He puts us in great positions and he

really trusts us. We’ll be in the middle of the open-field, and he’ll call zero blitz because he trusts us. I like that.” That trust from coach to player has permeated all aspects of the secondary. The group’s most experienced member, Stone Mountain, Ga., native Kenny Ladler has started 26 games at safety for Vanderbilt. “I have no doubt in my mind about those guys out on the field with me,” Ladler said. “We’ve been together. We’ve experienced good and bad together. We all know what to expect from each other and how to operate out there with each other.” Competition has always had an important place for this group. Playing together for the last three years, all of the senior members of the Commodore secondary feel like they have made each other better. Although linebacker Karl Butler is technically no longer a member of the Commodores’ secondary, the New Orleans, La., native began his Commodore career as a defensive back. Butler was recruited as a cornerback but has changed positions a number of times as coaches looked for ways to keep him on the field. Butler and


“We’re a complete unit. All of us can run, cover and tackle. I feel like this is going to be a great year for all of us.”

Senior Kenny Ladler has started 26 games in the Vanderbilt secondary.

Ladler have worked together since they were both looking for time at the same position. “When we first got here, he played free safety like me,” Ladler said of Butler. “Even though I was starting, he was right behind me, and he was pushing me from my freshman year. Ever since, we were like iron sharpening iron.” Injuries in Vanderbilt’s linebacking corps precipitated Butler’s latest move, and Ladler was happy to see his friend excel in a new role that meant both could be on the field at the same time. “He started making plays in practice and on special teams,” Ladler said. “Coach Shoop would bring him in on third downs and have his package for him, and all of a sudden they moved him to linebacker and he’s starting now. He’s been doing well ever since he got his opportunity to play full-time.” At cornerback, Hal and Clarke have competed for playing time since they were freshmen in 2010, and even when Hal earned the starting spot last year, he still felt his classmate hot on his heels. “Since freshman year, me and Steve competed for playing time,” Hal said. “It’s a nice competition. We just go hard, and I feel like we need that. We need competition to excel.” Clarke feeds off the back-and-forth with his preseason All-SEC teammate. “Andre, one of his strongest points is that he’s a real good competitor,” Clarke said. “No

matter who it is, he’s going to go out and try to Just as each player has his own assignment beat them every single time. We’re a complete to fill on the field, the teammates recognize unit. All of us can run, cover and tackle. I feel that they have certain roles to play off the field. like this is going to be a great year for all of us.” Clarke sees himself as the group’s comic relief, Competitive motivation has come not only and identifies Marshall, the lone redshirt-senior, from within the members of this year’s senior as the unit’s motivator. class, but also from previous players who have “He still jokes around, but he’s more serious since moved on to the professional ranks. Casey than anybody,” Clarke said. “He motivates us. Hayward and Sean Richardson started on the He basically plays the father role in our sec2011 Vanderbilt squad that earned a berth in ondary. He knows how to keep us going, keep the Autozone Liberty Bowl. Both former Commotivating us. I feel like that’s his role and we modores played for the Green Bay Packers a all appreciate what he means to this team.” season ago, with Hayward finishing third in the Anyone who has seen the All-Access videos NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year voting. on Vanderbilt’s YouTube page can attest to Seeing the example set by former teammates, Marshall’s ability to motivate. As he prepares and the success that it has led to, has current for his final season wearing the black and gold, players with professional aspirations keeping Marshall is excited to go out with the same their proverbial noses to the grindstone. men he’s grown with over the past four years. “It does make you more hungry,” Hal said. “It’s been a long journey, but a great jour“You see him playing in the NFL, having success. ney,” Marshall said. “We had some adversity in He was just here with us. We saw the work he the beginning, but it’s the same guys and we put in—watching film, how hard he practiced. stuck together. No matter what the outside It makes you want to do the same thing.” world said about us, we stuck together and we The defensive backs can also look across the kept working. Now this is the final result. We’re line of scrimmage to see another group workabout to put together something special that ing hard toward its goals. Every day in practice, the whole world can see. Really we’re gonna they line up against one of the most feared releave our legacy and make history.” n ceiving corps in the country. Senior Jordan Matthews and redshirtjunior Chris Boyd put together an offensive fireworks display a year ago, combining for 144 catches, 2,097 yards and 13 touchdowns. Add to their numbers a dangerous slot receiver in senior Jonathan Krause, and practices between the receivers and defensive backs are something to watch. “They say they get to go against the best secondary, and I feel we get to go against the best wide receiver corps,” Marshall said. “Those guys are so smart and they put in so much work. We’re going to get that competition from them every practice.” “We don’t see too much like those guys every week,” Clarke added. “In practice, it’s difficult, but we accept the challenge every day. We see some of the best competition day in and day out, so when Andre Hal made two interceptions against Tennessee last year. game time comes it’s not as hard as covering those guys.”



