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JULY 2008

PICTURES OF THE

YEAR


table of contents 6

2 4 6

Connecting With The Web National Commodore Club In My Words David Macias

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Commodores Cubed Know your Commodores

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Point of View A.J. Ogilvy

11 Commodore Tidbits

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By the numbers

12 Jermaine Beal’s Summer Trip Beal writes about his trip to China

13 It’s My Turn — Rod Williamson Looking forward

15 Alvarez Selected No. 2 Overall Many ’Dores selected in MLB Draft

16 The Year In Photos View the memorable photos of the year

20 Quick Hits A look at Vanderbilt’s sports teams

21 The Top 10 Lists Top games and achievements of 07-08

23 Olney Remains Avid Follower Alum Buster Olney now works at ESPN

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Connect with

VUCOMMODORES.COM Editorial Publisher: Vanderbilt University Editor-in-Chief: Ryan Schulz Director of Communications: Rod Williamson Designers: Jeremy Teaford Ryan Schulz

Digital Image Specialist: Julie Luckett Turner Photographers: Rich Arden

Purchase Tickets Football season is quickly approaching, and VUCommodores.com is your source for purchasing season tickets, which start at just $99. The home schedule includes games against Auburn, Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Joe Fisher’s Daily Update

Neil Brake Todd Drexler Daniel Dubois

Listen to what the Voice of the Commodores has to say about Vanderbilt on a daily basis. Fisher’s daily Vanderbilt updates on Nashville’s 104.5 The Zone are archived daily.

Steve Green Wesley Hitt Paul J. Levy John Russell Gary Stepic

Contributors: Jermaine Beal Andy Boggs John Erck Larry Leathers A.J. Ogilvy Thomas Samuel Chris Weinman

Administrative Chancellor: Nicholas S. Zeppos

Commodore Nation Survey This is your opportunity to share what you would like to see more of or less of in Commodore Nation.

Podcasts Download archived audio files to your computer or media device. Audio files available for download include postgame interviews, weekly press conferences, Joe Fisher’s daily updates and weekly radio interviews.

Vice Chancellor for University Affairs: David Williams II Interim Vice Chancellor

for Public Affairs: Beth Fortune Exec. Director National Commodore Club: Jeff Ulmer

Vanderbilt University’s Mission, Goals and Values Vanderbilt University is a center for scholarly research, informed and creative teaching, and service to the community and society at large. Vanderbilt will uphold the highest standards and be a leader in the quest for new knowledge through scholarship, dissemination of knowledge through teaching and outreach, and creative experimentation of ideas and concepts. In pursuit of these goals, Vanderbilt values most highly intellectual freedom that supports open inquiry; and equality, compassion and excellence in all endeavors. Vanderbilt University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action university. ON THE COVER: A collection of the top photos of the year.

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Around The Web

Photo Store

Each day, links to all the stories on the Web relating to Vanderbilt athletics are posted on VUCommodores. com. The links also are archived so you can go back and view stories from past weeks.

Decorate your home or workplace with the purchase of exclusive Vanderbilt photos. The photos range from images of Vanderbilt’s campus and athletic venues to action shots from Vanderbilt’s sporting events.

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POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to National Commodore Club, 2601 Jess Neely Drive, Nashville, TN 37212. SUBSCRIPTION: To subscribe to Commodore Nation, please contact the National Commodore Club at 615/322-4114. ADVERTISEMENT: To advertise with Commodore Nation, please contact Vanderbilt ISP Sports. Jeff Miller, General Manager 615/322-4468 jmiller@ispsports.com


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C O M M O D O R E C LU B

COR N ER

Inspiration Comes In So Many Ways By Jeff Ulmer NCC Executive Director

PHONE: 615/322-4114 vucommodores.com

FACILITY RENOVATIONS Vanderbilt Athletics is beginning a major facilities campaign that will affect every sport through a variety of stadium, locker room, team room, training room and coaches’ offices improvements. The first phase encompasses new locker rooms and a new court at Memorial Gym, new seating at Hawkins Field, and a number of improvements to Vanderbilt Stadium. The $60 million project will be funded entirely by private gifts, and the athletics department needs your help. Below are images of some of the improvements to Vanderbilt Stadium. Look for more details on how you can get involved soon.

My colleagues and I often talk about how inspired we are when we have the opportunity to interact with our student-athletes and coaches. That inspiration goes well beyond the walls of the McGugin Center. Over the past several years David Freeman (VULS ’87) and his young children have had the opportunity to get to know some of Vanderbilt’s women’s soccer coaches through various clinics and outreach initiatives in the Nashville area. Head coach Ronnie Coveleskie and assistant coach Cristin Czubik dedicate a lot of their personal time reaching out to youth groups in and around the Nashville community teaching the intricacies and techniques essential to developing sound soccer skills. As inspiring as these coaches are to the children they reach, they have made a similar impact on David Freeman and his family.

Just as our coaches inspire their teams to work hard in competition and in the classroom, the Freemans have inspired our student-athletes to make a commitment to be the best that they can be. That’s a very important message for anyone.

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MOODY*NOLAN, INC. (RENDERINGS)

Freeman has grown very close to the Commodore soccer program and our coaches over the past several years. So much so that he and his family recently made a major gift commitment to help underwrite the cost of summer school tuition for our soccer players. Part of their gift will also be used to purchase state-ofthe-art video equipment to record game footage and to assist in studying and perfecting individual player skills. These resources simply wouldn’t have been available to our student-athletes if not for the Freeman family’s generosity.


