Monday, February 24, 2014
When Vanderbilt Sports Went To The Dogs
Everyone knows that Vanderbilt's mascot is Mr. Commodore (see above), even though the present student wearing that costume at home athletic contests looks a bit different (younger) these days.
Believe it or not, there was a time a few years right before we entered the University in the Fall of 1969 and continuing for part of our freshman year, Vanderbilt's official mascot (at least recognized by one major student group) were a couple of basset hounds. It began back in 1964 and involved a on-field confrontation between one of the dogs (owned by a student) and a UT mascot (a Tennessee Walking Horse).
But 44 years ago this month (February, 1970) the bassset hounds were suddenly gone and a story in THE HUSTLER blamed their exit for the slump of the Vanderbilt basketball team which was on its way to posting a losing record for the first time after years of winning at least 20 games each season and being nationally ranked.
Here's the story from VUCommodores.com which explains it all...
It took all four years we were in school for the VU basketball program to get back to the 20-win level which we did our senior season (20-6). The very next year (1973-74) Vanderbilt won the SEC and went to the NCAA Tournament for only the second time in school history. Who knew it would take that long to get over "going to the dogs!!??"