Billy Joe Adcock Basketball 1946-50

Hall of Fame

Vanderbilt’s Department of Athletics will induct its fifth Hall of Fame class during festivities the weekend of the Austin Peay home football game, Sept. 6-7. Considered the premier event of the weekend, the Hall of Fame Dinner—which will be held in Vanderbilt’s Student Life Center Friday evening at 6 p.m.—typically attracts a capacity crowd.

When Vanderbilt made the decision in the mid-1940s to put more resources into its basketball program, Bob Polk was hired as head coach and his first move was to offer West End High School star Billy Joe Adcock a scholarship. The rest is history, as Adcock became the school’s first basketball All-American (1950). He was named to the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Metro Nashville Public Schools Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.

Jamie Duncan Football 1994-97

Josie Earnest Bowling 2007-10

Dr. Brant Lipscomb Team Medical Consultant 1948-90

Jamie Duncan was a high school football star in Wilmington, Del., recruited by many powerful programs. His family’s focus upon education, however, attracted him to Vanderbilt, where he became an impact player almost immediately. He was a central figure in Vanderbilt’s outstanding defensive units of the mid-1990s, and while his academic journey was not always as smooth, he kept his promise to his mother to earn a Vanderbilt degree.

Josie Earnest was the No. 1 recruit in the United States as a high school senior in Vandalia, Ill. Her decision to be part of a young Vanderbilt bowling program surprised some, but it has paid dividends ever since. Her enrollment was a catalyst that led other bowling stars to choose Vanderbilt. Earnest became the most-honored female student-athlete in school history and the only Commodore to be voted her sport’s national Player of the Year twice.

Dr. Brant Lipscomb was a two-sport star at Vanderbilt prior to World War II, but it was his pioneering work and leadership in the field of sports medicine that paved his way into the school’s Hall of Fame. “Pinky” Lipscomb was widely regarded as one of the nation’s best orthopedic surgeons of his era, with patients coming from all corners of the United States to seek his counsel and gifted surgeon’s touch.

Jess Roguski Onheiser Lacrosse 2001-04

Carolyn Peck Basketball 1984-88

Jeremy Sowers Baseball 2002-04

Jess Roguski Onheiser is regarded as one of the finest players in the history of Vanderbilt’s lacrosse program. The two-time team captain led the ‘Dores to their first two appearances in the NCAA Tournament. Roguski ranks in the school’s all-time Top 10 in goals, points, caused turnovers and draw controls, but is best known as the backbone of a 2004 squad that became the first team outside the eastern time zone to reach the NCAA semifinals.

Carolyn Peck came to Vanderbilt from Jefferson City, Tenn., as a Parade All-American and one of the nation’s top recruits. She didn’t disappoint, becoming a team leader, key performer and the program’s first All-America candidate. During her time, the Lady ‘Dores won the 1984 WNIT and earned the school’s first NCAA Tournament berth. Peck graduated as the school’s No. 6 career scorer and would go on to coach Purdue to the 1999 NCAA championship.

