Just weeks after parachuting in the game ball before Vanderbilt's matchup with Army on Oct. 22, the six members of the 101st Airborne Division Parachute Demonstration Team were invited back to campus for a behind-the-scenes tour of Vanderbilt's athletic facilities on Wednesday.
The Screaming Eagles, as they are referred to, toured Vanderbilt's McGugin Center, Hawkins Field and Memorial Gym. The tour took the team into Vanderbilt's locker rooms, weight rooms and the offices of many coaches while providing an up close look at the infrastructure of a Division I athletic program.
Along the way, the group was introduced to many head coaches and past student-athletes. While touring the baseball facility, the Screaming Eagles received patriotic red, white and blue Vanderbilt baseball caps and were invited to take a few hacks in the batting cages, where they met former Commodores Mike Baxter, David Macias, Aaron Westlake and Bryan Johns.
After concluding the behind-the-scenes tour, the Screaming Eagles presented Vanderbilt athletics with a commemorative photo plaque that will be displayed in McGugin Center. Vanderbilt also provided the team with an autographed football from Coach Franklin, Vanderbilt athletic polos and other gifts.
"This is just an incredible experience for us, just being right down the street, to starting building these relations with Vanderbilt," Sergeant Brendan Quisenberry said. "This is the first full blown tour we've gotten. We've had some minor things here and there that we've peeked at, but this is by far the best tour we've taken as a team."
The Screaming Eagles are based in Fort Campbell, Ky., and are the Army's oldest parachute demonstration team. The team performs more than 500 jumps a year, which includes at least 15-20 jumps into football stadiums throughout the country.
Still this year, the team is scheduled to parachute into the Music City Bowl as well as the Liberty Bowl.