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WTF Vandy? Final Four: Eddie Fogler Walks vs. JEFF GREEN TRAVELED

Ah, a walk versus a travel, look how that worked out.

NCAA Tournament - Georgetown v Ohio State Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

(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.


You knew this one was coming, didn’t you?

The 2006-07 basketball season was a fun one. After starting 1-3, including a season-opening loss to Georgetown (they’ll come up again) and also a home loss to Furman, but then things got rolling: Vanderbilt would go 17-5 over its next 22 games capped by an 83-70 win over #1 Florida, the eventual national champs, a game in which this happened:

Like I said, a fun season. Of course, after that game, Vanderbilt did its stereotypical late-season fade, going 2-3 and losing its first game of the SEC Tournament to Arkansas (which immediately followed a 15-point home loss to the Razorbacks to end the regular season.) At this point, I recall some national sports radio jock predicting that Vanderbilt would be out of the tournament, a prediction that ended up looking very dumb when the 20-11 Commodores not only got in, but were given a 6-seed.

Vanderbilt rolled past George Washington in the first round, then conquered Washington State (coached by first-year head coach Tony Bennett) in double overtime in the second round. That set up a rematch with Georgetown, the 2-seed that Vanderbilt had met in the season opener. That first game had ended up being a fairly easy 86-70 win for the Hoyas; this would not be so easy, with Vanderbilt seeking its first Elite Eight trip since 1965 (and only its second ever.)

Vanderbilt got out to an 18-6 lead early on, and led 32-24 at halftime. The Hoyas battled back, though, and led 64-61 with a minute left. Derrick Byars cut the lead to one with a pair of free throws, and then, after Patrick Ewing Jr. missed at the other end, Dan Cage got fouled on the rebound and sank two free throws to give Vanderbilt the lead with 19 seconds left.

And then, well...


13 years later, my blood still boils when I watch that clip. Yours should, too.


Which moment advances?

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  • 64%
    Eddie Fogler walks
    (89 votes)
  • 35%
    (48 votes)
137 votes total Vote Now