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Personally, I feel this football program has lost momentum.

For discussion regarding the Vanderbilt Commodores' football program.

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charlestonalum
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Re: Personally, I feel this football program has lost momentum.

Postby charlestonalum » Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:16 pm

Let's face it: this administration is not going to put big money into a football stadium or facilities. This probably is a wise decision. Thus, the only hope is to have a really effective head coach who is well paid and who can pay his assistant well, and this group can sell Vanderbilt for what it is - a true University that plays in the best conference in the country. We are different and we need a coach who is satisfied with being different (Franklin was not and that is why he is at Penn State.) My main issue with Mason is he is not a good recruiter and we are being killed this year in recruiting. He knows his defense, he is a players coach, but he isn't a recruiter and in the end that will be his undoing. He has made progress as head coach finally appointing a defensive coordinator and becoming far more articulate than when he arrived.



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Re: Personally, I feel this football program has lost momentum.

Postby All n 4 Vandy » Wed Jun 13, 2018 7:28 pm

I hope there are coaches like that out there. IMO only, I think it will eliminate a LOT of good coaching candidates when they find out they have to do their own fundraising.

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Re: Personally, I feel this football program has lost momentum.

Postby charlestonalum » Thu Jun 14, 2018 6:18 am

you are correct, All in, there are very few coaches who would relish the job of coaching a SEC team without SEC facilities and this explains the history of VU football- we have not been able to get or keep coaches willing to take on this enormously difficult but perhaps doable task - would take a very special and unorthodox approach.

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Re: Personally, I feel this football program has lost momentum.

Postby VanDSIRROM » Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:10 am

charlestonalum wrote:you are correct, All in, there are very few coaches who would relish the job of coaching a SEC team without SEC facilities and this explains the history of VU football- we have not been able to get or keep coaches willing to take on this enormously difficult but perhaps doable task - would take a very special and unorthodox approach.



Help me understand why a fan should continue to support a football program that the University is unwilling to support even though the SEC is supplying $50 million every year? :cry:
"For when the One Great Scorer comes to write against your name--He marks--not that you won or lost--but how you played the game." Grantland Rice, VU Alumnus

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Re: Personally, I feel this football program has lost momentum.

Postby AuricGoldfinger » Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:53 am

What's interesting about this thread is that, at least historically, there ought to be some feeling of momentum around the program. VU has defeated UT two years consecutively; is only a season removed from a bowl game; finished 5-7 last year, which isn't bad by historical standards; just signed one of its highest-rated recruiting classes; and has a solid QB returning who has 2.5 seasons of starting experience.

I'm not arguing that feeling there's no momentum around the program isn't genuine, or that some of the markers listed above aren't worthy of further scrutiny. To me, it just demonstrates that (a) the expectations for success have changed, and (b) there's more that goes into fueling a program's momentum in 2018 than just simply rising above low historic program standards.


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Re: Personally, I feel this football program has lost momentum.

Postby dcdore » Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:06 am

I have said for years/decades that building a football program at VU would be generational. At the time, it seemed the mean number of wins was 3; sometimes 2 or 4; occasionally 1 or 5.

First step was to raise the mean to 3.5, maybe 4 so we would occasionally have a 2 win season or a bowl game.

Then raise the mean to 4.5-5; that means frequent 4 win seasons, occasional 3 win seasons but also frequent bowl games.

Each level gets progressively harder so would probably take longer.

My perspective is that VU has reached the 4.5-5 mean win level over 20-25 years with the combined work of Coach Johnson, Coach Franklin and Coach Mason.

Getting to a 5.5-6 win mean from here as getting from a mean of 3 to a mean of 5. Another 20 years before a bowl is the norm?
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Re: Personally, I feel this football program has lost momentum.

Postby commadore » Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:28 am

So what you are saying is that most of us will be long dead before we ever get to 7.5. I don't buy that. Sorry.

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Re: Personally, I feel this football program has lost momentum.

Postby historybill » Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:54 pm

I didn't renew.

We've been through a lot of 2-9 seasons and 4-7 seasons and near misses. I've been to many of these games, starting in 1983. I can deal with losing a few games, and I can deal with near misses. But the problem now is much bigger than that. The problem is that our active fan base is ebbing at a time when every other team's fan bases seems to be growing.

This manifests itself with the takeover our stadium by opposing fans. This has always a problem; Bobby Johnson dealt with it and James Franklin dealt with it (and, to his credit, complained about it). Now it's not just the Tennessee game. It's whenever we play Ole Miss, Auburn, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Kansas State or even MTSU. That's right: MTSU!

