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WTF Vandy? Finals: The Hettening vs. Eddie Fogler Walks

This is it. The two most WTF? moments, as determined by voters.

Eddie Fogler

(5) August 28, 2014: Temple 37, Vanderbilt 7

Oh no, it’s the Hettening!!!

Yes, the game that has found its way into at least 4 entries in our WTF Bracket: The first game of the Derek Mason era. The game that, I dare say, continues to define the Derek Mason era. The game that ripped us from optimistic celebratory drinking to depressed gasoline drinking. The game that let us all know that the James “Old Bald Poach” Franklin era of Good Feelings was to be an outlier, rather than Vanderbilt’s new normal. And we learned it with the swiftness of a kick to the jimmies. And the person doing the kicking had the Murderleg of Carey Spear.

The game that launched the meter we use to determine the exact state of Vanderbilt sports—whether for how well, or how Lovecraftian horror story style terribly, our teams are currently performing. A “fan confidence meter” of sorts. The Het-o-Meter.

Well, by the end of this world-destroying season opener, the meter read as follows:

To fully appreciate just how WTF this game was, and the damage it has done to our collective psyches, ... see our collective Anchor of Gold writers’ preview and predictions for that 2014 season opener.

We were so damned optimistic. And justifiably so. Vanderbilt football had not known the success on the gridiron seen under The Old Bald Poach since Dan McGugin. Though the Poach left for Happy Valley’s State Penn, and took a sizable chunk of his last recruiting class with him, we still felt our football program would maintain at least a level of cromulence, and, I’ll say it, many of us thought we would improve! We hired a new Franklin, we all thought! We got Stanford’s Defensive Genius! We’re always going to go to bowl games, life will be nothing but beer and Skittles, and our children will all be apple cheeked and above average!

I mean, just look at our predictions for that game:

CDA’s Pick: Vanderbilt 33, Temple 20. Temple was good at losing close games in 2013, but Vandy - and Derek Mason - need to make a statement. It may not be the emphatic win that many fans are hoping for, but Temple may be overlooked in this one thanks to their emerging young quarterback.

VTPhD’s Pick: Vanderbilt 28, Temple 10. The new defense is able to cover the passing attack nicely. A 3-4 embiggens the smallest pass rush.

VandyImport’s Pick: Vanderbilt 37, Temple 13.

Beyond that, I was so confident, that instead of breaking down each team’s relative strengths and weaknesses, I put Nadia Harvin and #WetHet into the Vanderbilt lexicon:

Andrew VU ‘04: Derek Mason will attempt to drag the team coached by Dr. Steve Brule Temple Head Football Coach Matt Rhule umm... Administration Specialist, Head Football Coach Nadia Harvin, into “Deep Water,” thus getting their Het Wet. Temple’s been preparing for this all off-season, though, and have adopted #WetHet as their rallying cry. Will our deep water approach get their het wet? All but assuredly. Will we be ready for their wet het? We shall see.

Coach Harvin, apparently, is the first female Division I Head Football coach, and frankly, has done so with surprisingly little fanfare, which, while odd, is a positive development for female coaches working in men’s sports. Recently, when Greg Popovich named former WNBA star Becky Hammon as an assistant coach of the San Antonio Spurs, sports news agencies were tripping over themselves to cover this story, peppering the airwaves with nonsense like, “Can a woman really command the attention of a team of grown men” and “When they have to banish her to the woods five days monthly, how will the team fare down a member of its coaching staff?” Supporters of Hammon openly wondered if there ever would be a day when a woman would be given a coaching opportunity in a men’s sport and the news would not revolve around her being a woman.

In Administration Specialist, Head Coach Nadia Harvin, they appear to have gotten their wish. Truly, this is a banner moment for proponents of equality in the workforce.

She’s certainly qualified, as her resume indicates she’s paid her dues, working under seven head coaches while at Temple:

“She has worked with seven head coaches, beginning with Bruce Arians.”

Further, despite being named Head Coach, this football lifer has decided to adopt a dual role as her own Administrative Specialist. As most head coaches are perfectionists, it’s surprising Harvin is the first to take the “If you want anything done, you have to do it yourself” mindset to the duties of an administrative specialist. I support it, and will be rooting for Harvin and her boys when they’re not playing Vanderbilt.

The Pick: Vanderbilt 17, Temple 3. Though P.J. Walker is certainly a perfectly cromulent quarterback, his het will get far too wet to function against Mason’s gritty 3-4 defense. Both touchdowns will be scored by the defense. As will both field goals.

Then Thursday happened, it rained, we got curb stomped by an Atlantic 10 school, and we realized that maybe, just maybe, Mason and staff were not exactly at the same level of Franklin et al. Oh, and all of our hets got freaking soaked.

You don’t need anymore, do you? This should have been a damned #1 seed in this tournament. Think about how you felt before, during, and after that Temple game.

Vote accordingly.

(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.


Which moment advances?

This poll is closed

  • 45%
    The Hettening
    (93 votes)
  • 54%
    Eddie Fogler Walks
    (113 votes)
206 votes total Vote Now