Vandy AD David Williams and football coach James Franklin fired off an email today seeking input from alumni on future renovations to Vanderbilt Stadium.
The email in toto:
Our fans have stayed the course, and now, the momentum for Vanderbilt Athletics has never been greater. We are in the beginning stages of a bold project-reimagining the Stadium through a proposed renovation on its existing footprint. We need your help. Please complete a brief survey to share your input as we explore the idea of renovating our Stadium.
Unlike any other facility on campus, the Stadium brings students, faculty, alumni and fans together to cheer on our Vanderbilt Commodores. Enhancing our Stadium is also a key component in our ability to compete in the SEC, to athletics success over the long term and to our vision for an unparalleled undergraduate experience.
While no decisions have been made yet about this renovation, we hope this project will turn the Stadium into a showpiece for the university and the community. Your input will be valuable as we explore options for a Stadium that will provide an unforgettable game day experience.
We want to hear from our loyal Commodore fans. Please click on the link below to access the Vanderbilt Stadium survey. If you are an active National Commodore Club member, you will receive five bonus points upon completion of the survey, which will be added to your priority rank.
INSERT SURVEY LINK
We greatly appreciate your feedback and your support of Vanderbilt Athletics.
Obviously, this is very preliminary — call it the "visioning" stage. Nonetheless, it's obvious this is something the university plans on moving forward with (eventually).
For history buffs, Tom Wood has a collection of clippings from when the stadium went up in the 1920s.
Eric Johnson, dean of the Owen Graduate School of Management, has been named lead investigator on a $10 million grant from the National Science Foundation that will explore ways to better protect the confidentiality and privacy of patient information in electronic health records. Vanderbilt researchers will spend the next five years working on the topic alongside peers from Dartmouth College, the University of Illinois, The Johns Hopkins University and the University of Michigan.
Vanderbilt University biomedical engineering graduate student Charleson Bell is spending a few months out west this summer at the NewME Accelerator to develop his plans for BioNanovations, a concept-stage company that is developing a bacterial infection test that is much faster than products now on the market. BioNanovations has raised almost $200,000 in external funding to help Bell reach his goal of bringing TestQuick to market by 2017.
NewMEA is the second program of this type that Bell has attended. Last summer he qualified for the Zero to 510 medical device accelerator program which is also held in Memphis. It is a 90-day “mentorship driven” program that helps participants design prototypes and develop business plans. They also receive $50,000 in return for an early equity stake in their companies. Bell and BioNanovations was one of only three participants selected for a second 90-day phase, in which he received an additional $100,000 investment.
Impress your boss, dazzle your friends, bore your family with today's Numbers You Need:
450,000 — Payment, in dollars, to Austin Peay for their game at Tennessee Saturday, a 45-0 loss.
10,000,000 — Price, in dollars, of on-going stadium upgrades at Austin Peay
50 — Miles between Austin Peay's campus and Vanderbilt's. Despite this, Saturday will mark the schools' first meeting in football.
14 — Years between season-opening sellouts at Vanderbilt. Before Thursday's Ole Miss tilt, Vandy hadn't filled Dudley for its first game since Alabama came to Nashville in 1999.
9 — Consecutive seasons MTSU has played an ACC opponent. The Blue Raiders travel to Chapel Hill this weekend to take on North Carolina.
12 — Years since Tar Heels' coach Larry Fedora was the offensive coordinator at MTSU. In 2001, MTSU scored more than 30 points seven times, including a 70-point game against Idaho and a comeback against New Mexico State that included four touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
5 — Preseason touchdown passes by Titans back-up Ryan Fitzpatrick to lead the NFL.
26.9 — Average draft position for Chris Johnson in Yahoo fantasy football leagues. Johnson is the best-ranked Titan by ADP.
146.5 — Average draft position for the Titans' defense in Yahoo. That ranks last in the NFL.
