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Yes, it's been awhile.

I've been trying to rest up during the summer months, but unfortunately, there's been no time for rest!

Big news in our office is that we filled the position of Marketing Director. Reggie Garrett, who played basketball for Seton Hall from 1997-2001, will officially take the job on August 11. He is coming to us after a successful two-year stop at Virginia. I am personally looking forward to working with him as the season gets underway. Read more about him and make sure you say hello when he arrives on West End.

Second, the most emails I've received this summer have had to do with phase 1 of the facility upgrades. Well, I've finally posted an update. Check out the photo gallery (below) with notes next to each picture detailing the progress.


Also, Wes Whaley from our video department was gracious enough to grab some video footage of the facilities last week. Here are some free clips (thanks Wes!).

Football Stadium   |  Football Practice Field   |  Basketball Locker Rooms   |  Hawkins Field

Oh, and find out everything you need to know about the renovations at Facilities Upgrade Central. You can help fund this project by calling the National Commodore Club at 615.322.4114.

Finally, I'll leave you with one video of the day.

Since football practice is just upon us, I can't help to feel like I should be Dancin' on the Ceiling.

A couple of notes I jotted down after watching this classic video:

1 - I always think of Jamiroquai's Virtual Insanity video as one of the videos that had an impact on gravity-defying moves in music. But Lionel Richie was ahead of the game with this song. (And yes, I had to look up the correct spelling for Jamiroquai)

2 - I love Lionel and celebrate his entire catalog, but it's apparent he is a great singer... and not really a good dancer. He has as many moves as I do (three for the record).

3 - I also love cheesy 80's choreography, especially the full arm circles by Lionel's friends starting at 0:27.

4 - Everytime they climb the walls, I turn my head to that position to view them right-side up. (Am I the only one dumb enough to do this?)

5 - "Say What?" (3:31 point)... "Can't Stop Now!"

6 - And finally, there's a keytar. Enough said.

FRIDAY, JULY 4- 10:31 AM

Happy Fourth of July fellow Americans.

In honor of our nation's independence, I thought I'd share a passionate speech on the importance of our National Anthem from none other than head baseball coach Tim Corbin.

During this summer's youth baseball camps, Corbin and his staff taught everything from the fundamentals of the game to the art of playing it. But he also took the time to explain to the campers a little bit about the symbolism of the United States flag.

Steven Parks and Wes Whaley captured the moment on video... which I think you'll enjoy.


Staying with the theme of baseball, former Commodore David Price continues to tear up the minor leagues and has won his first two starts in Double A as a Montgomery Biscuit.

Vanderbilt fans have a chance to catch Price in action this Sunday, July 6 in Jackson, Tenn., as the Biscuits take on the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx at Pringles Park.

There will be a special ticketing promotion for Commodore fans... Anyone who has a valid Tennessee drivers license from Middle Tennessee or a Vanderbilt student/faculty/staff ID will be allowed into the game free of charge along with a party of up to 8. Just mention that "It's Good to be Gold" when you go to the Pringles ticket office.

Oh, and here's a picture of Price in his new uniform, courtesy of Marvin Gentry.

And in case you're wondering what the Biscuits' mascot looks like... then check out Big Mo.

Anyway, have a good Fourth and I'll close today's post with another inspirational speech... you might remember this from the 1996 film, Independence Day (good stuff, even though it's fictional).

SUNDAY, JUNE 22- 2:16 PM

Joe Fisher said it best during Friday's Commodore Sports Update on the 104.5 Wake Up Zone.

If you happen to be walking around the athletic facilites on campus this summer you'll probably notice two things going on: construction and camps.

We showed you some of the construction plans after the official announcement last month (and plan to give some updates this week)... But I also thought you'd like to see some photos that John Russell took at a few of the camps. Now, there's a camp for just about every sport on West End, but these pics will cover baseball, tennis and swimming... so enjoy!

Baseball Camp Photos

Tennis Camp Photos

Swimming Camp Photos

Speaking of camp... I've already seen Camp Rock (Disney's new kids movie) twice over the weekend with my two favorite girls. Yes, I am blessed. And to go back a generation on camp memories... here's a clip of Larry defeating The Stomach in a hot dog eating contest from the classic movie Meatballs.


