Vandy Lance speaks out

The phone rang last night and it was Lance Smith, better known as "Vandy Lance", the Commodores' most famous fan. Lance once again had a few things to get off his chest. At first I was skeptical as to what could be so important but after talking with him I was glad he called.

First off Lance wanted to reiterate that he was going to be once again attending Commodore sporting events despite reported trouble between him and some of the Vanderbilt Police officers.

"To the police of Vanderbilt University and the people who run Vanderbilt, I'm still going to be at the games," said Smith. "I'm not mad at anybody."

Lance says he never heard from anyone at the University to address what he said was harassment by certain members of the VU police but he's doesn't care, he's going to the games anyway.

Smith says that head coach Tim Corbin wanted him at the games during the recent National Championship regular season but Smith chose to stay away to avoid distracting the team.

"I told him (Corbin) that I didn't want to interrupt their season." said Smith. "I realize that some people don't like my style but coach Corbin and these kids want me at the game and that's where I'm going to be."

Smith is very worried that the recent guilty verdicts against two former Vandy football players will have lingering effects on the athletic programs at the University. Smith pointed out that Vandy isn't the only prestigious university to have rape charges brought up against its athletes. He mentioned schools like Stanford and Navy as other schools that have had similar situations. Smith is especially worried that some of the academians at VU will push for less emphasis on success in athletics.

"I understand that they would be upset, with their school being featured and pointed out," said Smith. "But there's so many other good kids in every sport, including FOOTBALL, that deserve the university's support. Please don't label all the student athletes that I've been fortunate to meet and know."

Lance wants to ensure that the academians understand that all the student athletes aren’t behaving like the recently convicted former players.

In regards to the recent verdicts, Lance believes that the Vandy nation needs to come together. While he realizes that the Vandy situation is not like the Penn State situation in that the VU administration didn't try to cover-up the offenses of its own while Nitanny Lion officials turned a blind eye, he does believe that Penn State set the example on how an institution could come together during very distressing times.

"We need to stop throwing rocks at each other." said Smith. We've got to come together like Penn State did. We aren't Penn State but we need to come together like they did."

One topic that really worries Smith is the retention of good coaches at Vanderbilt, especially Tim Corbin who coached the Commodores to a baseball National Championship in 2014. Smith wants Corbin to be taken care of, contract wise. "It's one thing to not care about fans like me who don't have much money but please take care of the absolute best baseball program. That baseball program, they are the same program that Alabama is in the sport of football. Corbin can pick, choose and coach whoever he wants. Please do not mess this up Vanderbilt!"

Smith, named one of college football's top fans by ESPN a few years ago, believes that Vandy needs sidewalk fans. Vanderbilt is one of the smallest institutions enrollment wise of the power conferences. Because of a small number of alumni which is generally spread all over the United States, the university needs to attract more local fans while taking care of the those local non-grads that are already ardent supporters of the Commodore program.

"You might not think there are many of us sidewalk fans out here but there are," said Smith.

In regards to recent Vanderbilt success in sports over the past ten years including bowl wins, a baseball national title and general dominance, basketball conference tourney championships, Smith pointed out that he's noticed a change in opposing fan's perception of Vanderbilt.

"I got sick of being everybody's 'second favorite' team over the years but we aren't anyone's second favorite team anymore."

In closing Smith reaffirmed his love and dedication to Vanderbilt athletics but he also challenged anyone who wants to discuss his ideas and beliefs as to how things should be done at McGugin.

"I lose ball games; I don't lose arguments." said Smith. "Anchor Down!"

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