JOIN THE NCC OR RENEW TODAY! It’s a new fiscal and membership year for the National Commodore Club. Get ahead of the game by renewing or joining today. Call 615/322-4114, click vucommodores.com or stop by the office in the McGugin Center. Every gift is allocated toward the goal of funding student-athlete scholarships. Thank you for your continued support of Vanderbilt Athletics. Your Membership Matters!

JOIN THE BLACK AND GOLD ENDOWMENT SOCIETY

Montgomery Cate is born to NCC Members Caroline and Billy Hamburg.

Walker Hayes, grandson of NCC Member Cauley Hayes, shows his VU colors.

DECLINING BENEFITS Please be aware that if you choose to “Decline Benefits” when making your NCC gift, you will not be able to receive preferential seating or parking for any sport, nor can you receive any of the benefits on the chart below — including Commodore Nation!

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Vanderbilt Athletics and the National Commodore Club endeavor to endow all athletics scholarships. To help in that task, the NCC has created an endowment level called the Black and Gold Society. Black and Gold Society members create an opportunity for a student-athlete while receiving full benefits of the Dudley Society with a fiveyear, $100,000 commitment. For more information on the Black and Gold Society and Athletic Scholarship Endowments, please contact John Erck at: john.erck@vanderbilt.edu or 615/322-7922.

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In My Words

JOHN RUSSELL

David Macias

first team All-SEC selection in 2008, very few players have made the kind of strides senior centerfielder David Macias made during his four years at Vanderbilt. A recent graduate with a degree in sociology, Macias closed his career with a bang. After tallying just one home run in the first three years of his career, Macias hit nine homers in 2008. The Woodlands, Texas, native also led the team in batting average (.356) and hits (96), while climbing to seventh all-time in school history with 255 career hits. Originally signed by Coach Tim Corbin as a shortstop, Macias’ versatility enabled him to be drafted in the 19th round of the 2008 MLB Draft by the Chicago Cubs.

A

On earning first team All-SEC honors I thought it was a great honor. The SEC is one of the best conferences in the country in baseball, and the fact that the coaches have that kind of respect for how I play means a lot.

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On graduating with a degree in sociology this past May It felt so great. Looking back to freshman year, I thought the day would never come. I had to take a lot of hours these past two years to get it done, and it is a good feeling.

On his success this past season A lot of it is experience. It (was) my third year starting, and after a couple of years, you learn new things and everything starts to click. You see so much that everything just comes natural to you, and it becomes a lot easier than it was my first year. Also, working with Erik Bakich on my hitting has obviously helped a lot. On his spike in home runs I guess I can’t explain (my power surge). My swing has gotten better, and I’m more comfortable up there hitting. I don’t know how I got so many more home runs, but I know my focus helped me out, and hard work paid off. On being one of the top defensive players in the SEC I take a lot of pride in my defense. I treat batting practice like I would a game by running full


speed and making diving catches, so come game time, it just comes easier and it just comes naturally.

Commodores Cubed

On if he’d rather make a game-saving catch or hit a walk-off home run I’ve never hit a walk-off home run, so I’d say walk-off home run. Although, it would be awesome to make a diving catch in the gap to save the game. On being known as the “energy guy” on the team I enjoy the fact that my coaches and my teammates call me that guy. Then again, it puts pressure on me, but I like the pressure. I’m (was) just the leadoff guy and I (tried) to get on base and let the big guys behind me drive me in. On if he felt as though that was his responsibility as the leadoff hitter I think so. It is the first hitter of every game and the leadoff hitter can actually set the tempo for the game. Absolutely, as the leadoff guy, you are in position to be the rally starter, and I just try to do my best at it and try to get on base no matter what it takes. On moving to the outfield after being recruited as a shortstop I was willing to do whatever it took to get me on the field. I played wide receiver in high school, so running after a fly ball kind of came easy to me. I was playing shortstop all fall, and then one day (Corbin) told me to go out to center field. I made a diving catch, and he just stuck me out there ever since. On shifting back to the infield at the next level I think if I ever have an opportunity to play at the next level, I would probably be a better infielder than outfielder. If I do have that opportunity to play some more baseball, I think I have the ability to play a number of positions and hopefully that will help me out. ■

jonathan WHITE

michael NORDLUND

josie EARNEST

katherine HENDRICKS

Baseball

Cross Country

Bowling

Track & Field

TV Show I’d Like To Appear On

American Gladiators

Lost

House

Ninja Warrior

Major

Psychology with a minor in sociology

French and economics

Human and organizational development

Sports medicine

Favorite Late Night Talk Show Host

Jimmy Kimmel

Jay Leno

Reruns of Johnny Carson

I don’t watch late night talk shows

______ Makes Me Think of Summer

Baseball

Lemonade

Baseball

Swimming

Person I’d Most Like To Meet

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Tie between Ryan Theriot and Rafael Nadal

Sergei Bubka

Language I’d Like To Learn

French

Spanish

Spanish

Italian

Childhood Sports Idol

Ken Griffey, Jr.

STEVE GREEN (ACTION)

Number of Countries I’ve Been To Outside of the U.S.

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Zero

Michael Jordan Michael Jordan

4 — Canada, Scotland, England and France

3

Kerri Strug

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Point of View By A.J. Ogilvy Editor’s Note: Each month “Commodore Nation” will ask a varsity athlete to sound off on a point of personal interest. Ogilvy has returned to Australia for the summer and is preparing to represent his home country in the 2008 Summer Olympics.