Jeremy Sowers was a Kentucky high school baseball phenom recruited by Roy Mewbourne before becoming the first ace of the Tim Corbin era. Sowers could have turned pro out of high school as the 20th overall selection by the Reds, but was attracted to VU’s combination of high academics and quality SEC opposition. The left-hander was instrumental in the team’s surprising 2004 NCAA Regional Championship and first-ever Super Regional berth.

2013 Vanderbilt Athletic Hall of Fame Induction Dinner Student Life Center on Vanderbilt campus Friday, Sept. 6 at 6 p.m. CT



Duncan part of athletics’ fifth Hall of Fame class by Chris Weinman

Duncan earned All-America honors in 1997.



ipping through opposing offenses in the mid-1990s, Jamie Duncan was rarely seen with a smile on his face. The intimidating linebacker likely was too busy knocking smiles off the faces of numerous Southeastern Conference running backs on his way to making 425 career tackles in his Commodore career. But nine years removed from his final down of professional football—following a seven-year career that included stints with Tampa Bay, St. Louis and Atlanta—Duncan’s smile lit up the room recently when the 1998 Vanderbilt graduate was announced as one of seven members that will be inducted into the Vanderbilt Athletics Hall of Fame this month. Duncan’s latest professional venture away from the gridiron is helping to bring similar smiles to many underprivileged youth across America. A two-time Gatorade Circle of Champions Player of the Year in the state of Delaware, Duncan came to Vanderbilt to play for Head Coach Gerry DiNardo in 1993. After redshirting in his true freshman season, Duncan combined for 26 tackles in his first two games donning the black and gold. Duncan led the Commodores in tackles during his sophomore and junior campaigns under head coach Rod Dowhower and defensive coordinator Woody Widenhofer. Duncan’s total of 152 combined tackles in 1996 has only been surpassed once in the past 20 years (Hunter Hillenmeyer had 168 stops in 2002). Widenhofer would become Duncan’s third head coach in five years prior to the 1997 campaign that saw Duncan earn first-team All-America recognition from Walter Camp, the NFL Draft Report and The Sports Network.

Jamie Duncan attended the announcement of Vanderbilt’s fifth Hall of Fame class in July.

Just a month after being selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the third round of the 1998 NFL Draft Duncan received his Vanderbilt degree in human and organizational development, on the leadership track. Both moments in time have had a great deal to do with the man Duncan has become in the past 15 years. Even before finishing his playing career with the Atlanta Falcons in 2004, Duncan had set himself up succeed in the business world. Establishing his home in Tampa, Duncan has helped spark a number of profitable businesses. He partners with fellow Vanderbilt and NFL alumnus Corey Chavous in real estate investments across the country, owns a hair studio in Delaware and is the co-owner of a restaurant and bar in Daytona Beach, Fla. But oftentimes those businesses were simply monetary investments for Duncan, who continued to look for something more meaningful in which to invest his talents. “I’d dabbled in different things—I had a salon, I had a bar, different real estate ventures—but nothing that really caught my attention,” Duncan said. “It was all to earn a living, but nothing I really was passionate about.” That’s when another former teammate— Ronnie Gordon, who graduated ahead of Duncan—came into the picture. Gordon’s wife, Dr. Angela Gordon, has a successful dental practice 40 minutes south of Chicago, and the family was looking to broaden the reach of its GDA 4 KIDS mobile dental program, which provides on-site dental care to rural and low-income children. Gordon originally brought Duncan

on as a possible investor, but the latter was so impressed with the company’s practices that he soon realized he wanted a deeper involvement with the program’s meaningful work. “I didn’t think this would be that something until I actually started doing it, started interacting with the kids and seeing the impact that we make,” Duncan said. “That’s the fun part, to see that you can actually change people’s lives in a positive way.” Duncan has helped the Gordon’s expand their Illinois-based operation across the country, reaching as far as Los Angeles, Houston, Birmingham and Baltimore. He estimates that the group helped treat over 15,000 young people last year alone, and believes that number will continue to rise. Duncan’s Hall of Fame recognition is not the first time that Vanderbilt Athletics has lauded the two-time All-SEC linebacker since his graduation. He was the grand marshal of the school’s homecoming parade in 2004 and traveled to Atlanta as the Commodores’ SEC Great in 2009. Still, becoming one of an elite group of only 40 former Vanderbilt greats was a humbling moment for Duncan, and he smiled widely when remembering the phone call that informed him of this latest honor. “Being the fifth class inducted, and one of the few modern day football players… that alone was like, ‘whoa,’” Duncan said. “I’m not sure if I’m worthy. We’ve had some pretty good players, so I can’t say enough that they would think so highly of me.” n



