Quick Slant: Derek Mason wins the press conference

Jan. 24, 2014

Quick Slant is an array of brief insights and occasionally opinionated overviews of collegiate athletics in general and the Vanderbilt Commodores in particular.

I can only recall one introductory press conference that equaled Derek Mason's positive response from all corners. That would be when Iowa State stunned the basketball world by hiring Michigan's Johnny Orr back in 1980. Our compelling story before, during and after the hiring process put Vanderbilt athletics at the forefront of Nashville's news for weeks. And could we have a round of applause for David Williams, whose calming interviews and shrewd hiring plan gave Vandy fans everywhere relief and excitement?

The other day somebody was commenting on how local sports talk radio shapes what is news and what isn't in Nashville. It's an interesting, if arguable, point. In some cities, talk radio reacts to what mainstream media reports. Talk radio has been around a long time; sports fans want to hear the inside skinny or see how their own thoughts stack up with others. But who is giving that skinny? Most listeners assume that the talking head is an expert. In Slant's view, that is sometimes true, but just as often it is not. While some hosts are very professional, connected to the sources they discuss while supplying insightful commentary, others chatter using their gift of gab while relying on instincts or second-hand information to offer their opinions.

We're hosting a top-notch indoor track and field meet Friday night and Saturday. There are going to be some very fast people running on our very fast surface and it just might be a lot of fun to watch. Admission is just five bucks a day, worth the price if only to see the beautiful new field house at Vanderbilt's Recreation Center.

Eddie and Robin Fogler were in town the other day, helping celebrate their son Ben's 21st birthday. Ben, a member of our top-20 rated golf team, was born in Nashville; my, how time flies! The Foglers took in our basketball game with Ole Miss and have a fondness for Vanderbilt and Nashville.

Women basketball's "Jam the Gym" promotion Sunday brought in a high-water mark number of single ticket fans. With a $1 ticket, most folks bought a couple. One guy walks up and plops down a $100 bill, wanting 100 tickets. They saw our team play very well in dumping yet another rated foe. We're looking forward to Sunday's rematch with South Carolina.



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