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TODD DREXLER (ACTION)

T

his summer I tried out for the Boomers, the Australian Olympic team. The fi rst camp started June 1, so in order to be fully prepared for this great opportunity to represent my country, I have been working out with coaches three times a week. I also have been shooting every day and lifting weights four times a week. In total, I have been in the gym between three and four hours a day. While working out is very enjoyable, I always take Sundays off to help my body recover and get ready for the week ahead. Catching up with my family and friends has been a lot of fun. I’ve been staying with some friends during the week sso I’m closer to workout ffacilities and then stayiing with my family on the w weekends. Even though it has been great working out b a and preparing for the camps, the hardest part c a about the experience is not being able to spend n as much time with my a ffamily and friends as I would like. Having lived w o on the other side of the world for nine months, I w would love to be able to w sspend more time with tthem over the summer b break, but unfortunately it’s something that I have it tto sacrifi ce in order to try Ogilvy earned second team Alland achieve my goal of a SEC honors as a freshman. playing in the Olympics. This summer is definitely the hardest I have worked in order to make a team. Camps are very intense, and the workouts are the hardest I’ve ever done. But I feel that I’m in good enough shape to handle them. The possibility of representing my country at the Olympics is something that I am really excited about. To wear my country’s colors at the Olympics is my ultimate goal in basketball, so to have the chance to do that already is really exciting. The experience of playing at Vanderbilt and against the players of the SEC has really helped me get ready to compete against the older, more experienced athletes. Being able to battle it out with faster, stronger athletes throughout the season has made me become a smarter player and learn how to use my strengths more. I’m hoping that my experience this summer will not only help me become a better player and give me a great opportunity to represent my country, but it will give me more experience and help me be able to give more to Vanderbilt when we start working out and preparing for our next season. ■


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COM MODOR E

T I DB I T S • Vanderbilt third baseman Pedro Alvarez was selected second overall in the 2008 MLB First-Year Player Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates on June 5, becoming the highest-selected position player in school history. • Vanderbilt had eight players and 10 of its 14 fall signees drafted in the 2008 MLB First-Year Player Draft June 5-6. Including signees, Vanderbilt has had 30 players drafted in the past two years. • Vanderbilt’s men’s basketball game against Tennessee on Feb. 26 was ESPN’s third-highest rated game of the season with more than 2 million viewers. Only the Tennessee-Memphis game and the second meeting between Duke and North Carolina drew higher ratings. • Vanderbilt athletics officials announced a five phase facility improvement project on May 20. The complete cost of the proposed athletic facility improvements, including upgrades to Vanderbilt Stadium, Memorial Gymnasium, Hawkins Field and the McGugin Center, is expected to exceed $50 million. The first phase of the project began in April. • Seniors Sasha Cielak and Margie Curran earned national All-America honors from the IWLCA and US Lacrosse on May 29. Cielak earned first-team honors, becoming just the second player in school history to earn such accolades. Curran earned second-team honors for the second consecutive season. • For the first time since 1996, Vanderbilt’s first two football games of the season will be on national television. Vanderbilt will open the year on Aug. 28 at Miami (Ohio) (ESPNU) before coming home to face South Carolina (ESPN) on Sept. 4.

By The

NUMBERS 49

The number of career home runs by Pedro Alvarez — the most in school history.

89

The number of footballs used by Vanderbilt’s football team during practice and on game day in a given week throughout the season.

1

Vanderbilt is the only school — high school or college — to have players picked either No. 1 or No. 2 overall in consecutive MLB Drafts since Major League Baseball began having just one draft per year in 1987.

4

The number of NCAA appearances by Vanderbilt’s baseball team in the last five years.

3

The number of NCAA appearances by Vanderbilt’s baseball team in the 115 years before 2004.

91

The Graduation Success Rate of Vanderbilt’s football team — 19 points higher than any other school in the SEC.

178

Vanderbilt studentathletes were named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll in 2007-08 — the most in school history.

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An Experience Of A Lifetime

This summer I had the privilege of traveling to China with the Reach Sports USA Summer Basketball Tour. Little did I know the trip would turn out much different than anyone would have expected. As I was en route to the airport to fly to China on the morning of May 12th, my mom and I were listening to the radio and heard that an earthquake had hit China. In disbelief, we both looked at each other with a look of concern. I was a little nervous at first, but I didn’t think much of it after I got in the air. I felt that I would be ok since the team was going to be in Beijing, away from the earthquake, but I knew I would be in for a life-changing experience. The flight was long with plenty of turbulence, and after 16 hours of flying, we finally landed in Beijing. Playing with teammates from the SEC, Big Ten, MAC and Missouri Valley Conferences, our team traveled to several cities that took two or three hours to get to for our games. One night before a game in Xian, a teammate told me there was another earthquake. He said he felt it in his sleep. I didn’t believe him because I was asleep and didn’t feel anything. However, when we reached Xian, all the people in the city were outside. At first, I thought that it was the culture of the city or that a major event was going on. I later learned they were expecting an earthquake or an aftershock from the big earthquake. I didn’t know that earthquakes had warnings, but I took the warning seriously when I heard the people on my floor saying we needed to leave the hotel. At the same time, I thought there is only so much you can do for an earthquake, and that was the scary part. Seven days after the earthquake on May 12, the country declared a state of mourning. There could be no

entertainment for three days. Before the time of mourning, we were able to play five games in all. Our last two games were canceled. After the cancellation, I called my parents to let them know what was going on and that the rest of the tour had been canceled. After talking with my parents, I asked my coach if he could get me a flight back earlier because I just didn’t Jermaine Beal feel comfortable being in China. Although it was cut shorter than expected, my visit to China is filled with lasting memories, happy and sad. One thing that I always will remember is the overall feeling of the country when I was there. The whole country was “down and out” much like we were with 9-11 and Hurricane Katrina. Despite being in China during a difficult time, I still had an experience that will last me a lifetime. The people in China were very nice and always willing to help even though I couldn’t speak their language. I often used hand signals to communicate. I like old Kung Fu movies so I had hoped to see some Shaolin Monks—but I didn’t get to see any. However, one thing I did get to see was the Great Wall of China. It was the most memorable of my experiences, and it was absolutely amazing!

