Feb. 4, 2013
Commodore Nation: What is your take on the unique success that Vanderbilt has had in putting all four revenue sports-football, men's and women's basketball and baseball-into NCAA postseason play two consecutive years?
David Williams: If you were to ask me--or any sports fan--who were the eight schools in 2011 that were able to achieve this, you immediately think Texas, Ohio State, Florida, Stanford, Alabama and so on. Then move to 2012 and know that just six got it done with only one repeater, you'd think, "This must be an athletic powerhouse." When you realize that only Vanderbilt can make this claim--all four teams for two consecutive years--astounding. I'm surprised at how few other teams have done this even once, so it has to be difficult. It is remarkable for us to achieve it, especially when it required our football program--the most difficult of all programs to change--to make the grade. To put all four sports into NCAA postseason two years running requires balance and consistency.
And finally, to put this into true context, add the fact that we graduate our student-athletes. Every Commodore fan should take pride in this special achievement.
CN: It's January, 2013. What do you think Commodore fans will be talking about in January, 2014?
DW: It's going to be an interesting year! Next season could be one of our most important football seasons. We have a chance to start the season rated in the Top 25, something that has not happened in decades. Can we keep that ranking through the season? By 2014 our fans will be able to see how our renovated football stadium will look as we will have fully developed the plan. And we will have had two grand openings of our multipurpose facility--one during Halloween for the new addition which contains the turf field and the other about this time of year for the renovations in the Recreation Center. When it rained during our preparations for the Music City Bowl we had to bus to Tennessee State's indoor facility; soon we won't have to do that. I also believe fans will see some exciting results with some of our Olympic teams.
CN: What do you see as the bigger challenges 2013 might present?
DW: The big thing is we have to keep moving forward, we can't afford to get complacent and let whatever success we've experienced get in the way of bigger accomplishments. We have entered into an era when "good" simply isn't good enough. We are talking about championships. We also have an ever-watchful eye toward financials; things continue to become more expensive and we have to generate revenue to make progress. Finally, our competition also improves but people are noticing us. I was talking the other day with the head of ESPN and his point was that if you are in the SEC and can win nine football games, you are considered a power. They are watching us progress.