University of Tennessee Head Coach Buzz Peterson got his first taste of SEC basketball from 1993-96, when he was an assistant coach at Vanderbilt. VandyMania asked Peterson Thursday about his best memories of those years. Here's what he had to say:
A: Oh, those were good days. That's a tremendous place, and I enjoyed working there. It was a tremendous place to work. The support from the community was unbelievable. When I was there, just about every game was a sellout. But now... when I was there, you didn't have the Titans and the Predators. You didn't have that competition from pro sports. It was a little bit different. We were kind of the pro game in town. It's a little tough over there now because people at Vanderbilt can't afford everything. They go to some of those pro games.
But coming off of Fogler's good year, there was great excitement. I think Kevin's done a good job getting it back there. They've got a heck of a team. The renovations are really nice there... the home facility, Memorial Gym... I enjoyed my experience working there.
The best thing about it was, we had Magic [Majid Noori] in the training table right downstairs. You could go down there and eat any time you want to! That made it easy. But it was a great place to eat, I know that.
Q: You were under Jan Van Breda Kolff, and you also had Billy McCaffrey on that first team. Do you still keep up with those two guys, who are now at St. Bonaventure?
A: Oh yeah. Of course during the year it's hard to keep up with them, but I follow the games closely at St. Bonnie's, what Jan's doing. And Kevin, I see him every time we play over there. So it was just a great experience to work there. I learned a lot under Van Breda Kolff. He's a very good teacher.
We had the transition while I was there with Paul Hoolahan. That's one of the reasons I went to Vanderbilt as an assistant. I knew Paul Hoolahan from North Carolina days. Then they had the transition with him leaving, and Jim Foster took over him for a little bit.
I enjoyed my days there. The only reason I left was the opportunity to become a head coach at Appalachian State.