Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

So, for the first time since I turned 21 (15) I didn't go out for New Years. I have to say I'm a fan. I know my head is thanking me for not having a massive hang-over today. Anyway we play Davidson in b-ball tomorrow to finish off the non-conference schedule (until a mid SEC schedule game against St. Mary's). Pretty happy with our season so far although that loss to Mizzou is still nawing at me.

In other news there was a short post on about some minor facility upgrades for the football program. While upgrading the locker room is not a huge deal and isn't going to lead to a bunch of 4-star guys signing with the Black and Gold, it is a nice step in the right direction. Hope these upgrades continue, with hopefully some bigger and more public upgrades coming down the road (close off the end-zone at the stadium? in-door practice facility?).

Anyway Happy New Year! If anyone is sitting on their couch today nursing a hangover and feel like talking Vandy sports, feel free to post a comment on whatever you want to talk about. Later.


AD said...

Happy New Year, Douglas.

Regarding facility improvements, discussion understandably has been vague, but is there a difference between improving locker rooms, weight rooms, practice fields, and the like, on one hand, and something like enclosing the stadium, on the other? The first primarily are for players, of course, and the second primarily for fans, but it seems like there's a timing difference too. We might want to upgrade athlete-centered facilities in order to lure better athletes, but I doubt the University will add more seats to the stadium before the fans show some initiative (i.e., both buy tickets and attend games). The picture of the crowd for the Wake game is well-circulated among your audience. As long as images like those exist, no administration should do something like enclose the stadium. Keep it nice, clean, up-to-date, fresh-looking (e.g., the new front entryway)? Of course. But a commitment to a major structural upgrade? Not until the fans commit to the University.

Best wishes to all in 2011.

Douglas James said...

I disagree AD. First enclosing the stadium does two things. First it increases fan capacity which as you said for the fans but it also adds room allowing the university to put in new offices for the football staff and as well as allowing for addition of luxury boxes which I think is a good way to include more "high level" boosters and alumni into the program.

The other thing is the university needs to be pro-active in their facility upgrades. The unversity didn't wait for the baseball program to get good to improve Hawkins field. Now I know that is a slightly different senario but I think a big step like enclosing the stadium and upgrading things like coaches offices, consessions, bathrooms, jumbotron are physical signs that the university is committed to making the football team a priority.

Stanimal said...

Happy New Year buddy. I too decided to refrain from going out and I am very thankful for it.

I'm siding with AD on this issue. I absolutely think that our first step should be to improve practice facilities, locker rooms, weight rooms, etc. The fact of the matter is that it's a bad business investment to do too much to the stadium for the benefit of non-Vanderbilt fans. While your point about Hawkins Field is well-taken, I think that the baseball team was starting to show signs of improvement and as a result they started to upgrade the facility.

I think it might be a better move to handle any improvements on an attendance basis. The more fans we get to the stadium, the more we provide improvements. Really do some research to figure out who is going to the these games. At the moment, it's poor, but I really believe that the Nashville community is hungry for a successful college football team. If we start winning, we'll see the tide turn.

The more the wins come in, the more the fan attendance increases, the more improvements we make to the stadium. That way, the university shows it's commitment to football while providing motivation for the coaching staff to build something here. As a starting point, you improve the facilities that are vital to create a successful program (the weight room, the practice field, the locker room). Once we string together two successful seasons, then let's start talking stadium improvements.

Anonymous said...

They will never dome the stadium.


A bubble over the existing practice field? Certainly could happen.

Douglas James said...

Hahahahahaha. Who suggested making the stadium a dome? What i'm saying is eventually a section to the stadium by closing off the end zone. Basically making it an O instead of a U shape. Don't worry nobody is suggesting adding a roof. Haha.

Douglas James said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mahoney said...

I'm on board with the didn't go out last night crowd. I think I was in bed by 11. Anyway, 2 questions:

1) Could someone please explain why having an indoor practice field is such a big deal? It seems that it would be helpful on rainy or very hot (or cold) days, or perhaps if you're Nick Saban and people are trying to videotape your practices, but why is this feature always cited as crucial when a program is doing facility upgrades? I always hear it mentioned along with weight rooms, locker rooms, etc. Other than the fact you're spending $$$ on it, what's the attraction?

2) I realize this may be a fairly obvious point, but our fan base is never going to be like the fan base of a Alabama, LSU, or UGA simply because we have a much smaller student population, and hence there are a lot fewer potential fans out there. Any idea about the attendance at games of other smaller-sized schools - not just academic ones like Duke or Northwestern, but private ones who don't have an elitist reputation, but do have a football program, and the public can feel ok about supporting, like they would a big state school. Now that I think of it, good examples are tough to come by...SMU? Miami/Ohio? Wake? Pittsburgh maybe. I know U of Miami is private and they've had a lot of f'ball success. Just curious how other schools with small bases have managed to do it...

Anonymous said...

I can help a bit on #2. Use this link for a PDF of all 2009 attendance results: (Scroll down to Page 6.)

Long story short: Vandy's attendance was actually comparable to most private schools. Baylor had 36K, Stanford 41K, Northwestern 24K, Wake 31K, BC 35K, TCU 38K, Tulane 25K, and Syracuse 39K.

The 3 outliers (to no one's surprise) are BYU, USC, and Notre Dame.