I have photos from a home game against Florida which we played around 2006 or 2007. Yes, there were a lot of Florida fans there. But NOTHING like it is now. I think stubhub has changed everything. Or maybe it's the fact that airline tickets to Nashville have come down so much. Or maybe it's the fact that Vanderbilt doesn't try to get fans anymore. All I can say is, times have changed.

I have sat down low in D (right behind the Vanderbilt bench) for many years. Believe me... we have never had a year of home games last year. The Kansas State game was a lot of fun. A wonderful night. However, the Alabama and Georgia game were disasters on and off the field. I couldn't get the opposing fans out of my seats in those games. (In fact, I had to stand up the entire Georgia game--the game on my 30th reunion weekend--because Georgia fans crashed the section and was no room to sit.) Meanwhile, I was completely surrounded by empty seats when we played TSU, Missouri and even Kentucky (which was comfortable, but really depressing).

We just don't have enough fans anymore, and it's really sad. When all home games become road games, it takes much of the fun out of it. I don't want to deal with a majority of opposing fans at every single home game. I don't want to hear them taunt our players and yell at them about how bad our fan support is. Why should I?

And... honestly? If I had renewed my tickets, I might end up in a fight with some of these opposing fans one day. I'm sick of them, sick of their butts being in my seat, sick of them yelling Roll Tide or Go Vawls or whatever the hell they yell. (I'm also sick of Kentucky fans bringing whiskey to the game.) I'm right behind the Vanderbilt bench for heaven's sake.

However, in spite of all this, Vanderbilt still sends out propaganda claiming all is fine. The Vanderbilt football program is fine. All is well. They sent me an article about how great it was that we now PLAY historically black colleges such as TSU and Alabama A&M. That was the big achievement of 2017, the article seemed to imply. David Williams, who is one of the highest paid athletic directors in the country, doesn't seem concerned. He isn't bothered by the opposing fans. Unlike at UT, there is absolutely no sense at Vanderbilt that anything needs to change.
Last edited by historybill on Thu Jun 14, 2018 4:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Personally, I feel this football program has lost momentum.

Postby charlestonalum » Thu Jun 14, 2018 4:26 pm

The subject has mercifully been changed from facilities to VU fans in the stadium. They are true, true unrelated (perhaps tangentially related.) We have an uninterested administration that prudently will not waste money on a stadium - they are spending a ton on student housing, and we have a tiny fanbase that is geographically spread all over the country. Both these facts make attending games and recruiting painful, but uniquely for the SEC, Vanderbilt. It is seemingly immutable and been this way since I started attending games in 1961. This is why when we do win I am surprised and incredibly pleased, and always will be.
Last edited by charlestonalum on Fri Jun 15, 2018 1:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Personally, I feel this football program has lost momentum.

Postby VanDSIRROM » Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:14 pm

historybill wrote:I didn't renew.

We've been through a lot of 2-9 seasons and 4-7 seasons and near misses. I've been to many of these games, starting in 1983. I can deal with losing a few games, and I can deal with near misses. But the problem now is much bigger than that. The problem is that our active fan base is ebbing at a time when every other team's fan bases seems to be growing.

This manifests itself with the takeover our stadium by opposing fans. This has always a problem; Bobby Johnson dealt with it and James Franklin dealt with it (and, to his credit, complained about it). Now it's not just the Tennessee game. It's whenever we play Ole Miss, Auburn, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Kansas State or even MTSU. That's right: MTSU!

I have photos from a home game against Florida which we played around 2006 or 2007. Yes, there were a lot of Florida fans there. But NOTHING like it is now. I think stubhub has changed everything. Or maybe it's the fact that airline tickets to Nashville have come down so much. Or maybe it's the fact that Vanderbilt doesn't try to get fans anymore. All I can say is, times have changed.

I have sat down low in D (right behind the Vanderbilt bench) for many years. Believe me... we have never had a year of home games last year. The Kansas State game was a lot of fun. A wonderful night. However, the Alabama and Georgia game were disasters on and off the field. I couldn't get the opposing fans out of my seats in those games. (In fact, I had to stand up the entire Georgia game--the game on my 30th reunion weekend--because Georgia fans crashed the section and was no room to sit.) Meanwhile, I was completely surrounded by empty seats when we played TSU, Missouri and even Kentucky (which was comfortable, but really depressing).

