Quick Slant: Worldwide following

Feb. 3, 2012

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

The power of the World Wide Web! Roy Neel, VU 1969 and author of Dynamite, the definitive book on the early eras of Vanderbilt men's basketball, followed the recent game with Tennessee on GameTracker from New Zealand. Neel has had a successful career as a key associate of former Vice President Al Gore and has never lost his enthusiasm for the Commodores, especially the basketball and baseball programs.

The power of ESPN! We were able to watch much of ESPNU's National Letter of Intent coverage and are not sure quite what to think. There was awesome, non-stop coverage all day from a galaxy of recruiting gurus, game broadcasters and former head coaches. The network went live multiple times for some hot-shot to pick from three hats or to unzip his jacket to reveal his new school's t-shirt. Oh, the drama if a faxed signature was late to arrive! While ESPN coverage can literally create a major event - i.e. NFL Draft, College World Series, and Poker - something seems out of whack with the excess adulation showered upon these prep phenoms.

Good guys finish first department: Roy Mewbourne, our former long-time baseball coach now a development officer at Middle Tennessee State, was inducted into the Tennessee Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Mewbourne's teams won 922 games in seven years at Birmingham Southern and 24 years at Vanderbilt, where he won one SEC championship. He was the driving force to light our baseball field and to raise many of the funds for the original Hawkins Field structure.

Speaking of Hall of Fame inductees, former Vanderbilt Assistant Athletic Director Ray Bickerstaff will be inducted posthumously into New Mexico State Athletic Hall of Fame Feb. 25. Brick, as his many friends called him, came to Nashville in the 1970's with Athletic Director Clay Stapleton, then worked until retirement under Roy Kramer. Bickerstaff's family, including widow Sarah Lou and sons Andy and Ray Paul, will travel to Las Cruces for the induction ceremony. He had been an athletic trainer at Arkansas State, New Mexico State and Iowa State before moving into administration at Florida State and Vanderbilt. After retiring he was a driving force in Nashville's National Football Foundation/College Hall of Fame chapter.



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