Magic at the Training Table

In 1990, then Vanderbilt Athletics' Director Paul Hoolihan decided Vanderbilt needed a first-class training table to provide its student-athletes with the best possible nutrition. After a lengthy search, he hired executive chef Majid "Magic" Noori for the position.

Noori used his combined knowledge as a former athlete and food scientist to create the absolute best training table in all of college sports. Sports Illustrated Magazine has bestowed that honor on Vandy's magical food coach multiple times saying "he deserves his own Food Network Show."

Noori is in the closing stages of finishing a book that he has co-authored with Vanderbilt Media Relations member and editor of Commodore Nation Skip Anderson. The title of the book is Eating to Win with America's #1 Food Coach. Having now read a draft of the book twice, I wholeheartedly endorse it for all serious athletes and weekend warriors of all ages.

Recently, I had a chance to visit with Coach Noori and witness up close just what goes into feeding Vanderbilt's teams. I must say it was possibly the most uplifting couple of days I have experienced in quite a long time. Magic's friendliness and caring attitude toward the health and well-being of all he meets is infectious. Maybe, he should be the head chef at the United Nations!

Today in part one, Magic talks about his background and how he won the job over other applicants and the science of food. In part two, he talks about certain feeding certain players and a coach. In part three, we'll look at some of Magic's recipes and hear what some players and Coach Johnson has to say about the training table. I'll also reveal the favorite snack of a certain rookie NFL quarterback who credits Magic with helping him become the player he is today.

VM: Describe how you ended up as the food coach at Vanderbilt.

MN: I've been in Nashville almost 29 years. I have Physical Education and Sports Science degrees, and I was a competitive swimmer. Prior to coming to Vanderbilt, I was executive chef at Crawdaddy's Restaurant in downtown Nashville.

The former AD contacted me telling me Vandy wanted to start a training table. I asked him, "Do you want to make Vanderbilt the number one training table in the US?" He said of course he did. I told him to let me start it, and I would have it open for business in two weeks, which I did. That plus my background as a swimmer and my passion for working with athletes is what separated me from the numerous applicants for the job.

Sports Illustrated approached me and wrote about me, crediting me as having the top training table in the United States. They have now included me in five issues.

VM: What do you tell athletes when they first meet you?

MN: Athletes need to understand that they cannot become big and strong overnight. It takes time to build up. I tell them that I can help them take their game to the next level if they follow my advice to get the proper food, exercise, and rest.

I like to educate the kids by telling them they have to become their own food coach. They need to learn how to make the right decisions on what foods they should eat.

Rather than confuse athletes with the science of nutrition, I try to show them what foods to eat for basic nutrition. I provide them with a smoothie station for them to get fruit and vegetables. When they drink one of the smoothies, they have just had the equivalent of several fruits and vegetables.


Freshman defensive tackle Greg "Tank" Billinger enjoys Roast Chicken Breast (VM/Howell Peiser)

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