Long-term deal will keep Corbin at Vanderbilt

Tim Corbin is staying at Vanderbilt, Chancellor Gordon Gee announced at a Friday press conference. The Commodore baseball head coach, who was interviewed Wednesday for the open head coaching position at Auburn, has signed a long-term deal which should keep him at Vanderbilt for years to come, Gee said. Includes complete text of Friday's press conference.

Tim Corbin is staying at Vanderbilt, Chancellor Gordon Gee announced at a Friday press conference. The Commodore baseball head coach, who was interviewed Wednesday for the open head coaching position at Auburn, has signed a long-term deal which should keep him at Vanderbilt for years to come, Gee said.

Corbin, who led Vanderbilt to its most successful season in history in 2004 with a 45-19 record and an NCAA Tournament appearance, was among the candidates to replace fired Tiger head coach Steve Renfroe.

In two seasons at Vanderbilt, Corbin's record is 72-47. The 2004 Commodores qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1980, and advanced to the Super Regionals for the first time in school history.

"I told [Auburn officials] they can interview him," said Vice Chancellor David Williams II, who is the head of Vanderbilt athletics. "But we are going to fight tooth and nail to keep him."

While Williams would not discuss the particulars of what he described as a "long term" contract, Chancellor Gordon Gee indicated the agreement will keep Corbin wearing black and gold well into the future.

"Our coach is going to stay with us for a very long time," said Gee, who described Corbin as "the best baseball coach in the country."

"The agreement includes a new indoor baseball facility to be built as well as locker rooms for the home and visiting teams, the absence of which made hosting NCAA post-season tournament games virtually impossible.

"I am a very happy man," said Corbin, 42. "And I'm very fired up to see my kids come back to campus in mid-August and we can start teaching and coaching again."

The announcement of Corbin's new contract comes two days after the death of the program's top benefactor and the baseball field's namesake, Charles Hawkins.

"My feelings for [Vanderbilt] are a direct correlation to my feelings for him," said Corbin, holding back tears. "We lost a good friend and supporter."

Callers lit up the phones on local talk-radio programs throughout the week to discuss whether the University would negotiate aggressively to keep the coach. Many viewed the question as a test of the administration's commitment to cultivating a winning athletic program.

"As a fan, it's a great thing because I know we're going to continue to have great baseball in the future," said a season ticket holder attending the press conference. "More than that, it shows Vanderbilt is committed to keeping a quality coach."

Corbin and his wife and their two daughters relocated to Nashville from Clemson, S.C. in 2002.


Transcript of Friday's press conference:

Chancellor Gordon Gee: "I'm going to be very, very short because this is a happy day. It's a happy Father's Day, and we are celebrating Father's Day for the university as a family. Vanderbilt University is about two things. It's about talent and excellence.

"And today those two meet in the very best possible way because we have what I believe is the most talented baseball coach in the country in Tim Corbin. We have committed ourselves to excellence, academically and certainly spiritually and socially and clearly athletically.

"And the fact that we're able to celebrate both of those on one occasion is something that's important and quite unusual.

"Obviously we would not be gathered here today if we were announcing that Tim Corbin was going to leave. I can assure you of that. We are announcing that our coach is staying with us, and he's going to stay with us for a very long time -- (Applause) – because we have made a commitment as a family that we're going to stay together and that we're going to work to build the greatness of this university in all facets.

"Tim Corbin is a teacher – one of the best that I've seen, and he fulfills that requirement of being a great teacher at a great institution, so today we celebrate him.

"I want you to also know that we celebrate Maggie who is back here, and Hannah who have all been part of this process, wherever they are. I just want to say publicly that this is always a family decision. It should be, it must be, it is, and the fact that they will be part of our family is very special to me.

"And then I want to acknowledge perhaps the most important family here, and that is the Hawkins family. If you'd all raise your hand. (Applause.) As you know (pause)-- I'm sorry, one can get very emotional about this. Charlie Hawkins meant as much to Vanderbilt as any single individual that I know. Charlie Hawkins died this week. Other than Gordon Gee, David Williams and a few other people, the happiest man in Nashville today is Charlie Hawkins, though. I can tell you that, and so we celebrate him, and we want you to (voice breaks) know that.

Vice Chancellor David Williams II: "On Monday Auburn called us, as most of you know, and they called us to get permission as they should to talk to the number one college baseball coach in America. And we gave them permission, as we will all the time, but I told them, "I'll give you permission to talk to him, but we're going to fight tooth and nail to keep him, and you are in a battle. We are not going to give up."