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My Day Off: Soccer Head Coach Derek Greene Playing games on Friday and Sunday doesn’t lend well to taking time off over weekends, so during soccer season Head Coach Derek Greene tries to find his brief respite on Monday afternoons. Greene enjoys spending time with his wife Gail and sons Max and Miller at their home in the historic Inglewood neighborhood of Nashville. On using Monday as recovery: Your adrenaline is so high on Sunday because we’re in here at 8:30 in the morning getting ready for the game, you just have this crash and you really want to go to bed at like 7 o’clock Sunday night, but you can’t. Then on Monday morning I’m typically up by 6:30 with the kids. Hopefully we’ve slept through the night. (That didn’t happen last year during the fall.) The first thing I do in the morning is chase myself to the coffee maker. On how having kids has changed his taste in coffee: Prior to the kids, I was always buying whole bean Starbucks coffee. We would grind it at the house every night and put it in the maker. But now, I don’t want to grind it at night, because the last thing I want to do is disturb a sleeping kid. And I don’t want to grind it in the morning. So we’ve gone to Folgers Gourmet Coffee Roast. But I always make sure to put in like five extra scoops to make it strong enough. On his Monday morning routine: Typically we’ll go out on the deck if the weather is nice and our kids will play. This fall, Miller is crawling around and Max is playing with all kinds of cool toys. We will sit out there and play a while , then I’ll head into the office about 7:45 because I sit on the regional ranking committee and we have a 9 a.m. conference call every Monday. On the regional rankings conference call: I have to come in by about 8:15 and make sure I’ve looked at the results of all the teams I have to track in our region for that call, which consists of about five to six college coaches from the southeast. Brian Lee from LSU is the head of the committee, so he conducts the call and we all are tracking teams and giving our input, trying to formulate a Top 10 out of the roughly 40 teams in our region. On leaving work for the day: I make myself leave by 12:30. I have to drop stuff on my desk and try to step away and go be with my family. Inevitably on the way home the phone rings. It seems like I’m on the phone every day on the way to work and on the way home.

On afternoon play time with his children: We’re superheroes every day. One day [Max] might tell me to be Superman, the next day I’m Spiderman. Or I’m Batman and he’s Robin. So we run around and play superheroes, and Miller crawls all over the place basically chasing us around on his hands and knees. Max’s third birthday is going to be superhero-themed. We have a bunch of extra costumes for the kids. He wants to be Captain America. That, Spiderman and Superman are his go-to’s. On finding himself in a quiet house at nap time: The boys go down at maybe 3 for a nap, which allows Gail time to get some things accomplished where I can be of help to her. If the boys are napping for two hours and Gail’s gone, I’ll probably watch game film. We don’t have shows we watch regularly. I enjoyed the show “Touch” with Kiefer Sutherland, but now the only shows we watch are the kids’ shows. On the family’s love of outdoor time: If the weather is good I like to grill out. We like to do good family walks around the neighborhood. We’ll push around Brush Hill all the way through September and October if the weather is good. We love to go on family walks through the neighborhood. On capping off a relaxing Monday night: Right now Max is really into the Incredibles. Monday evening—any night right now, for that matter—is not complete without hanging out on the couch and having a chance to watch a little bit of Toy Story or the Incredibles. Pop it in for 30 minutes, wherever it starts. n



