It won't just be the name on the door to the head coach's office that will be new at Vanderbilt this season. It also will be everything behind that door, down the hall and throughout the football complex.
In less than a week interim coach Robbie Caldwell and his staff expect a fresh start with improved facilities.
Renovations in the coaches’ offices and the Stratton Foster Academic Center are scheduled to be completed in August.
“It’s going to be a tremendous asset to us,” Caldwell said. “Now we can bring recruits through there and show them the offices with pride. Contrary to what most people believe, young people recruit through their eyes. Not their minds, not their heart, but what they see.
"What they see now is a commitment by Vanderbilt towards athletics.”
Since the spring, the area in and around the McGugin Center has featured scaffolding, holes in the walls covered by plastic and the sound of countless hand and power tools. During that time, coaches have taken up residence in the pressbox and suite levels of Vanderbilt Stadium.
“There are two renovations going on right now,” said Director of Operations Michael Hazel. “One is our coaches’ offices. That includes offensive and defensive staff rooms, a larger staff room, and other conference rooms as well. It also includes our video services.”
The second area under construction is the Stratton Foster Academic Center, which services all of Vanderbilt’s student-athletes. Hazel listed new computer labs, tutoring rooms, and academic offices among the improvements.
Estimates are that the coaches' offices will be completed by the start of next week, days before the team begins full workouts. The Stratton Foster Academic Center is on pace to be completed in mid-August.
“Both projects will be much more functional as a result,” Hazel said. “It’s going to be much more conducive to students performing in classroom as well as beneficial for coaches in game-plan preparation and handling recruits and visitors.”
Caldwell says that the work is part of a continuous effort to improve the program.
A year ago, the football stadium got a new exterior look and fan entrances to enhance the game-day experience. This summer, the attention was turned toward the work week.
“Anything that we can do to benefit the players,” Caldwell said. “We just want our athletes to know that Vanderbilt is constantly striving to improve, whether athletics or academics.”