COMPLIANCE

COR NER Q:

Strike Zone is a prospect that will enroll during the summer term at Vanderbilt before his initial full-time enrollment. He can use Vandy’s academic services and training room facilities provided: A. Strike has verbally committed to Vanderbilt C. Strike is attending summer school at Vanderbilt B. Strike lives in the community of Vanderbilt D. A and B only

A:

The answer is C. NCAA Bylaw 13.2.7 Academic Support Services/ Use of Training-Room Facilities states that a prospective studentathlete who is enrolled in the institution’s summer term before the student’s initial, full-time enrollment at the certifying institution may be provided academic support services by the institution and also may use the institution’s training-room facilities. (Adopted: 1/11/94, Revised: 1/9/06, 1/14/08) The requirement of signing a National Letter of Intent in order to receive such services was removed. This change became effective in January 2008.

Compliance questions? Please contact: Candice Storey Director of Compliance 615/322-7992 candice.storey@vanderbilt.edu

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George Midgett Compliance Coordinator 615/322-2083 george.d.midgett@vanderbilt.edu

John Peach Compliance Coordinator 615/343-1060 john.w.peach@vanderbilt.edu

JOHN RUSSELL

Editor’s Note: A rising junior on the basketball team, Beal was selected to play on the Reach Sports USA Basketball Tour this summer in China. Unfortunately, the team’s tour was limited to just five games because of the effects of the tragic earthquake that struck China on May 12. Below, Beal recalls his experience in China with “Commodore Nation.”


It’s My Turn By Rod Williamson

T

he end of a sports year often is a time for reflection, but this issue has plenty of that. Let’s peek ahead a few months and imagine the landscape around Commodore Country. For most fans, football sets the autumn tempo. We are going to be hearing about the battle for our quarterback position with Chris Nickson and Mackenzi Adams joined by talented redshirt freshman Larry Smith. People realize our football program has improved. As of this column’s deadline, we were running more than 26% ahead of last year’s season ticket pace, which was our best in 11 years. We’ve got an attractive home schedule and are at the point where we can win on any given Saturday. Look for Memorial Magic to be back in vogue. Our two teams have different personnel situations, but both roads could lead to Rome. Kevin Stallings’ outfit will be pups, relatively speaking. We lose our second consecutive SEC Player of the Year in the great Shan Foster, along with a couple other starters, but we have what pundits call our finest freshman crop in 40 years. Eddie Fogler once noted that Vanderbilt basketball had enjoyed several memorable years, but his goal was to make it a memorable program. In other words, avoid the valleys that tended to follow a peak season. Eddie wasn’t here long enough for that to occur on his watch, but we are seeing that happen as Stallings heads into his 10th year on 25th Avenue. Our women’s team was green as grass last year, but the masterful Melanie Balcomb somehow figured out how to win 25 games against just nine defeats and once again reached the NCAA Sweet 16. This year those freshmen and sophomores are a year older and wiser. You baseball nuts out there—and we have developed our share of those!—will need a program at the first game. We will graduate several starters and lose some stars early, including Pedro Alvarez—the No. 2 pick of the recent Major League Draft. (By the way, every one of our early-exiting baseball pros in the Tim Corbin era has already earned his degree or is in the process of getting one in the off-season.) Shed no tears, hardball hounds. Corbin is bringing in an eyepopping freshman class. We’ll be youthful but not lacking in talent. And this year’s tender pitching staff returns one year tougher and adds several excellent prospects. The 2008-09 year will see facility improvements. The south end of Vanderbilt Stadium is getting a face lift and will look sharp by September. There is massive work on both basketball locker rooms, team rooms, film room and new press room inside Memorial Gym, designed to aid our recruiting efforts. Permanent outfield seats will be installed at Hawkins Field. One thing that won’t change is our bedrock commitment to outstanding academic achievement. It will be tough to top this year’s classroom chart, but where once a 3.0 cumulative grade point for all 325 student-athletes was a lofty goal, it now is the expectation. We also will continue to stress the importance of community service, although quite a few Commodores need no encouragement. We had the SEC’s No. 1 servant this year in lacrosse’s Brooke Shinaberry, can we land a repeat winner next year? Will our bowling team find its way back to a national championship? Can our women’s tennis team make the Final Four once more? How many teams will see NCAA post-season play? Is it possible to get three straight SEC Basketball Player of the Year winners? Is this the year our football team goes bowling? Stay tuned. This will be fun. ■

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Alvarez Headlines List Of VU Players Drafted