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THE VU From Here Danny Smith has seen more than 40 years of Vanderbilt football from his perch above the 50-yard line in Section S. Back in 1972, Smith was given a pair of season tickets by a Commodore football player he had mentored, and Smith has chosen to renew those tickets each year since. Smith spent the majority of his working life teaching in the Franklin County school system. In the 1960s, he taught and coached football at Clark Memorial School—fielding a team from the grades 3-8 school against junior high competition—and would eventually become the school’s principal of 20 years before serving 14 more years as a county supervisor. At Clark Memorial, Smith coached two-thirds of a local trio of brothers. Robert and Johnny O’Neal both played for Smith, while eldest brother Greg missed overlapping with his

siblings’ mentor by just one year. Middle son Robert was still a student-athlete at Vanderbilt, he gave the two tickets to Smith. And while Smith has since retired from his work in the school system, he continues to renew those season tickets year after year. He and his wife Jane rarely miss a home game and follow the Commodores on the road at every opportunity. Greg (’72), Robert (‘74) and Johnny (‘77) all played football for the Commodores and earned degrees from Vanderbilt. Seeing local boys that he taught matriculate through Vanderbilt and play on Dudley Field was a great experience for Smith. Asked about his favorite game in all his years in Section S, Smith took a moment to ponder many wonderful moments before citing the 1981 season opener against Maryland. “The first game when they’d remodeled the stadium,” Smith said. “It was sold out, but a lot of people left. One of my good friends left, figuring he wasn’t going to do any good, I guess. And of course we came back and beat Maryland in the inaugural game. That was probably one of the best.” He was quick to add: “And, of course, last year, the Tennessee game.”

While Smith enjoys traveling to away games with his wife, the couple is most comfortable at Vanderbilt Stadium. Through the years Smith has had the opportunity to improve his seats, and he really likes his current setup. “My left foot is on the 50-yard line,” Smith said. “It’s an aisle seat, and that aisle is on the 50. You can’t beat that.” We Want Your Ticket Stories The ticket office has long been a place to hear some of the best examples of the love affair between Vanderbilt fans and their seats for Vanderbilt games. Whether you met your spouse in the student section, shared popcorn with your grandfather from the very top row of the endzone in Section L or truly believe that row 25 in your section was made for you and 24 other friends, we want to hear your point of VU (pronounced “view”) of Commodore Football. In 150 words or less, send in your stories to We will select some of our favorites to share with other Commodore fans. If your “VU From Here” story is selected, we will give you two tickets to a home game this season, in the hope that you will pay them forward to attract new fans to Vanderbilt Stadium. n



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Upcoming Events Men’s Golf Schedule

Football Schedule

Sept. 7-8 Sept. 20-22

Carmel Cup SEC/ACC Challenge

Pebble Beach, Calif. The Golf Club of Tennessee

Oct. 7-8

Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate

Birmingham, Ala.

Oct. 20-22 Isleworth Collegiate Invitational Nov. 4-5 North Florida Invitational Feb. 15-16 Gator Invitational March 2-4 Querencia Cabo Collegiate March 16-17 Talis Park Challenge April 4-6 Mason Rudolph Championship April 14-15 Bancorp South Intercollegiate April 25-27 SEC Championship

Orlando, Fla. Jacksonville, Fla. Gainesville, Fla. Los Cabos, Mexico Naples, Fla. Vanderbilt Legends Club Jackson, Miss. Sea Island, Ga.

Dale McNamara Fall Preview Mason Rudolph Championship Ruth’s Chris Tar Heel Invitational Stanford Intercollegiate Central District Invitational Darius Rucker Intercollegiate

March 14-16 Insperity Lady Jaguar Intercollegiate March 29-31 Ping ASU Invitational April 18-20 SEC Championship

Tulsa, Okla. Vanderbilt Legends Club Chapel Hill, N.C. Palo Alto, Calif. Bradenton, Fla. Hilton Head, S.C. Augusta, Ga. Tempe, Ariz. Birmingham, Ala.