131.75 — Reported transfer payment, in millions of dollars, paid by Spanish soccer team Real Madrid for the rights to Welsh player Gareth Bale. In soccer, teams pay other teams (in this case, the selling team was English side Tottenham Hotspur) for the rights to a player (as opposed to trades, as are standard in North America) and there is, of course, no salary cap. An explainer here.
20 — Percentage, roughly, of Real Madrid's $650 million 2012 revenue paid for Bale.
17,600,000 — The equivalent payment the Preds would make for a hypothetical Bale in a hypothetical hockey transfer window, based on a reported $88 million in revenue.
54,000,000 — The equivalent for the Titans, based on the $270 million in reported revenues.
Five things from the week to read today:
From VUCommodores.com: "Vanderbilt part of Nashville's first pro team in 1938"
Bill Traughber tells the tale of the 1938 Nashville Rebels, the city's first pro football team, which played in the 1930s American Football League (né the Midwest Football League).
The 0-2-1 Rebels were to play their first home game on October 23 with the Dayton Rosies at Sulphur Dell. An ad in the Tennessean promoting the game stated that ticket prices were $1.50 with the "End Section" 55 cents and a "Special Section for Colored People" 50 cents. This was in the South and segregation between the blacks and whites was strong.
The Tennessean previewed the Dayton game and professional football in Nashville:
The success or failure of the professional football idea in Nashville will be determined more or less definitely tomorrow afternoon at Sulphur Dell when the Nashville Rebels open their home season in the American League game with the strong Dayton Rosies.
Backers of the club will put a team on the field which they are confident is the strongest in the league. They have assembled the strongest array of players available, and unless the public's reaction is favorable it will be because that public isn't interested in the commercial brand of football, not because of any inferiority of the team.
From Sports Health: "The Curveball As A Risk Factor For Injury"
It's long been conventional wisdom that young pitchers should not start throwing the curveball too early as they risk damaging their still-developing arms. Four doctors sought to test it. The full paper is available as a PDF at the link. This, from the abstract:
Two biomechanical studies found greater horizontal adduction of the shoulder at ball release and less shoulder internal torque during the curveball pitching motion. Two studies demonstrated less proximal force and less torque at the elbow as the arm accelerated when throwing a curveball compared with a fastball, as well as greater supination of the forearm and less wrist extension. Electromyographic data suggested increased activity of extensor and supinator muscles for curveballs. No studies found increased force or torque about the elbow or shoulder. Three epidemiologic studies showed no significant association between pitching a curveball and upper extremity pain or injury. One retrospective epidemiologic study reported a 52% increase in shoulder pain in pitchers throwing a curveball, although this may have been due to confounders.
Conclusion: Despite much debate in the baseball community about the curveball’s safety in youth pitchers, limited biomechanical and most epidemiologic data do not indicate an increased risk of injury when compared with the fastball.
From Sporting News: "A fresh 'Miracle on Ice' story, courtesy of Team USA's David Poile"
Nashville Predators' general manager David Poile is serving in the same position for Team USA ahead of next year's Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The team gathered in Virginia this week for orientation and Poile had the biggest surprise of all: a 'Miracle on Ice' story no one had heard.
Poile, at the time, was the assistant general manager of the Atlanta Flames. The team had drafted goaltender Jim Craig three years before and, truth be told, didn't think all that highly of him.
"Very average," Poile said.
Then came the Olympics; Craig stopped 36 of 39 against Russia, finished the job against Finland, draped himself in the flag, became an icon of American sport -- so, yes, things changed.
"We probably would've signed him. We weren't even sure. Then they win the gold medal, and of course, we signed him," Poile said with a laugh.
The Olympics ended on a Sunday. Craig was a Flame by the middle of the week. He was in Atlanta by Friday. And when he touched down, he was in bad shape.
From Everyday Should Be Saturday: "THE BUSINESS OF PROTECTION"
The excellent Spencer Hall from the excellent EDSBS takes a look at offensive line coaches in college football. There's a great story about Vandy's Herb Hand, but the piece begins thus:
You should know this about offensive line coaches: they are large, demanding men with Falstaffian appetites, jutting jaws, and no governors on their speech engines. They eat titanic portions. They cram their lips full of dip in film study like they are loading a mortar. They drink bottled water like parched camels, and in their leisure time would consider a suitcase of beer to be a personal carry-on item for them, and them alone. They are terrifyingly disciplined in the moment, and nap like large breed dogs when allowed.
