Athletics News
Commodore Notebook - A New School Year

Aug. 30, 2007



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It's the start of a new school year and once again we are all sophomores. As were our mothers and grandfathers, we are anxious to renew acquaintances and feel the excitement that comes each autumn with football's opening kickoff. It's a brand new season and for Vanderbilt Commodore faithful, there is reason for optimism from September through June.

Why, you may wonder, reverting back to bad habits. Allow me to quickly remind you.

1. We have better athletes in our student-athlete population. In the last few years, our programs have produced high professional draft selections, the probable Rookie of the Year on the PGA Tour, Major League players and a couple of other All-America and Player of the Year types. That pipeline is not dry; in fact, it is just warming up.

2. We have the same solid coaching staff in place; continuity, they call it. Yes, we lost women's golf coach Martha Richards to Texas but replaced her very adequately with Greg Allen, one of the nation's best. Our veteran revenue sport coaches of Bobby Johnson, Kevin Stallings, Melanie Balcomb and Tim Corbin are still in Black and Gold and we are realizing the fruits of their talented labors. We should be proud that Vanderbilt athletics is no longer a transitional step to a more enticing destination. Vanderbilt isn't a stepping stone anywhere else on campus and athletics should not be either.

3. We have maintained our most coveted tradition, our sacred charge of academic integrity. Winning has not gotten in the way of classroom success. In 2006-07, over 300 Commodore student-athletes combined for a 3.012 grade point, certainly our best effort in decades if not ever. We can also be proud of our earned reputation for playing by the spirit and letter of the rules.

4. We are proud of who we are and freely admit we are different. We lose little sleep wanting to imitate those massive pit bulls that reside in big-time athletics. We know we have tremendous appeal to high achievers seeking success on two fronts, not just one. We have quit trying to be "State School Lite" and have found our groove.

We could go on but you have to get ready for Vandyville. I'll see you there!



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