F

or the second year in a row, a Vanderbilt player made national headlines at the annual Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft when third baseman Pedro Alvarez was drafted No. 2 overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates on June 5. Alvarez’s selection came one year after former Commodore pitcher David Price was selected No. 1 overall by Tampa Bay. Not only did Alvarez become the highest position player selected in school history, he also helped Vanderbilt’s baseball program make history. With Alvarez going No. 2 overall, Vanderbilt became the first school— college or high school—to have consecutive drafts with a player being selected No. 1 or No. 2 overall since Major League Baseball began holding just one draft per season in 1987. “It’s nice to have two kids of that caliber come to school here and work on their degree and further their baseball career,” Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin said. “We are just proud that Vanderbilt has been the place for them for three years.” Many scouting reports have Alvarez moving quickly through the Pirates farm system and playing in the big

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leagues sooner rather than later. Having coached Alvarez for the past three years, Corbin knows as well as anyone just what type of player Vanderbilt’s alltime home run leader can become. “I think he can (advance quickly),” Corbin said. “There aren’t a lot of third basemen out there that hit like that. Every year he’s played, whether it’s here at Vanderbilt or for Team USA, he’s put up strong statistical numbers. He’s led the team in hitting, and he’s led the team in power.” While Alvarez’s selection was certainly the highest of any Commodore in this year’s draft, he was far from the only Vanderbilt player selected in the 50-round draft. Proving just how deep the talent pool is, eight players from the 2008 team and 10 of the team’s 14 signees from the fall were drafted. Having so many players selected in the draft certainly has helped build Vanderbilt’s reputation as a top program, and it is something Corbin hopes will be a benefit when it comes to recruiting. “It is always sad when you lose them because it seems like three or four years is about three months, but having kids like that allows us to recruit other kids like that.” ■

2008 VANDERBILT DRAFT PICKS Rd

Team (pick) Player

Pos

PIT (2)

Pedro Alvarez

3B

Sup.

CHC (41)

Ryan Flaherty

4

DET (133)

Brett Jacobson

5

BOS (172)

Ryan Westmoreland* OF/P

6

ATL (190)

Adam Milligan*

OF

7

KC (205)

Jason Esposito*

INF

11

MIN (336)

Dominic de la Osa

19

CHC (581)

David Macias

20

HOU (602)

Shea Robin

26

BOS (802)

Navery Moore*

RHP

27

CHC (821)

Sonny Gray*

RHP

28

BOS (862)

Matt Marquis*

29

MIN (876)

Joe Loftus*

INF

32

CLE (981)

Nick Christiani

RHP

36

TX (1083)

Jack Armstrong*

RHP

37

LAD (1117)

Will Clinard*

RHP

43

COL (1307)

Alex Feinberg

INF

45

HOU (1351) Grayson Garvin

1

SS RHP

OF UTIL C

OF

LHP

* Fall Signee

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The Year In Photos

Leigh-Ann Axt competes against Miami (Jan. 11) in Vanderbilt’s first home meet in 15 years.

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STEVE GREEN

Dominic de la Osa watches for the umpire’s call after knocking Arkansas’ Ryan Cisterna upside down on his way to touching home plate.

Jennifer Risper looks to get to the basket in Vanderbilt’s 68-55 win against Duke on Nov. 28.

JOHN RUSSELL NEIL BRAKE

Myron Lewis forces Kentucky’s Rafael Little to fumble the football.

STEVE GREEN

Ross Neltner wrestles the ball away from Tennessee defenders in Vanderbilt’s 72-69 win on Feb. 26.

JOHN RUSSELL

The 2007-08 season was a roller coaster of emotions from sheer excitement to utter disappointment. In this, the final issue of the 2007-08 season, Commodore Nation has selected a collection of the most memorable photos that encompassed a year where 10 of Vanderbilt’s 16 teams advanced to NCAA postseason play.


Vanderbilt’s defense sandwiches Tennessee kick returner Lennon Creer.

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Shan Foster celebrates with fans in the student section after Vanderbilt defeats South Carolina to open SEC play.

Alex Zotov celebrates a point in his match against Arkansas at the SEC Tournament.

C O M M O D O R E N AT I O N

STAN JONES JOHN RUSSELL

JOHN RUSSELL

Curtis Gatewood sacks South Carolina’s Blake Mitchell in Vanderbilt’s 17-6 win in Columbia.

WESLEY HITT

Margie Curran gets by an Ohio State defender on April 11 en route to breaking the school record for points and assists in a career.

JOHN RUSSELL

Alex (Red) Gordon shows his emotion in Vanderbilt’s win against Georgia Tech.

JOHN RUSSELL

JOHN RUSSELL

Because of a broken jaw, Alex Feinberg wore a helmet in the field for much of the season.

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Merideth Marsh reacts to the shot before Chrisina Wirth even releases it in Vanderbilt’s win against West Virginia in the NCAA Tournament.

GARY STEPIC

Kevin Stallings and Shan Foster embrace following Vanderbilt’s dramatic win against Mississippi State on Senior Day.

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JOHN RUSSELL

NEIL BRAKE

Austin Monahan (left) and Bryant Hahnfeldt react after Hahnfeldt’s 49-yard field goal attempt sails left in the final seconds at Tennessee.

STEVE GREEN

Brian Harris is congratulated after hitting a game-winning double in the bottom of the 12th against Arkansas on March 30.