Cross Country Schedule Aug. 30 Sept. 14 Sept. 28 Oct. 5 Oct. 18

Belmont Opener Commodore Classic Roy Griak Invitational (W) Greater Louisville Classic Crimson Classic

Oct. 19 Wisconsin adidas Invitational (W) Nov. 1 SEC Championships Nov. 15 NCAA South Regional Nov. 23 NCAA Championships

Ole Miss * Austin Peay at South Carolina * at Massachusetts UAB Missouri * Georgia * at Texas A&M * at Florida * Kentucky * at Tennessee * Wake Forest

Nashville Nashville Columbia, S.C. Foxborough, Mass. Nashville Nashville Nashville College Station, Texas Gainesville, Fla. Nashville Knoxville Nashville

Women’s Soccer Schedule

Women’s Golf Schedule Sept. 9-11 Sept. 20-22 Oct. 11-13 Oct. 26-28 Feb. 17-18 March 7-9

Aug. 29 Sept. 7 Sept. 14 Sept. 21 Sept. 28 Oct. 5 Oct. 19 Oct. 26 Nov. 9 Nov. 16 Nov. 23 Nov. 30

Nashville Nashville Minneapolis, Minn. Louisville, Ky. Tuscaloosa, Ala. Madison, Wis. Gainesville, Fla. Tuscaloosa, Ala. Terre Haute, Ind.

Aug. 23 Aug. 25 Aug. 30 Sept. 1 Sept. 6 Sept. 8 Sept. 13 Sept. 15 Sept. 21 Sept. 27 Sept. 29 Oct. 4 Oct. 6 Oct. 11 Oct. 18 Oct. 20 Oct. 25 Oct. 27 Oct. 31 Nov. 4-10

UAB Oklahoma State at Memphis Rice at Wisconsin vs. Milwaukee at Samford Georgia State LSU * at Alabama * at Texas A&M * Missouri * Kentucky * at Ole Miss * Arkansas * Mississippi State * at South Carolina * at Auburn * Tennessee * SEC Tournament

Nashville Nashville Memphis Nashville Madison, Wis. Madison, Wis. Homewood, Ala. Nashville Nashville Tuscaloosa, Ala. College Station, Texas Nashville Nashville Oxford, Miss. Nashville Nashville Columbia, S.C. Auburn, Ala. Nashville Orange Beach, Ala.

A new and improved was launched this summer, and the user-friendly web site provides a cleaner look while emphasizing photography, video and more.



We reached into the vault to find these classic photos....

25 YEARS AGO: In 1988, Boo Mitchell (No. 6) put together a run of five straight games with more than 100 receiving yards. Mitchell’s 2,964 career receiving yards are the most in Commodore history, though current senior Jordan Matthews needs just 675 receiving yards to pass Mitchell. In the picture above, Mitchell and teammates celebrate during an October 1988 home game. (Notice current radio color commentator John Gromos, No. 15, far left.)

20 YEARS AGO: Alan Young’s 12.0-sack season of 1993 still ranks as Vanderbilt’s best singleseason performance.



30 YEARS AGO: In the three decades since the Commodores played host to Memphis State for Homecoming 1983, both the Vanderbilt campus and the Nashville skyline have seen dramatic changes.

It’s My Turn By Rod Williamson


omething wonderful happens at the start of a new school year. Old acquaintances are rekindled, self-improvement resolutions have not yet been broken and the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer have been replaced with an upbeat focus on the tasks ahead. Optimism fills the fresh air. In the sports world, coaches are “cautiously optimistic,” and rightfully so, about their team’s chances. New uniforms arrive and are fitted. Weekend retreats for team-building are planned as esprit de corps runs high. “Anchor Down” is a trending phrase. We become mentally and physically prepared for the rigors ahead. I’ve watched these fresh starts for decades—akin to seeing the swallows of Capistrano—and I am fascinated by it all. Yet, I have to admit that amidst the energy, I can be susceptible to moments of doubt— times when I allow one or two things that have not gone so terrific to overrun a laundry list of positives. I hate it when that happens and I’m trying hard to quit.

…So things can go haywire from time to time; there are very few perfect days. It’s how we react that matters.



