New Vanderbilt athletic director meets media for first time on West End.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Ahead of attending his first basketball game as Vanderbilt’s new athletic director, Malcolm Turner met with the media for his first in-person press conference as the head man in charge of the Commodores’ athletic department.
Here is what Turner had to say:
• On finally arriving as Vanderbilt’s new athletic director on Friday: “This was a day I’ve been waiting for for some time.”
• On the transition period: “There was a bit of that transition, relocating to Nashville, starting to have some early conversations both within the department and trying to start to build and create relationships with our coaches and the relationships here at Vanderbilt University. I was overwhelmed by the feedback and response.”
• On his early plans at Vanderbilt: “I’ve never gone into any new situation with all the answers to the test. I’m going to do a bit of a listening tour and try to talk to as many people as I can within the athletic department, student-athletes, coaches, fan base, partners and well beyond … I come to this role with initial ideas that I will test in those conversations.”
• On lessons learned in his first few days at Vanderbilt: “There’s been a high level of achievement and great accomplishments to date. But I’d like to say, let’s find out what our ceiling is.”
• On the importance of academics and it attracting him to Vanderbilt: “The academic piece of it has always been very important to me. That goes back in many respects to my mother. She desegregated the University of South Carolina. This is someone who demonstrated great courage and literally had to fight for great education.”
• Should football be the driving force being Vanderbilt’s athletic department? Turner: “I think it’s important. I’m not going to say it’s the only bus, but it is a key driver. There’s no doubt about it.”
• On the importance of student-athletes’ perspective during his listening tour: “Very much. I think it’s important. They know it first-hand and I think they all will have unique points of view.”
• Can fans offer feedback to Turner in the future? “We will be setting up a vehicle to do just that. I would ask you to stay tuned. That will be an important area for me.”
Zac Ellis is the Writer and Digital Media Editor for Vanderbilt Athletics.