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Quick Hits

• Long is spending the bulk of his summer

at the USA Triathlon development camp at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

MEN’S SPORTS Baseball • The baseball team played in

Football

the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in the past five years. Before 2004, VU had made only three NCAA Tim Corbin Tournament appearances. • Third baseman Pedro Alvarez was selected by the Pirates with the third overall pick in the MLB Draft on June 5. • Eight members from the 2008 team were drafted, while 10 of the team’s 14 signees in the fall also were drafted. • Five Vanderbilt players earned All-SEC honors on May 20. Pedro Alvarez and David Macias earned first team honors, while Dominic de la Osa, Ryan Flaherty and Alex Feinberg received second team honors. • Freshman reliever Russell Brewer was named to the SEC All-Freshman team, and Macias was named to the SEC All-Defensive team. • Senior catcher Shea Robin was one of 12 semifinalists for the Johnny Bench Award, which honors the nation’s top collegiate catcher. • Junior shortstop Ryan Flaherty was selected as one of 50 semifinalists for the Golden Spikes Award by USA Baseball. • Tim Corbin announced the signing of shortstop Alex McClure (Walters State CC) to a national letter of intent on June 17. • Alvarez and Macias were named to the 2008 ABCA/Rawlings All-South Region Second Team on June 18.

• SEC

officials announced on June 3 that Vanderbilt’s home opener versus South Carolina at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 4 will be televised by Bobby ESPN. Johnson • Offensive lineman Brian Stamper signed a free agent contract with the New Orleans Saints on May 19. • The Commodores will don new uniforms in 2008. Vanderbilt had worn the same uniforms since Bobby Johnson’s first season in 2002. • Former quarterback Boyce Smith, Jr. (1956-58) passed away on June 10.

Golf • Former Commodore Brandt

Snedeker tied for 9th at the U.S. Open. • He has now finished in the top 10 at both majors in 2008.

• Former Vanderbilt player and

coach Jan van Breda Kolff was named head coach of the newly-formed Nashville Broncs of the ABA on June 10.

Kevin Stallings

Cross Country • Rising senior Matt Long fin-

ished fourth at the ITU Triathlon World Championship for athletes in the 20-24 age group on June 10.

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• Vanderbilt finished the 200708 season ranked No. 26 with a 14-10 record. • Vanderbilt’s final ranking and win total were its highest Ian since 2004 when the team Duvenhage earned 16 wins and a final ranking of No. 16. • Ryan Preston was selected to the second team ESPN The Magazine Academic AllDistrict IV men’s at-large team on May 22. • Ryan Preston lost to top-seeded and eventual national champion Somdev Devvarman (Virginia) in the first round of the NCAA Singles Championship on May 21. • Former Commodore Bobby Reynolds advanced to the second round of the French Open, defeating No. 109 Thierry Ascione.

WOMEN’S SPORTS Bowling • Rising junior Josie Earnest

Basketball

Steve Keith

• Seniors Sasha Cielak and

Margie Curran earned national All-America honors from the IWLCA and US Lacrosse on May 29. Cielak earned first Cathy Swezey team honors, becoming just the second player in school history to earn such accolades. Curran earned second team honors for the second consecutive season. • Vanderbilt had four players on the West/ Midwest Region All-America list. Cielak and Curran and junior Cara Giordano were named to the first team, while senior goalkeeper Brooke Shinaberry earned second team honors. • Incoming freshman Ally Carey was named Baltimore Sun Player of the Year. • Carey and fellow signee Natalie Wills were named to the 2008 Toyota High School AllTewaaraton Team, which featured 12 male and female winners chosen from schools in the Baltimore-Washington D.C. metro area.

Soccer Tom Shaw

Tennis

STEVE GREEN

Pedro Alvarez was selected No. 2 overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates on June 5.

Lacrosse

was voted the Division I “Player of the Year” by the National Ten Pin Coaches Association on June 13. John • With the honor, she is be- Williamson lieved to be the fi rst female in school history to become a national player of the year. • Also earning All-America honors were rising senior Tara Kane and Michelle Peloquin, who earned third-team honors and Karen Grygiel, who received honorable mention accolades.

• Head Coach Ronnie Cov-

eleskie announced the team’s 2008 schedule on June 16. • The schedule includes seven home dates and matches against seven teams from the 2007 NCAA Tournament.

Ronnie Coveleskie

Tennis • Vanderbilt finished the season

with a No. 10 ranking and a 20-6 record. It was Vanderbilt’s 11th 20-win season. • Catherine Newman was Geoff named to the second team Macdonald ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District IV women’s at-large team on May 22. • Amanda Taylor was named to the ITA AllAmerica team on May 30. • Taylor and Newman each fell in the first round of the NCAA Singles Championship on May 21. Taylor lost 1-6, 7-6, 6-1, to Georgia Tech’s Amanda McDowell, who ended up winning the national championship. • Courtney Ulery and Taylor lost in the first round of the NCAA Doubles Championship on May 22. • Former Commodore Julie Ditty fell in the first round of the French Open to Nathalie Dechy on May 25.

Track and Field • Rita Jorgensen and Valerie

Kazmer competed in the NCAA Mideast Regional Championships May 30-31. • Jorgensen placed 10th in the 1,500 meters, and Kazmer finished 16th in the 3,000meter steeplechase.

D’Andre Hill


Top Games and Athletic Achievements of 2007-08

W

hether you have been following Vanderbilt athletics your entire life or just the past few years, it is certain that anyone who watched the Commodores through the 2007-08 season was left with memories that will last a lifetime. Whether it was Shan Foster single-handedly willing Vanderbilt to victory in his final home game, the football team stunning No. 6 South Carolina or the men’s basketball team beating Kentucky by 41 points, the 2007-08 season provided some of the greatest moments in the history of Vanderbilt athletics. But just which moments were the best? To find that answer (or at least the opinion of others), Commodore Nation polled members of Vanderbilt’s athletics staff to determine the Top 10 Games and the Top 10 Individual Athletic Achievements of the 2007-08 season. Points were rewarded on a 10-98-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.