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Why does our default self-talk not always conform to our own standards? Sometimes I think it’s similar to how many of us wrestle with our diets. We overcome our urges to eat ice cream and manage to trim down by eating fruits and vegetables. But even as we bask in the energy and satisfaction of weight loss, we still think about eating that Snickers candy bar instead of the apple that is right beside it. We don’t live in a perfect world and it appears there has been an extreme shortage of perfect people for a long, long time. So things can go haywire from time to time; there are very few perfect days. It’s how we react that matters. In sports, savvy coaches prepare their teams by acknowledging that in the game ahead there are bound to be rough spots when momentum is lost and must be regained by keeping cool and focusing on fundamentals. Our country celebrates the cool, calm winners; they tend to end up in the Halls of Fame. On any given day around our department, we could fill this magazine with encouraging stories. We have about 340 student-athletes and every one of them has done many things right to be at this great school and in this great conference. We can get finicky about what we think makes a great story; sometimes there is a feeling that if someone hasn’t accomplished something worthy of national attention it might not be “enough” to talk about. We need to rethink that as publicists and as readers and boosters. My office has a window that overlooks our soccer/lacrosse field and there is scarcely an hour that goes by when one or more of our studentathletes isn’t out there running sprints, doing stretches or getting stronger pounding up and down the stadium stairs. It’s not even close to being glamorous but it’s one investment that dedicated, hard-working, quality young people make to be all they can be. They are the Commodores that I plan to focus on. I feel better already! Let’s have a great year. n



My Game

Lily Williams


ily Williams will be competing in her first cross country season this semester after redshirting her true freshman campaign last fall. The Tallahassee, Fla., native stayed in Nashville for the summer, working at various camps and filling her free time with running and cooking, two of the subjects she often discusses on her blog. Commodore Nation: You’re known on the team as a pretty good chef. Have you always enjoyed cooking?

Nation: Are you looking forward to competing in cross country this semester? Williams: I’m super excited because I missed cross country last year. It will be nice to get back to that. Indoor and outdoor are fun, but after you run a certain number of 1500s you’re ready to do something a bit different. The fall’s going to be great. Cross country is fun because it’s more of a team thing. And you get a change of scenery when you’re running. n

Lily Williams: Being in Nashville this summer, a lot of it has been having to cook for myself to save money. If I had money, I would like to go out and buy all my meals. But trying stuff at home is really fun because you can cook for your friends. If I’m bored I can cook and it takes up a few hours, then I have food afterwards to eat. It’s a win-win. Nation: Do you enjoy eating out in Nashville? Williams: I have a blog actually, and while there’s a bunch of random stuff, I blog about lots of restaurants. I’m a big Cafe Coco person, that’s a staple. I’ve tried some pretty good places, like in Germantown, they have some good breakfast places. There’s a crepe place I really like (Red Bicycle). Tallahassee is not that big of a town, so it’s really fun to come here and try all of the good restaurants. It’s fun because you can go with friends or on your own. I have a Yelp bookmark list of places I need to try. Nation: Is it difficult to cook food that tastes great but also can help you as an athlete? Williams: It is hard. Because sometimes you finish a day of two workouts and a day at work, and you come home and it’s already 8 o’clock. You just want to make something as fast as you can and eat it, but you still want it to be healthy. Sometimes it’s a bit difficult, but honestly if you just go to the grocery store and buy healthy ingredients that you’re forced to use because they’re your only option, it’s not that bad. Nation: What have your best experiences with cooking been? Williams: Most of my desserts usually turn out pretty good, I would say. I’m not shy on dessert. As a runner, I like my dessert. Any chocolatepeanut butter combination, I’ve done pretty well. And I’ve made some good cheesecakes. Nation: Any nightmares?


Williams: I made some pretty bad shrimp one time. I think the shrimp had been frozen for about a year and the sauce I put on them was just not good. I needed something to eat, I was hungry, so I ate it.



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September 2013 Commodore Nation  

Vanderbilt's monthly athletic department publication - Commodore Nation.