Well, the summer is officially here.

So what do I do during the summer since no home events are actually taking place?

Ideally, I'm still searching for my million dollar idea.

Million dollar idea, you might say?

Yes... I firmly believe that somewhere in my brain is an idea worth a good chunk of change (I may have to look hard, though). Of course, to flush this grand idea out, I have determined that I need to take a vacation for a year in Hawaii so I can clear my head.

Not likely, right? (You're right)

But, if I were funded to do so.. I could probably come up with an idea as brilliant as The Slanket. Enjoy!

Actually, the summertime is full of planning to get ready for the next athletic season. I just returned from a national marketing conference (NACMA) last week that was full of great ideas. University reps from around the country spent three days in Dallas discussing how to better their departments with brainstorms, speakers, forums, etc.

One thing that stood out was the keynote address from Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager, Jerry Jones. Whether you like him or not, I thought the following remarks he made were spot on...

"I've never thought that I owned the Dallas Cowboys," Jones said. "You can't own the University of Texas; you can't own the University of Notre Dame. The alumni own it, the fans own it, and the people that have coached, played, and worked there own those institutions. The Cowboys are no different. The tradition, the fans, the ones who have played, and people like [former] coach [Tom] Landry own the Dallas Cowboys."

Well said, Mr. Jones.

In other news, game 6 of the NBA Finals is tonight. The Celtics lead the Lakers three games to two as the teams return to the Garden.

You've probably seen this commercial a million times during the playoffs... but I give props to the NBA for rolling out this spot with Larry Legend and the Magic Man to go with their overall playoff theme of the split faces (whether it freaks you out or not).

And I agree with the League... there can only be one Fat Bird and one Fat Magic.

Oh, and here's an old school Converse commercial that Tom submitted that has both Bird and Magic. (Does this ad make you feel uncomfortable?)

In some news that actually relates to Vanderbilt... A.J. Ogilvy is trying to make Australia's national team for the Summer Olympics in Beijing (thanks for the email James).

Australia's currently playing Iran in a three-game challenge right now with the Boomers taking game one last night. Ogilvy started in that game, so that was a good sign for his chances of making the team (but no box score was available to see final stats).

National coach Brian Goorjian plans to make some more cuts in the near future to meet the 12-man roster requirement for the olympics. From reading this article, it seems like three of the 12 spots are filled, and 17 players including Ogilvy are fighting for the last nine openings.

Good luck, A.J.

Also, for those of you trying to keep track of how some of our baseball players are performing in the summer leagues, click here. And make sure you keep up with Goldy's blog on Personally, I'm jealous that he got to take BP at Fenway a few days ago.

Finally, Eric Nichols -- Vanderbilt Athletics marketing director (and my mentor) -- recently announced that he has accepted the same position at the University of South Carolina.

Eric has excelled in a variety of positions at Vanderbilt since arriving in 1998 including as the Director of Game Operations as well as the Director of Online Services before heading the marketing department in January of 2004.

His departure will be a big loss for at VU. Sometimes we think about the impact of coaches and players leaving, but in my opinion, Eric's work has been just as vital to the strength of the department. Consider these numbers he achieved during his tenure --

*Net ticket revenue grew 50 percent in four years, adding millions of dollars to Vanderbilt's athletic bottom line

*Season football ticket sales doubled to an 11-year high-water mark in 2007

*Men's basketball games and baseball games were sold out on a season basis and the 2007-08 women's basketball average attendance also jumped from 33rd in the country to 17th

Now that's just a brief list of his accomplishments. We could go on and on about what he did during his time on West End. Personally, it was a pleasure to serve under him and to have the opportunity to learn from one of the best minds in the business... but more importantly I'm proud to say he was a good guy that really cared about the people he worked with as well as our loyal fan base.

Best wishes to his wife, Christina, and their daughter, Grace, on their move to Columbia at the end of the month.

In true Barca Blog fashion, I will leave Eric with a video from the old school version of Alvin and the Chipmunks (that probably only his daughter will enjoy).

When Eric announced he was leaving, I tried to put together a benefit concert to keep him here... sort of like when Alvin and Brittany (of the Chipettes) tried to save a nest of bald eagles on Mount Placid that was threatened by a condominium development.

(I know, it's a stretch)


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