An endowed scholarship helped pave the path to a remarkable collegiate and PGA Tour career for Brandt Snedeker. Now, Brandt and his wife Mandy Snedeker are giving back to Vanderbilt Athletics and Coach Scott Limbaugh’s nationally recognized program by establishing the Snedeker Golf Scholarship, which will support future Commodore men’s golfers.
“I’m so grateful for the opportunity I was given to attend Vanderbilt University and play golf for the Commodores,” Brandt Snedeker said. “I have so many incredible memories and lifelong friendships from those days, and it’s also where Mandy and I met. We are a Vanderbilt family and cheer on the Commodores with all our might.”
Brandt and Mandy, Classes of 2003 and 2002 respectively, live in Nashville where they are raising their two young Vanderbilt fans, Lily and Austin. The Snedeker children frequently join Mandy and Brandt, a 2009 inductee of the Vanderbilt Athletic Hall of Fame, on the sidelines to cheer for various Vanderbilt teams.
“We are both proud Commodores, but the golf program holds special importance for Brandt,” Mandy said. “He takes great pride in the current players, their accomplishments, and how the program keeps improving. We hope this gift enhances everything else Coach Limbaugh is doing and that it gives future Vanderbilt golfers the same opportunity to experience success on and off the course that Brandt’s scholarship gave him.”
Limbaugh just concluded his fifth season at the helm of Vanderbilt’s men’s golf team, which ended its 2017 season with a NCAA Championship semifinal appearance. His appreciation for the Snedekers’ enthusiastic support is evident.
“Brandt and Mandy support us in so many ways. It means so much as we continue to build a championship program—the kind that everyone can be proud of,” Limbaugh said. “Brandt’s such a huge part of Vanderbilt golf and he’s very special to all of us. He cares a great deal about how we are doing and he’s always supportive of our kids.”
The Snedeker gift will help continue the unprecedented momentum of the men’s golf program in recent years. The team has made four consecutive NCAA Championship appearances for the first time in program history and captured its first Southeastern Conference crown this spring.
Four standouts on the 2017 squad—Matthias Schwab, Patrick Martin, Theo Humphrey and John Augenstein—earned All-America honors, bringing the total number of Vanderbilt All-Americans during Limbaugh’s tenure to 10. Limbaugh also swept 2017 Division I National Coach of the Year and SEC Coach of the Year honors.
Working toward a fully endowed golf program
The Snedekers’ philanthropy moves Vanderbilt Athletics closer to its goal to have a fully endowed men’s golf scholarship program—the university’s first in any sport. It would also move Limbaugh’s program into a select group of national powerhouses to claim the honor.
“We are so appreciative of Brandt and Mandy for their commitment to Vanderbilt Athletics and the golf program. Because of the Snedekers and numerous donors before them, we stand within reach of establishing a fully endowed scholarship program for future Commodore golfers,” Vice Chancellor and Athletics Director David Williams said.
The generosity from the Snedekers also continues a longstanding tradition of giving in the golf program. As a student-athlete, Brandt was the first recipient of the Toby Wilt Athletic Scholarship, established by former Vanderbilt football and golf standout Toby Wilt, BE ’67. Wilt was a mentor and enthusiastic supporter for Snedeker, who became Vanderbilt’s first All-American by his junior season. The friendship the two developed during Snedeker’s student days has not wavered.
“There is an old saying ‘what goes around comes around.’ One of the greatest joys of giving is the friendships I’ve created with student-athletes. I’m not surprised that Brandt and Mandy have decided to pay it forward, and am so proud that they’ve chosen this route to give back,” said Wilt.
Snedeker added, “I can only hope the scholarship that Mandy and I are creating will impact other young Commodores in the way mine did for me.”
Snedeker’s VU play gave Commodores national exposure
Snedeker’s play as an undergraduate provided a spark that ignited Vanderbilt’s emergence as a national player among collegiate golf teams.
Since Snedeker became Vanderbilt’s first All-America golfer in 2002, numerous Commodores have followed in his footsteps, including recent first-team recipients Hunter Stewart in 2015, Matthias Schwab in 2016 and Patrick Martin in 2017.
Vanderbilt team accolades also have followed. Since Snedeker’s initial appearance at the 2001 NCAA East Regional, the Commodores have been represented in 12 NCAA tournaments, advancing from regionals to the nationals on seven occasions. Limbaugh’s teams have reached NCAA coveted match play championships three of the last four seasons.
An eight-time PGA Tour winner and 2012 Fed Ex Cup Champion, Snedeker also leads a growing contingent of former Vanderbilt standouts in professional golf. Two other former Commodores—Luke List (2003-06) and Jon Curran (2006-09)—join Snedeker on the tour. Other recent grads, including Stewart and Schwab, are likely candidates to join them on the tour in future years.
Limbaugh credits Snedeker with building the Vanderbilt program foundation based on performance and character.
“Brandt’s one of the best golfers in the world and I do think that is what Vanderbilt is all about, creating leaders and champions in all walks of life. In my opinion, Brandt represents the Vanderbilt brand as well as any in how he handles himself on and off the course,” Limbaugh said.