"We have been talking since Monday. We had and now still have the best baseball coach in America. We're going to build even a better baseball program, and soon we will see the World Series trophies, banners, whatever it takes, out there for a number of years, and as I told Tim, in 23 years, I want to turn on the TV as I'm retired and I want to see him walk out to the mound with a pot belly in the World Series to congratulate the winning pitcher, and they'll say he's been here 25, 27, 30 years, and this is the 30th straight trip to the World Series.

"We have signed a long-term contract. As our practice, I'll let you know now, we will not divulge any terms of that contract, so if you ask us, I'll be telling you, 'No comment.'

"I think it's a contract that we're comfortable with. I think Tim will tell you he's comfortable with it. We'll tell you two things about it, other than that it's long-term. We will immediately start to plan to build an indoor facility, and we will start plans to build a locker room at this stadium.

"I don't think I can do any more than what Gordon said. I think one of the things about Tim is, as we said, is more than coach. He's a teacher. He's a builder of young men. One of the real nice things – all of it was nice, talking to him, talking to Hannah – but the amazing thing is we started to talk about the locker room. One of the things Tim said is, 'In the locker room, I'd like to have a classroom, and I'd like to to be a classroom that people from the whole campus can come and use.' That's the sort of teacher-coach we have in Tim Corbin.

"We are happy that Tim will be a Commodore long past the time that I'll be working here, long past the time that Gordon will be here. In fact, we hope he'll be here for the rest of his life. Tim? (applause)

Coach Tim Corbin: "First of all, thanks for coming out. I'm surprised. There's got to be something else in Nashville going on right now, but my mind is going so many places at this point, from emotional to gratitude, to sheer happiness.

"June 22 was the time that I decided to come here, and I remember calling Vanderbilt and telling them that I was excited to be the next baseball coach, and I moved right in here. I'm in the same spot now that I was then. Sorry about the attire, but it's the attire of a baseball coach, a Vanderbilt baseball coach. But it just seems like yesterday I was up here doing the same thing.

"I want to first of all to say thank you to the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor,. It hasn't been an easy two days. I don't think I probably could have dreamed of it, but it was a lot of thinking and a lot of time spent. But I look at it this way: The time spent was for a university, for three families, my assistant coaches, and basically 35 kids that I coach, and the people that are surrounded by them that watch these kids play. So I think it's a good thing for a lot of people.

"I never, ever in my mind when I took this job would I feel like I was always looking ahead to go somewhere else. I never saw it this way. I could see it myself, like David mentioned, as a person that wanted to coach here his entire life, and coach those kids and have them come back five years, ten years after the day that I coached them with a big smile on their face and say, "Those were the greatest years of my life." So that's why you do these things.

"But I'm certainly happy to be here. My mind was just one where as a coach I wanted to go to Omaha. I want to have the ability to do so. After being in Texas for a weekend and surrounded by burnt orange and a lot of crazy Texans, you'd say I want that same situation at Hawkins Field and the ability to play Texas on your own field and beat them and play in a tournament that is starting to today.

"But with a lot of mixed emotions—mentioned from Charlie Hawkins from the get-go, and I'll try to – (pause) – excuse me, but I lost a good, good friend, and a supporter and a guy who went out of his way to make me feel comfortable, and more than anything, I think he would be happy about this situation. (Voice breaks) And I apologize for doing this, but I know this has been very tough on his family, and I couldn't believe it when I walked in and saw Lee Ann and Bill and his daughters here to see this, but he was just a tremendous guy, and my feelings for this place are a direct correlation of him. There's no doubt about it. He took me under his wing and got me out into the community with a lot of people, and made me feel good, made my wife feel good, and my parents even from New Hampshire. It's a great day for me, but, up there, I hope he's looking and thinking that this is a great day for him as well, and I know he feels that way. But I appreciate his family being here.

"And, again, I want to thank everyone, from the media to all the people that I work with over in the athletic department for coming here and seeing this. I appreciate it, and my wife Maggie, my daughter Hannah and Molly, who's somewhere else, but I appreciate everyone who has an interest in the baseball program and enough in the school to come over here and see this today.

"I'm a very happy man, and a very person and just fired up to see my kids come back on campus in mid-August so we can start coaching and teaching again. So that's all I have. I really appreciate it. Thank you very much."

Photos by Whitney D., copyright 2004 for VandyMania.com

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