2007-08 TOP 10 GAMES Rk. Game (First-Place Votes) 10

Soccer Wins at South Carolina in Final Seconds

2007-08 TOP 10 ACHIEVEMENTS Pts.

Rk. Individual Athletic Achievement (First-Place Votes)

72

10

With just nine seconds remaining in double overtime, Molly Kinsella scored to give VU a 1-0 win at No. 20 South Carolina. Had Kinsella not scored the goal, the match would have ended in a tie.

9

Women’s Tennis Advances To Sweet 16

Baseball Tops Two-Time Defending Champs

87

9

Lacrosse Sets Record For Regular Season Wins

101

8

Baseball Completes Sweep of Tennessee

120

7

Women’s Basketball Advances To the Sweet 16

175

6

Men’s Basketball Drops Kentucky By 41 (2)

179

5

Men’s Basketball Tops Miss. State in OT (7)

248

4

Football Wins At No. 6 South Carolina (5)

264

3

Men’s Hoops Defeats No. 1 Tennessee (24) A day after Tennessee earned its first No. 1 ranking in school history, Vanderbilt topped the Vols 72-69 on Feb. 26 for its fourth straight win at home over a No. 1-ranked team.

D.J. Moore Terrorizes South Carolina (1)

169

Shan Foster Sets Career Scoring Mark (5)

197

Chris Williams Selected No. 14

210

Pedro Alvarez Picked No. 2 (4)

224

Selected No. 2 overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first round of the MLB Draft, Alvarez became the highestselected position player in school history.

313

2

No. 6 South Carolina was the highest-ranked opponent VU has ever defeated on the road. The win also tied for the highest-ranked opponent VU has defeated in school history (LSU in 1937).

1

161

Selected 14th overall by the Chicago Bears in the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft, Williams was the first VU offensive lineman selected in the first round since 1986. (Will Wolford)

Vanderbilt capped its undefeated (19-0) season at Memorial Gym with an overtime win over No. 25 Mississippi State. Shan Foster dazzled the crowd with 42 points and made nine straight threes to end the game.

2

Taka Bertrand Breaks School Record for Wins

Foster broke Matt Freije’s career-scoring mark with 22 points against Arkansas on March 1. He finished his career with 2,011 points, becoming just the 22nd player in SEC history with more than 2,000 points.

Vanderbilt handed Kentucky its worst loss in SEC history and fifth-largest loss in school history with a 93-52 drubbing on Feb. 12. Vanderbilt led 41-11 at the half, and Shan Foster outscored UK 20-19 with 14:28 to play.

3

86

The South Carolina native helped VU win at No. 6 South Carolina with two interceptions, eight tackles, one pass breakup and 102 yards on three kick returns.

Vanderbilt advanced to the Sweet 16 for the 13th time in the past 19 years with a 64-46 win over West Virginia on March 24.

4

Josie Earnest Named Player Of The Year

She became the winningest singles player in school history with her win over Auburn’s Melissa Koning on March 21. The win was the 115th of her career, surpassing the previous mark of 114 by Julie Ditty.

In a series that dates to 1888, no team had ever swept the other in two straight series until this season when Vanderbilt topped the Vols 10-8 on May 4 to earn its second straight sweep.

5

84

Vanderbilt’s top bowler was voted the Division I Player of the Year by the National Ten Pin Coaches Association. She had a 205 average in 67 games.

For the second match in a row, Vanderbilt defeated a top 10 opponent when it knocked off No. 7 Duke, 11-10, on April 20. The win gave Vanderbilt its school-record 12th regular season win of the season.

6

Ryan Preston Earns Third All-SEC Honor VU’s No. 1 player for the past three years became just the fourth player in school history to be a three-time All-SEC selection when he earned first team honors on April 16.

The buildup to the start of baseball season was unlike any other time in school history. Vanderbilt capitalized on the excitment by opening the season with a win over two-time defending NCAA champion Oregon State on Feb. 22.

7

71

Trailing by seven strokes heading into the final round at the Kauai Cup, Johnson set a tournament course record and tied a school record with a 9-under 63 to earn medalist honors for the first time in his career.

Trailing 3-2 in the match, Vanderbilt won the final two singles matches to defeat Kentucky and advance to the round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament. Catherine Newman clinched the match with a 0-6, 7-6, 6-2 win.

8

Hudson Johnson Goes Tiger Woods at Kauai

Pts.

Earl Bennett Sets SEC Mark for Receptions (2)

292

It took Bennett less than three seasons to break the SEC record for career receptions when he caught the 209th pass of his career against Miami (Ohio) on Oct. 27. He finished his career with 236 catches.

350

1

Shan Foster Scores 42 on Senior Night (26)

344

In what was one of the greatest individual performances in VU history, Foster made 9 straight threes and scored 42 points — two shy of the school record — to defeat Miss. State in overtime and give VU a perfect record at home.

