Anyway, as I am going through the box I start having flashbacks to my time in Nashville. Most of the credentials and tickets were from my time there. Everything from the football credentials, SEC Championship Game credentials, tickets to away games and even the ticket for the General Jackson which was the first real date with Courtney. It is easy to reminisce when you have so many fond memories and pieces to remind you of those memories.
Low and behold, around lunch I received a text asking me if I'd heard the rumors out of Nashville. Considering what all has happened here the past few weeks, nothing would surprise me. So I turned on ESPN Radio and find out Vanderbilt football coach Bobby Johnson is retiring. I texted a few people, called a few others. I also just found it odd today was the day where I looked at all those old credentials.
Bobby and Vanderbilt football was a huge part of my time there. I ran events and dealt with facilities, and football was my biggest task. While I started there in 2003, '04 was my first season in charge of football. Hopefully the memory of being at the stadium before anyone else on that first gameday will be with me forever.
And Bobby was someone who always made the job fun and enjoyable. Coaches are interesting creatures. You have to respect their desire to lead young people and win. At the same time they can be very demanding. Bobby was one of those coaches who you immediately respected not because he demanded it, but because he treated others with respect. He was a fine leader and a really great fit for the Vanderbilt model.
I was disappointed and a bit shocked to hear his announcement. My immediate thought was concern for his health and his family. He stated there were no health issues which caused this decision. Whatever the reason, you have to respect a man for making a very difficult decision.
No the timing is not perfect. It isn't even good. Make no mistake about it; Bobby is leaving Vanderbilt football in a better situation. He brought a true competitive spirit to Vandy that had been missing for years. His tenure should not be measured by the wins and losses. It should be measured by the success the program reached under his tenure. The first bowl appearance since 1982. The first bowl win since 1955. Victories over ranked opponents. Wins on the road at Georgia and hated rival UT. The SHOULD HAVE BEEN win at Florida (the mysterious "celebration" penalty - see below). Several NFL players. He did the right things to make Vandy as competitive as possible. It is a difficult place to win, yet Bobby made it work and made people respect Vanderbilt football.