We just don't have enough fans anymore, and it's really sad. When all home games become road games, it takes much of the fun out of it. I don't want to deal with a majority of opposing fans at every single home game. I don't want to hear them taunt our players and yell at them about how bad our fan support is. Why should I?

And... honestly? If I had renewed my tickets, I might end up in a fight with some of these opposing fans one day. I'm sick of them, sick of their butts being in my seat, sick of them yelling Roll Tide or Go Vawls or whatever the hell they yell. (I'm also sick of Kentucky fans bringing whiskey to the game.) I'm right behind the Vanderbilt bench for heaven's sake.

However, in spite of all this, Vanderbilt still sends out propaganda claiming all is fine. The Vanderbilt football program is fine. All is well. They sent me an article about how great it was that we now PLAY historically black colleges such as TSU and Alabama A&M. That was the big achievement of 2017, the article seemed to imply. David Williams, who is one of the highest paid athletic directors in the country, doesn't seem concerned. He isn't bothered by the opposing fans. Unlike at UT, there is absolutely no sense at Vanderbilt that anything needs to change.


THIS ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ :cry:
"For when the One Great Scorer comes to write against your name--He marks--not that you won or lost--but how you played the game." Grantland Rice, VU Alumnus

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Re: Personally, I feel this football program has lost momentum.

Postby Johnmn555 » Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:32 pm

When the Dud was packed in the 1980s, people didn't have such high expectations for a stadium and it was new, no Titans or Preds, MTSU was 1AA, Nashville was full of people from Nashville, not people from all over who have no particular pride in local institutions. Some winning seasons will help, but you have to get used to the reality of depending on visiting fans to fill the stadium. The attendance records of all private schools in 1A except ND and Southern Cal. are unimpressive.

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Re: Personally, I feel this football program has lost momentum.

Postby DeefromAtlanta » Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:59 pm

Since I initially started this discussion, allow me to expand on why I feel the way I do.

I think it's safe to say that this board is supported by true Vanderbilt fans. And from looking at the usage on this board, I'll venture to say that our base hasn't gotten larger in the past four years and that season ticket sales have shown a steady decline in that same time period. Ironically, as Auric pointed out, we've seen an unprecedented success against our in-state rival. We've gone to a bowl game and have seen our recruiting show an uptick.

At the same time, Nashville has grown in size and perception. And from all indications, the growth is broad-based and supports a healthy economy. In addition, the university continues to hold a prestigious rank among colleges and universities in the country and has a very positive perception.

So why the malaise? Is it Mason's fault? No. It's much bigger than just him.

The simple explanation is the Vanderbilt administration, athletic department, and football program have made a conscious effort of not investing the time, money or other resources to generate excitement, build loyalty, or actively solicit members of the Nashville community to create a bandwagon. There isn't an aggressive attempt to affect the national alumnae base, either. It's my belief the university has passively accepted it's subservient role in SEC football to each of the communities it touches.

Yes, the Titans and Preds occupy the same market and demand a large slice of the entertainment dollar. Uut also eats a good-sized slice of the pie, too. But at the end of the day, Vanderbilt has not properly invested in any of the necessary areas to make this program a success. After so many years, the public, media and fan base have come to the all-too-familiar conclusion that the university doesn't really care about the program, so why should they? How many people, if given a choice, like to support a loser?

Show me one area where Vanderbilt has done the right thing to assist this program. The indoor practice facility was built in 2013. That was five years ago. What has been done since then (marketed/promoted/utilized) to build on that event? Even that happening was watered down. It was spun as an all-sports project so as to protect some type of elitist image. Amazingly, if you watch the ribbon-cutting, James Franklin, the catalyst for the project, played either 3rd or 4th fiddle in the celebration. Really?

If you're going to play football in the SEC, then it's necessary to make more than a half-assed attempt to compete. With all the years of failed and miserable examples of what not to do, why continue to do the same thing and expect different results? Give these kids a fighting chance or else they're going to quit coming to play football at Vanderbilt. You can't be an eight-track tape in a digital universe.

Uut football is coming off arguably it's worse eight-year period in school history with bad coaches, bad publicity, and terrible on-field results. But if you look at the program, the school and athletic department are working hand-in-hand to raise and invest $340 million in updating/remodeling a PORTION of their stadium. They aggressively communicate and market to their fanbase and other segments of their universe.

While I'm not advocating going out to build a new stadium, I do think money needs to be invested in all areas of the program by the university. New and aggressive fund-raising, marketing and capital spending need to happen. A new strategic plan needs to be created and accepted by the university. Every aspect of the situation needs to be addressed and properly communicated to the various audiences.