* 38 individuals participated in the poll

vucommodores.com

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Buster Olney Remains Avid VU Supporter

vucommodores.com

RICH ARDEN

Y

ou can see him on television, hear him on the radio or read him on the Internet on a daily basis this time of the year. If you’re a baseball fan, it is pretty hard to avoid ESPN senior baseball writer and analyst Buster Olney. Whether he is working as an analyst on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight, making appearances on SportsCenter, co-hosting Mike & Mike in the Morning or writing a story for ESPN The Magazine, the 1988 Vanderbilt graduate is a fi xture in the media. While Olney’s climb up the proverbial sports ladder from his days at the Vanderbilt Hustler to ESPN has certainly been calculated over time, his decision to attend Vanderbilt was anything but. Having grown up on a dairy farm in Vermont and then having attended boarding school in Massachusetts, Olney, 44, had never been to Nashville, let alone the state of Tennessee, when he decided to make Vanderbilt his college destination. It is a decision that still baffl es him to this day. “I must say, when I think back the idea that I would leave Central Vermont and go to school in Nashville sight unseen now seems nuts to me,” Olney said. “Now that I’m a parent and I have an 8-year-old and a 3-year-old, the idea that I would go to a completely different part of the country with no family connections, I sort of shake my head at that.” But why Vanderbilt? After all, it doesn’t have a journalism program. “My high school guidance counselor informed me of the Grantland Rice Scholarship (now the Fred Russell/Grantland Rice Scholarship) that is given to an aspiring sports journalist,” Olney commented. “I applied for it, and I don’t know this and never will know this, but the fact that I was in the final group (for the scholarship) probably helped get me into the school. “I was aware that there was no journalism program, but it played no factor in me coming to Vanderbilt.” Even though Olney eventually decided to major in history, you would have thought he was majoring in the Hustler for as much time as he spent at the paper. “If you knew my college GPA, then you would understand that I spent a whole lot of time at the Hustler,” laughed Olney. “I spent a lot more time at the Hustler than I did actually at class.” When Olney wasn’t at the Hustler, there was a pretty good chance he was playing pickup basketball at Memorial Gym. “I suspect that I’m one of the all-time leading scorers in pickup ball history at Memorial Gym, which again is directly refl ective of my grade-point average.” Olney fi rst entered Vanderbilt in the fall of 1982, but because of financial reasons, was in and out of school for multiple periods of time before graduating in the spring of 1988.

Buster Olney (right) on ESPN’s First Take.

Despite being in and out of school throughout his six years at Vanderbilt, he maintained his role with the Hustler even during his time of absence. In addition to his time with the Hustler, Olney also interned with the now-defunct Nashville Banner for three years. He didn’t know at the time, but landing his internship with the Banner would turn out to have as much to do with where he is today than anything else. “I was 21 hours short of graduating, and I ran out of money,” Olney said. “The publisher at the Nashville Banner at that time, Irby Simpkins, made a deal with me that he would pay for the rest of my school if I promised to come work for him for at least one year. I’m getting emotional just thinking about it. It was obviously huge for me for him to have done that.” Olney graciously accepted the offer and worked with the paper full-time for two years, covering the Nashville Sounds. Including his three years as an intern, Olney worked fi ve years for the Banner before leaving in August of 1990 for the San Diego Union-Tribune. Olney covered the Padres for two seasons before covering the Orioles for the Baltimore Sun for two years and the Mets (1997) and Yankees (1998-2001) for the New York Times before moving to ESPN in 2003. Although he now lives 45 minutes north of New York City, Olney still keeps close tabs on Vanderbilt. As a baseball analyst, Olney has been extremely proud of the growing reputation of Vanderbilt’s baseball program among people from Major League teams. “I don’t know Coach (Tim) Corbin very well, I’ve talked to him a couple of times, but what is so neat is that I’ll run into baseball people from major league teams and they will talk to me about Vanderbilt’s baseball program. “This is a classic example. John Cooper is the pitching coach for the Chicago White

Sox, and I called him up to talk to him about one of his pitchers and he said, ‘You went to Vanderbilt, right?’ He lives in Brentwood, and he just went on and on about what a great program it is and how great the kids are, and that is pretty neat to hear. I hear that all the time from people who know Coach Corbin better than I do. It is amazing to me, whether it’s agents, coaches or managers, so many people know him.” Olney also has seen the impact Corbin has made on former players such as Jensen Lewis and David Price. “Jensen and I have exchanged a bunch of e-mails,” Olney said. “When I was going back to Nashville for a forum with the Sounds on April 15, I asked him to send me a couple of lines to say about Coach Corbin when I speak. I got like a 50-page e-mail and at the end he apologized about rambling. But that is just how great he feels about him.” Such recent success has not only given Olney something to be proud of as a graduate, it also has given him an opportunity to incorporate Vanderbilt into his work. “This year, for instance, when (the basketball team) beat Tennessee, I did Mike & Mike the next morning just purely by coincidence,” Olney said. “I wore my Vanderbilt jersey on air. I did a lot of jersey popping.” Olney also writes a popular baseball blog on ESPN.com where he occasionally will incorporate links to Vanderbilt stories from The Tennessean and Hustler. However, as a journalist, he also understands that there is a line he must draw in the sand between his personal interests and the job he is paid to do. “It is (fun), but I can’t go overboard,” Olney said. “I put the Vanderbilt stuff in the blog so much that I am cognizant of the fact that I don’t want to go too nuts on that. “Last year when David (Price) was going in the draft, I was privately hoping he went No. 1 and the same thing with Pedro (Alvarez) this year. That is part of me, but certainly I have to separate myself a little bit.” While Olney is certainly proud of the success experienced by the athletic programs, he also is excited to see how much the university has grown. “When I went to school there, it was not as diverse of a place as it is now. Now when I go back to the school, that is what makes me most proud and seeing how it has evolved over time. I’m proud of the school.” ■

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Commodore Nation - July 2008