The first stop on the "Behind the Dores" tour was the registration table, where every participant received a color-coded name tag. The colors told us which group we'd be in as we rotated through the various stations in McGugin Athletics Center.
Each group was accompanied by a coach and a player. Quarterbacks Coach Jimmy Kiser, starting quarterback Jay Cutler, I, and about 25 other fans were assigned to the yellow group.
George Plaster, Willy Daunic and Darren McFarland of 104.5 FM, the new flagship station of the Commodores, were broadcasting live from 3 to 7 inside the concourse.
Just past George, Willy, and Darren was the trivia table, where fans got to test their knowledge of Vanderbilt athletics in a 10-question trivia quiz.
After dinner, when the winner was announced, longtime VandyManiac "keepsportsfun" was rewarded for his perfect score of 10 with a football autographed by Coach Bobby Johnson.
As registration continued, fans had the chance to mingle with coaches, players and staff for autographs, photos, or just to say hello. Receivers Chris Young and Erik Davis posed for a photo between autographs.
Then the whistle blew, and it as time to get down to business. One-by-one the groups were called to begin their tours. Jay's hosting duties included holding the "yellow" balloons to show the yellow group where to gather for the beginning of the tour.
The first stop for the yellow group was the football weight room. John Sisk, Director of Strength, Speed and Conditioning, explained the basics of the strength and conditioning program, which includes eight weeks of summer workouts.
In the background, the red digital clock on the wall is counting down the days, hours, minutes and seconds until kick-off against South Carolina on September 4.
Next, we visited the training room, hosted by Head Athletic Trainer Tom Bossung. He explained that the training room is used by all sports. He is the supervisor of all the trainers who work with the separate sports, and he also works as the football trainer on a daily basis.
Here's where players come to be taped before games, for rehabilitation and for medical. He pointed out that one of the unique advantages of the facilities at Vandy is their close proximity to each other within the McGugin Center.
Not only are the weight room, locker room, and training room there, but also the sports medicine offices are right down the hall. So instead of having to travel across the campus, or across the city, to see their physicians, the doctors are right there in the building.
Next we visited with Offensive Coordinator Ted Cain. He explained, day-by-day, hour-by-hour, the schedule that the staff follows during the season between games, from grading the game tape following a game through developing and implementing the game plan for the next game.
For every day, the final item on the agenda was the same: Recruiting Calls. "Recruiting is like shaving," he said. "If you don't do it every day, you'll look like a bum."
Our fourth and final stop was the Hendrix Room, where acclaimed "food coach" Majid "Magic" Noori talked about the training table. Elizabeth McWright, Director of the Academic Center, also talked about the academic support services provided to the student-athletes.
On the way to the Hendrix Room, several fans took the opportunity to talk with Chancellor Gordon Gee, who was circulating through the building.
As we left the building, Baseball Coach Tim Corbin and the team were gathering outside of the McGugin Center, meeting and greeting any fans who happened to stop by to chat.
After dinner, Chancellor Gee, Coach Corbin, Vice Chancellor David Williams II, and Coach Bobby Johnson each addressed the crowd.
Coach Johnson got the biggest laugh of the night when he said with a dead-pan face, "Chancellor, since we are under the football stadium and it's sort of football territory, I hate to do this, but I will have to ask you to watch your damn cussin'."
After a brief business meeting, there was a little more time for schmoozing. I took advantage of the opportunity for one last photograph, with quarterbacks Jay Cutler and Steven Bright as the willing subjects.
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Photographs by Whitney D., copyright 2004 for Vandymania.com.