Quite simply, Vanderbilt needs to re-launch the program.

Is this really all we've got? While I appreciate the success in non-revenue sports under Williams watch and the self-sustaining approach of Tim Corbin and the baseball program, we've got a dangerous situation on West End. Unfortunately, the spiral downward goes a lot faster than the reversed course.

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Re: Personally, I feel this football program has lost momentum.

Postby commadore » Fri Jun 15, 2018 4:55 pm

DeefromAtlanta wrote:Since I initially started this discussion, allow me to expand on why I feel the way I do.

I think it's safe to say that this board is supported by true Vanderbilt fans. And from looking at the usage on this board, I'll venture to say that our base hasn't gotten larger in the past four years and that season ticket sales have shown a steady decline in that same time period. Ironically, as Auric pointed out, we've seen an unprecedented success against our in-state rival. We've gone to a bowl game and have seen our recruiting show an uptick.

At the same time, Nashville has grown in size and perception. And from all indications, the growth is broad-based and supports a healthy economy. In addition, the university continues to hold a prestigious rank among colleges and universities in the country and has a very positive perception.

So why the malaise? Is it Mason's fault? No. It's much bigger than just him.

The simple explanation is the Vanderbilt administration, athletic department, and football program have made a conscious effort of not investing the time, money or other resources to generate excitement, build loyalty, or actively solicit members of the Nashville community to create a bandwagon. There isn't an aggressive attempt to affect the national alumnae base, either. It's my belief the university has passively accepted it's subservient role in SEC football to each of the communities it touches.

Yes, the Titans and Preds occupy the same market and demand a large slice of the entertainment dollar. Uut also eats a good-sized slice of the pie, too. But at the end of the day, Vanderbilt has not properly invested in any of the necessary areas to make this program a success. After so many years, the public, media and fan base have come to the all-too-familiar conclusion that the university doesn't really care about the program, so why should they? How many people, if given a choice, like to support a loser?

Show me one area where Vanderbilt has done the right thing to assist this program. The indoor practice facility was built in 2013. That was five years ago. What has been done since then (marketed/promoted/utilized) to build on that event? Even that happening was watered down. It was spun as an all-sports project so as to protect some type of elitist image. Amazingly, if you watch the ribbon-cutting, James Franklin, the catalyst for the project, played either 3rd or 4th fiddle in the celebration. Really?

If you're going to play football in the SEC, then it's necessary to make more than a half-assed attempt to compete. With all the years of failed and miserable examples of what not to do, why continue to do the same thing and expect different results? Give these kids a fighting chance or else they're going to quit coming to play football at Vanderbilt. You can't be an eight-track tape in a digital universe.

Uut football is coming off arguably it's worse eight-year period in school history with bad coaches, bad publicity, and terrible on-field results. But if you look at the program, the school and athletic department are working hand-in-hand to raise and invest $340 million in updating/remodeling a PORTION of their stadium. They aggressively communicate and market to their fanbase and other segments of their universe.

While I'm not advocating going out to build a new stadium, I do think money needs to be invested in all areas of the program by the university. New and aggressive fund-raising, marketing and capital spending need to happen. A new strategic plan needs to be created and accepted by the university. Every aspect of the situation needs to be addressed and properly communicated to the various audiences.

Quite simply, Vanderbilt needs to re-launch the program.

Is this really all we've got? While I appreciate the success in non-revenue sports under Williams watch and the self-sustaining approach of Tim Corbin and the baseball program, we've got a dangerous situation on West End. Unfortunately, the spiral downward goes a lot faster than the reversed course.


Winner, winner, chicken dinner. The only effort to market that I have seen are emails to NCC members who live 300 miles from the school.

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Re: Personally, I feel this football program has lost momentum.

Postby VandyPhile » Fri Jun 15, 2018 6:00 pm

To restate that, Kirkland Hall is not trying to impress you, or Birmingham, or the NCAA, or ESPN or any other sports interests. They only care about impressing Harvard and the extremes of academia. Understand that and many other things fall into place.

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Re: Personally, I feel this football program has lost momentum.

Postby commadore » Fri Jun 15, 2018 7:26 pm

VandyPhile wrote:To restate that, Kirkland Hall is not trying to impress you, or Birmingham, or the NCAA, or ESPN or any other sports interests. They only care about impressing Harvard and the extremes of academia. Understand that and many other things fall into place.


Then why not dissolve all sports programs and save money on it all. They could raze Dudley, Memorial, the Hawk, the football practice field and all the rest and have room for all kinds of academic endeavors.

