Words of Williams: Nation Q&A
Oct. 4, 2012
Vice Chancellor for Athletics and University Affairs and Athletics Director David Williams discusses a wide variety of topics in this month's Q&A session.
COMMODORE NATION: You make it a point to emphasize the future, not the present, when assessing the status of Vanderbilt athletics. What is your vision?
CN: When you speak internally about our department you tend to refer to the programs themselves rather than the individuals inside those programs. Can you explain the difference?
WILLIAMS: You want to get into the mindset that it is not about individuals but rather it's about the process, the entity. If we all disappeared tomorrow the foundation of what have laid will carry on through our successors. While we have some spectacular individuals, our success is not tied solely to those individuals. The other day I made this point in a meeting by asking who is the CEO of Coca-Cola. Nobody knew, of course. The point being it's about Coca-Cola, not an individual. We don't even know when they change leadership, it keeps on going.
CN: What grade would you give the progress Commodore athletics has made in recent years?
CN: You've told the staff there is a golden opportunity for Vanderbilt athletics right now, can you elaborate?
CN: What has been the impact of fund-raising to the many construction projects throughout the department (the widest scope of work in the department's history)?
CN: These facilities are being improved without any external debt, right?
CN: What can be said about the status of the Rec Center expansion which will include football's indoor practice facility, the new running track and the many other varsity and recreational facilities?
CN: Your son Nick is being recruited to play college soccer and we've heard you turn some of his campus visits into fact-finding trips for our department.
ATHLETIC FACILITY IMPROVEMENT
From the September 2012 issue of Commodore Nation....
If summer is supposed to be a quiet time around collegiate athletic departments, no one told the numerous construction crews who have spent the better part of three months making improvements to nearly all of the facilities located around Jess Neely Drive.
Vanderbilt Stadium, Memorial Gymnasium, Hawkins Field and the McGugin Center all have received substantial upgrades during the off-season. And while the public will first enjoy the benefits of an enhanced football gameday experience, Head Coach James Franklin is quick to point out that the entire department is moving forward.
"It's amazing what we've been able to get done here in 18 months. Not just the football program, but the whole athletic department," Franklin said from the new Olympic Sport meeting room on the second floor of the McGugin Center. "A year ago, we would be outside on the roof. Now we have these new meeting rooms, new locker rooms downstairs, turf on the field, lights, and we're breaking ground on a $31 million dollar multipurpose facility soon. It's exciting."
The second-floor expansion of the McGugin Center allowed for extra meeting space upstairs--including an auditorium with stadium seating and room for the 100-plus member football team--and also afforded Olympic sport teams with larger locker room facilities on the first floor. Soccer and cross country were the first to test out their expanded digs, but other coaches already realize their value as well.
"The locker room will be among the best in Division I lacrosse, and the meeting space is just as critical to our success," Head Lacrosse Coach Cathy Swezey said. "Vanderbilt's commitment to athletics is evident in all that is going on. We could not be more excited."
Other updates included a complete overhaul of the Hendrix Room, chef Majid Noori's training table; impressive new video boards hanging over Ingram Court; an advanced turf system at Hawkins Field that will allow Coach Tim Corbin's squad to practice outdoors year-round; and new, larger bridges at Percy Warner Park that make the cross country course better suited to host the SEC meet next month.
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