Vanderbilt Commodores

Vanderbilt Commodores

Infobox college athletics
name = Vanderbilt Commodores

university = Vanderbilt University
conference = Southeastern Conference | division = Division I (FBS)
director = N/A
city = Nashville
state = Tennessee
stateabb = TN
teams = 16 varsity teams
stadium = Vanderbilt Stadium
arena = Memorial Gymnasium
mascot = Mr. C
nickname = Commodores
fightsong = Dynamite
color1 = Black
color2 = Gold
hex1 = 000000
hex2 = 997F3D
pageurl =
pagename =

The Vanderbilt Commodores are the NCAA athletic teams of Vanderbilt University, located in Nashville, Tennessee. The university fields 16 varsity teams (6 men's teams and 10 women's teams), 14 of which compete in the Southeastern Conference. Vanderbilt is also a member of the American Lacrosse Conference.


The university's varsity teams include:

**No conference affiliation
***Affiliated with the American Lacrosse Conference

Athletics at Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt is a charter member of the SEC and is the conference's only private school. With approximately 6,400 undergraduates, the school is also the smallest in the conference; University of Mississippi, the next smallest, has nearly twice as many undergraduate students. Vanderbilt therefore fields fewer teams than any of its rivals and sometimes lacks the national prominence enjoyed by schools such as the University of Florida or the University of Kentucky. Men's and women's tennis and men's and women's basketball are traditionally Vanderbilt's strongest sports, with the more recently founded women's lacrosse and bowling programs as well as the long-standing men's baseball program experiencing moderate national success. After enjoying success in the first half of the 20th century, the football program has struggled in more recent times.

Lack of athletic department

Unique in NCAA's Division I, Vanderbilt does not administer intercollegiate athletics separately from other student organizations, but as a part of the university's Division of Student Life, which oversees all student organizations and activities. When the change was instituted in September 2003, Chancellor Gordon Gee cited a need to reform college athletics, returning the emphasis to the student half of student-athletes.

Mascot history

Vanderbilt's intercollegiate athletics teams are nicknamed the Commodores, in honor of the nickname given to Cornelius Vanderbilt, who made his fortune in shipping. Fans often refer to Vanderbilt athletic teams as "Dores" or use the cheer "Go Dores!"

The term commodore was used by the Navy during the mid- to late-nineteenth century. A commodore was the commanding officer of a task force of ships, and therefore higher in rank than a captain but lower in rank than an admiral. The closest parallel to this now-defunct rank is rear admiral lower-half. (In the Royal Navy, the designation of commodore was applied to the commanding officer of a convoy in the Second World War.)

Since the term was used most during the late nineteenth century—and because it was then that Cornelius received his nickname—Vanderbilt's mascot is always portrayed as a naval officer from the 1880s, complete with chops, cutlass, and nineteenth-century naval regalia.

chool colors

The school colors are black and gold. Opinions vary as to the reason for selecting black and gold as the colors for Vanderbilt's teams. Some say the original colors were orange and black, given to the university by Judge W.L. Granbery of Princeton. Others say that Commodore Vanderbilt's legacy was called upon to develop school colors for the university that bears his name: black for the magnate's control of coal and gold for his money.

When questioned about the subject in the 1930s, the few remaining members of the school's first football squad from 1890 did not recall why they suddenly began appearing in black and gold. Whatever the source of the colors, by 1892, the Commodores were known by the colors that Vanderbilt fans still wear today. [cite web |last = Hollywood Sportsbook and Casino |title = History of NCAA Football Teams |url = |accessdate = 2007-01-16 ]

Traditions and rivalries

;RivalriesVanderbilt's primary rival in almost every sport is the University of Tennessee. In addition, a rivalry exists with Ole Miss; the two schools play each other every year as SEC cross-division "permanent opponents." Recently, Wake Forest and Vanderbilt have agreed to a seven-game football series beginning in 2007, [cite news |last = The Associated Press |title = College Football Notes: Wake will begin seven-year series with Vanderbilt |work = Greensboro News & Record |date = 2006-09-16 |url = |accessdate = 2007-01-10 ] which could potentially lead to a new rival for the Commodores. Wake Forest, like Vanderbilt, is a private school which is the smallest in its conference, the ACC, and uses the same black and old gold as its colors.

;V-U Hand SignFormed by extending the thumb, index, and middle fingers of the hand (similar to the Serbian three-finger salute), the resulting shape forms a "V" and "U". This is a relatively recent development compared to other Vanderbilt traditions.

;Football gameday traditionsVanderbilt has a number of football traditions: the "Commodore Creed" in the football locker room; the "Corridor of Captains" that honors Vanderbilt's athletics history; the "Star Walk" with fans, cheerleaders, and the Spirit of Gold Marching Band; the "Star V," an on-field formation by the marching band; the "Touchdown Foghorn" from a U.S. Navy battleship that sounds when Vanderbilt scores; "Mr. Commodore," the mascot; "Freshman Walk" by first-year students rushing the football field before kickoff of each season's home open; the "Victory Flag" that is raised over Dudley Field after home wins; and the singing of the "Alma Mater" at the conclusion of a game (in most sports) - win or lose.

;Fight songThe Vanderbilt fight song, "Dynamite," was written by student Francis Craig in 1924. The song references the vigor with which Vanderbilt plays and the enthusiasm of the university's fans, who cheer regardless of the outcome of the game.

Recent success

Vanderbilt's athletics programs have seen more success in recent years, and 2006–2007 was one of the best in the school's athletic history. At one point, seven of Vanderbilt's 16 teams were ranked in the Top 25 of their respective sports. [cite press release | title = Seven Vanderbilt teams ranked in Top 25 | publisher = Vanderbilt University | date = 2007-02-23 | url = | accessdate = 2007-05-24 ] Women's bowling won the NCAA championship, bringing the university its first team championship since the advent of the NCAA. [cite web |last = Vanderbilt Athletic Department |title = Vanderbilt Bowlers Make History |publisher = Vanderbilt University |url = |accessdate = 2007-04-14 ]


Vanderbilt's baseball team has enjoyed a great deal of success in recent years. The team qualified for the NCAA Super Regionals in 2004, had the nation's top recruiting class in 2005 according to "Baseball America", [cite web |last = Kimmey |first = Will |title = Vandy Recruits Stay For Top Recruiting Class |work = Baseball America |date = 2005-10-11 |url = |accessdate = 2007-01-10 ] made the NCAA field again in 2006, and won the 2007 SEC regular-season and SEC tournament crowns. The Commodores were ranked first in most polls for a large portion of the 2007 season and earned the #1 national seed for the 2007 NCAA tournament.


Campus athletic facilities include:

*Vanderbilt Stadium, seating capacity: 40,200
*Memorial Gymnasium, 14,168
*Hawkins Field, 2,000
*Vanderbilt Soccer/Lacrosse Complex, 2,400
*Brownlee O. Currey Jr. Tennis Center.
*Vanderbilt Legends Club of Tennessee (off campus)


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