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Re: Personally, I feel this football program has lost momentum.

Postby VanDSIRROM » Fri Jun 15, 2018 10:05 pm

commadore wrote:
VandyPhile wrote:To restate that, Kirkland Hall is not trying to impress you, or Birmingham, or the NCAA, or ESPN or any other sports interests. They only care about impressing Harvard and the extremes of academia. Understand that and many other things fall into place.


Then why not dissolve all sports programs and save money on it all. They could raze Dudley, Memorial, the Hawk, the football practice field and all the rest and have room for all kinds of academic endeavors.



Somehow, I think the Chancellor would love to do just that. Vanderbilt (even with success at most sports except football) is right back where it was before Gordon Gee changed the culture and James Franklin proved we could win at football even in the best conference in the country. Every Chancellor since WWII (except Gee) has wanted to kill athletics and bolster academics. I think Zeppos understands that if football spirals downward it will only be a matter of time until we will be like Tulane and Rice and he'll love it. Since the only Ingram on the BOT is now preoccupied with MLS, it's likely Zeppos will get his way. Jmo. :cry:
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Re: Personally, I feel this football program has lost momentum.

Postby dore43 » Fri Jun 15, 2018 10:55 pm

commadore wrote:
VandyPhile wrote:To restate that, Kirkland Hall is not trying to impress you, or Birmingham, or the NCAA, or ESPN or any other sports interests. They only care about impressing Harvard and the extremes of academia. Understand that and many other things fall into place.


Then why not dissolve all sports programs and save money on it all. They could raze Dudley, Memorial, the Hawk, the football practice field and all the rest and have room for all kinds of academic endeavors.


Most in Kirkland would be thrilled to do the next best thing - deemphasize athletics and join the UAA's Egghead Eight. Start some new conference football rivalries with University of Chicago and Wash U. Serenade Emory and NYU players with "Safety School" chants every time they step to the free throw line. Elevate fencing from Club to Competitive status and play all the Ivies....

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Re: Personally, I feel this football program has lost momentum.

Postby Johnmn555 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 12:17 am

Before you make demands for hundreds of millions of dollars for football, check the University's endowment in comparison to other elite schools. It's decent, but not great. As has been discussed in this thread, big bucks devoted to football facilities has not changed the fortunes of other private school programs. VU needs to find ways other than money money money to get the attention of recruits. Basically, what Vanderbilt needs is two consecutive successful coaches. The first will inevitably leave. The second is key. He's the guy who needs to sustain the momentum and solidify the reputation as a good program. It's tough to make two excellent hires in a row. We managed one but not two.

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Re: Personally, I feel this football program has lost momentum.

Postby ANCHORDOWN01 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 1:39 am

Regardless how successful our football program can become, we will always have several things working against us that other SEC teams simply can't relate to.

1. Small alumni. And not only small but since Vanderbilt gets students from the four corners of the USA, after graduation, many of them leave to go to LA, New York, Chicago etc-. Even wealthy professional alumni, it is always a tall order to get alumni from California to come to Nashville five or six times a year for a football game.

2. Side walk fans- UT fans still out number Vanderbilt fans in Nashville. When it comes to sidewalk fans, the state university will always have first pickins over a private university- whether its Vanderbilt-UT in Nashville or LSU-Tulane in New Orleans or Butler-Indiana U in Indianapolis.

3. Professional sports - Vanderbilt not only is a small private university but it is also happens to make its home in the largest city of any school in the SEC. Which also happens to have an NFL, NHL and soon MLS team. The competition for fan $$$ is significant. Name one major D-1 program that is in a major city with especially an NFL team that is really successful. Northwestern? Temple? Tulane? Cincinnati? Houston? Pittsburgh? UNC Charlotte? SMU? About the only exception to the rule was once the Miami Hurricane in their glory days probably had more fans in Miami than the Dolphins. Why do Alabama and Auburn fans take college football so seriously? Because college football is the only game in town, so to speak.

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Re: Personally, I feel this football program has lost momentum.

Postby charlestonalum » Sat Jun 16, 2018 6:35 am

Can we have it all?

All is defined as a prestigious university and a winning football program.

Answer is we will never know until we try something different and my bet is this administration will not do anything different. Changing the coach will make no difference as most people in this thread have stated or implied.

Until or unless a whole new approach is taken in football we will see the same old same old. I just hope basketball and all other sports succeed - watching what basketball did for Duke gives me some hope.



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