From Sporting News: "Vanderbilt forward Sheldon Jeter enrolls at Polk State College"
Sheldon Jeter is too good to play at Polk State College so why is he playing at Polk State College?
“Sheldon has indicated that he’d like to play closer to home, and we wish him the best,” Stallings said in the school’s release.
This week, Jeter enrolled at Polk State College. Polk is located in Winter Haven, Fla. So Jeter missed that whole "closer to home" goal by a bunch—468 miles, according to Mapquest. That was pretty much because Kevin Stallings said so, as well.
Stallings did not dictate the choice of Polk State, which competes in basketball with other primarily two-year schools in the Florida College System Activities Association. He did, however, deny Jeter the option to accept a basketball scholarship from the school closer to home where he wished to play: the University of Pittsburgh.
When the SEC went to 12 teams in 1992 and assigned — at the time — two permanent cross-divisional rivalries, Vanderbilt drew Alabama and Ole Miss. The former, like lots of things in the SEC, can be traced to Bear Bryant, who allegedly convinced other SEC coaches to assign opening games using a system where the first team in the alphabet would play the last, the second the next to last and so on. It was just convenient, of course, that Alabama was alphabetically first and Vanderbilt — the historically woeful Vanderbilt — was last (this also explains why Auburn and Tennessee used to play so frequently in the early part of the season).
Now, that story may be apocrypha (convincing apocrypha, but apocrypha nonetheless) and when the SEC halved the permanent opponents, it didn't think anything of eliminating an annual Tide-Commodore game (after all, Alabama needed to play Tennessee on the Third (and Now Sometimes Fourth) Saturday In October).
So Ole Miss remained and remains Vandy's annual cross-over game.
The game actually has a lot of history behind it. The Rebels are Vandy's second-longest continuous rival. The schools are the SEC's smallest and, culturally, share a lot of similarities.
And, historically, the teams have matched up well. Ole Miss leads the all-time series 47-37-2 and have held the lead in the series since 1985, though Vandy's six wins in the last eight years have them clawing back to even. Perhaps most interestingly, over 86 years Ole Miss has outscored Vanderbilt by 156 points, a margin of victory of 1.8 points per game (Vandy's single-digit win in Oxford last year brought that average down minimally).
The closeness, though, is influenced by some truly bizarre scores from the early days of the game.
Vanderbilt won the first 18 games in the series — all played in Tennessee and all but two (which were played in Memphis) played in Nashville — and in 14 of those, Ole Miss failed to score at all. Vandy won by at least 60 points three times, including in 1915 — the "Point Per Minute" team — when Vandy won by the unfathomable score of 91-0.
Upon the reunion of that team in 1975, John Bibb of The Tennessean related this story, retold in Bill Traughber's Vanderbilt Football:
The same 1915 team was heading for Memphis to face Ole Miss. The team was undefeated and unscored on. Somewhere near Dickson, Tennessee, the Commodores' train was halted and forced to sit for hours while crews worked to clear a freight train wrecked ahead on the tracks.
As student manager, part of Stahlman's duties was to attend the various needs of the individual players. As the day wore on, it became apparent the Commodore players faced the distinct possibility of no lunch. The dedicated Stahlman, departing the idled train made a forage into neighboring orchards and returned with pocketfuls of apples — noticeably green, but to the hungry football players, quite delicious.
Vandy was led by Irby "Rabbit" Curry — he scored six touchdowns and kicked eight points-after. Curry left Vandy in 1917 and enlisted. He became a pilot and was shot down over France in 1918. He was probably Dan McGugin's favorite player. Legend has it McGugin had three pictures in his office: Abe Lincoln, Robert E. Lee and Rabbit Curry.