June 5, 2014
Quick Slant is an array of brief insights and occasionally opinionated overviews of collegiate athletics in general and the Vanderbilt Commodores in particular.
Two former Vanderbilt assistants that became head coaches saw the fruits of their labor pay off in the regionals. Erik Bakich was Tim Corbin's first position assistant at Vandy; he left to take over a stagnant program at Maryland, recruited hard and well for several years and while he is now head coach at Michigan, the Terrapins went 39-21 this year and earned their first NCAA tournament berth in 43 years, toppling South Carolina to reach the Super Regionals against Virginia. Josh Holliday has been Oklahoma State's skipper for two years and he quickly brought the Pokes back to respectability. They face the UC-Irvine Anteaters after going 48-16 this spring.
Speaking of Corbin, when he compared Ro Coleman's game-winning single the other night to Worth Scott's home run in 2003, some fans likely didn't understand the high praise. The Scott home run was one of the most dramatic plays in Vanderbilt athletic history, coming May 18, 2003 -- Corbin's first season. Batting under .250, Worth was facing Luke Hochevar, Tennessee's ace who would become the No. 1 pick in the 2004 MLB draft. Vandy needed a win to qualify for the SEC Championship while a loss would also end UT's season. There were two outs, bottom of the ninth, a runner on base, Vols leading 5-4. Scott crushed the first pitch over the right field fence and Hawkins Field went absolutely bonkers. That homer ranks as one of this writer's two most memorable sports moments, in part because it signaled that the Tim Corbin era was going to be special.
Corbin has also referred to his squads' diversity. Here is a terrific article to that point by Commodore Nation editor Jerome Boettcher if you have not yet read it.
Former Commodore star and Major Leaguer Jensen Lewis was mentioned a few days ago for predicting that Vanderbilt's starting three pitchers next year will all be first-round picks in the Major League Draft. That includes Carson Fulmer, Walker Buehler and Tyler Ferguson, who didn't get to toss a pitch in the three-game KO of Oregon. Current ace Tyler Beede figures to be a no-brainer first-rounder when the 2014 draft starts Thursday.
Why is it that when a team is winning - any team, any sport - there seems to be dozens of interesting human interest stories and when a program is struggling to get wins, Sherlock Holmes would have trouble identifying a single one?