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WTF Vandy? Administrative Failures Round 1: (1) Paul Hoolahan Lets Eddie Fogler Walk vs. (9) R.A. Dickey Denied Admission

On one side, a wrongheaded decision. On the other... the administrative ur-failure.

Eddie Fogler

(1) Vanderbilt AD Paul Hoolahan Lets Eddie Fogler Leave for South Carolina, 1993

The administrative ur-failure:

In the end, Eddie Fogler said his decision to leave Vanderbilt for South Carolina came down to respect rather than money.

“Here the last four weeks, it went from a financial issue to principle to me-what is fair, what is equitable, what is right,” Fogler said Monday in a news conference at Vanderbilt.

“It got past the financial issue-what started the issue two years ago-to principle to me, and another great option came along.”

Fogler, 44, was named coach of the year Friday after leading Vanderbilt to a 28-6 record and a berth in the NCAA tournament. He accepted the South Carolina job a day later and one week after Bobby Cremins backed out and decided to stay at Georgia Tech.

“I could’ve finished my coaching career here,” Fogler said. “I wouldn’t have left to go somewhere just because of finances. That would be ridiculous.”

So let’s rewind a bit. Eddie Fogler took over for C.M. Newton in 1989. In his first season, taking over a team that had lost its three leading scorers (Frank Kornet, Barry Goheen, and Barry Booker) from the previous year, the team won the NIT. The next year, they got to the NCAA Tournament. Fogler — who was being paid well below his peers in the SEC — asked for a raise after that season and didn’t get it. After a rebuilding year in 1991-92 with talented transfers Bill McCaffrey (Duke) and Chris Lawson (Indiana) sitting out, Fogler’s fourth team at Vanderbilt went 28-6, 14-2 in the SEC, won the SEC regular season title (Vanderbilt’s first SEC title since 1974, and its most recent SEC title as of this writing), and made the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.

Fogler won the National Coach of the Year award, and a day later, he left Vanderbilt for South Carolina.

How this differed from James Franklin leaving 20 years later is clear. Franklin was going to leave Vanderbilt once Penn State came calling, and there really wasn’t much Vanderbilt could do to stop him. Fogler wanted to stay at Vanderbilt, but Chancellor Joe Wyatt and Athletic Director Paul Hoolahan, well...

“It was a financial issue, I don’t deny that,” Fogler said. “My financial situation was not the equal of my peers in the Southeastern Conference. I felt that should be looked at _ very nicely, I didn’t demand, I asked for that to be reviewed.”

The coach said that Vanderbilt chancellor Joe Wyatt didn’t respond to the request and that several people reported him to be out of town.

“Certainly, there’s phones in about every state I’ve been in,” he said.

Wyatt said in a statement Monday afternoon that he offered Thursday through the athletic director to speak with Fogler by telephone or to meet with him. But he said he doesn’t think a conversation would have changed things.

“ Certainly those conversations would not have altered the financial parameters under which Mr. (Paul) Hoolahan and the athletic department must operate ,” the statement read.

Fogler said he knew Vanderbilt could not come close to matching South Carolina’s offer of a base salary of $106,928, plus income from a shoe contract, a summer camp, and radio and television shows reaching at least another $250,000.

In other words: Eddie Fogler thought he deserved a raise — after winning the SEC and National Freaking Coach of the Year — and Joe Wyatt and Paul Hoolahan wouldn’t even talk to him.

And we think things are bad now. At least now we give the coach a raise whether he deserves one or not.

(9) R.A. Dickey’s Application for Admission Gets Denied

I’m not going to say much on this one other than the following: You know how you feel about Ron Mercer wanting to play for Vanderbilt, but being denied admission? Well, we could have had BOTH 2012 Cy Young Winners at Hawkins Field!

That’s right—Nashville native and MBA alum R.A. Dickey wanted to stay in Nashville and play for Vanderbilt. Worse yet, when he got Ron Mercer’d by Vandy Admissions, he signed with THOSE WHO SHALL NOT BE NAMED, was a three time All-American for the damned Chuggers, and was chosen in the 1st round of the 1996 MLB Draft by the Texas Rangers.

Though he is mostly known for remaking himself into a knuckleballer late in his career after an arm injury, Dickey was a flamethrower in college who was pretty much unhittable.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering whether he could have hacked it in the classroom? Well, he majored in English Lit at the school to the East—not some bullshit like Sports Management—and wrote a damned book in 2018. Safe to say Admissions got this one wrong. Infuriatingly wrong.

Just what the hell was going on in Admissions in the mid-90s, anyway???

Oh, and Tom reminded me after this was published that it’s rumored to be even more infuriating than that:

On Dickey

Chris Lee and George Plaster did a podcast a little while back where they talked about this. The gist of it was that Vanderbilt admitted a bunch of MBA students the year before and they all went elsewhere, so Vanderbilt’s response in Dickey’s class was to go nuclear on MBA and reject all or most of them.

Of course I’m over-simplifying. It’s a comment thread and I’m an idiot.

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Posted by Tom Stephenson on May 13, 2020 | 10:06 AM reply unrec (1)


Which moment advances?

This poll is closed

  • 93%
    Eddie Fogler walks
    (128 votes)
  • 6%
    R.A. Dickey Denied
    (9 votes)
137 votes total Vote Now