Hall of Fame Class Announced

Dores welcome 11 members into Vanderbilt Athletics Hall of Fame

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Eleven inductees into the Vanderbilt Athletics Hall of Fame were announced Saturday by vice chancellor and athletics director Candice Lee, including 2021 class members Jan van Breda Kolff (men’s basketball), Jim Foster (women’s basketball), Harriet Brumfield (women’s basketball), Walter Overton (football), Doug Nettles (football), Ray Morrison (football), Dansby Swanson (baseball), David Williams (athletic director), Dot Poag (administration), Michelle Peloquin (bowling) and Sydney Campbell (women’s tennis).

Members of the class will be recognized Jan. 28-30, with the official induction ceremony taking place Jan. 28 at the Vanderbilt Student Life Center. After the induction ceremony, the honorees will be recognized at the men’s and women’s basketball games during that weekend. The additions will bring the number of Hall of Fame inductees to 82 since it was established in 2008.

Jan van Breda Kolff (men’s basketball)

One of the all-time great Commodores, Jan van Breda Kolff led the Vanderbilt men’s basketball team to an SEC championship as a student-athlete in 1974 and returned to his alma mater where he won 104 games as a head coach.

A 6-foot-7 guard from Palos Verdes, California, van Breda Kolff was the SEC Player of the Year in 1974 when he led the team in rebounding (9.7/game) and assists (5.0/game) and was named second-team All-America by Converse Yearbook. Van Breda Kolff still holds the school record with 5.38 assists/game during his Commodore career. He remains the only player in school history to average more than 5.0 assists/game in three different seasons, and his 430 total assists still rank fifth all-time at Vanderbilt.

Van Breda Kolff spent seven seasons in the NBA and three in the ABA. He finished his professional career with 3,696 points, 2,572 rebounds, 1,178 assists and 468 blocks.

Jim Foster (women’s basketball)

Jim Foster, who retired after 40 years on the bench in 2018, guided numerous teams to the apex of college basketball. He was the eighth coach in NCAA women’s basketball history at all levels to earn 900 wins and seventh on the list with a record of 903-347. Foster found success right away at Vanderbilt by making it to the NCAA Elite Eight the first season and the program’s first NCAA Final Four one year later. Legendary Commodores who played for Foster include Chantelle Anderson, Mara Cunningham, Julie Powell, Rhonda Blades, Julie Harris, Sheri Sam and Heidi Gillingham.

The Commodores finished the 1992-93 season ranked No. 1 in the country after winning the SEC Tournament with a 30-3 record. After an impressive run through the NCAA Midwest Regional, Vanderbilt reached the Final Four in Atlanta.

In 11 seasons at Vanderbilt, Foster’s record was 256-99 (84-53 SEC) with 10 appearances in the NCAA Tournament. Foster was asked about his most memorable Commodore teams. Under Foster’s tenure, the Commodores managed to defeat rival Tennessee and Pat Summit on three occasions, including one of the most historic games in Memorial Gym history, a Jan. 30, 1993, win against the top-ranked Lady Vols.

Foster is the all-time winningest coach in Commodore history, the 1985 WBCA Coach of the Year, 1993 United States Basketball Writers Association Coach of the Year, and the head coach for the gold-medal winning teams at the 2002 World Championships for Young Women and 1997 World University Games.

Harriet Brumfield (women’s basketball)

Harriet Brumfield helped guide Vanderbilt to its first 20-win season and first bid to the AIAW National Tournament in 1982. Brumfield was the first Commodore to earn All-SEC honors; she did so three times. She led the Vanderbilt in scoring during three of her four seasons in Nashville. The Tampa, Florida, native left Vanderbilt as the program’s all-time leading scorer, and she still ranks third with 1,956 points. In addition, she is one of three Commodores to grab over 1,000 career rebounds.

Brumfield still ranks among the program’s top-10 for points in a game by a freshman, field goals made in a game, free throws made in a game, rebounds in a game, points in a season, field goals made in a season, free throws made in a season, rebounds in a season, career points, career rebounds and career minutes played.

Walter Overton (football)

A pioneer at every level, Walter Overton was among the first Black football players at Vanderbilt. The Nashville native was an all-state quarterback at Pearl High School before becoming the first Black quarterback to sign with the Commodores. He was moved to receiver as a sophomore and capped his Vanderbilt career with 46 receptions for 692 yards and four touchdowns. He concluded his collegiate career playing in the Peach Bowl, when Vanderbilt tied Texas Tech, 6-6.

Overton signed with the Green Bay Packers and was cut just before the season. He signed with Birmingham in the World Football League, but the league folded and he returned to Nashville to earn his law degree. He worked in several capacities for Metro Nashville and state government, while also serving as the small and minority business coordinator for the city.

In 2001, Overton joined the Nashville Sports Authority as its executive director. After serving in that role for five years, Overton became general manager of Nissan Stadium, home of the Tennessee Titans, until retiring in the spring of 2021. He has continued serving the game of football as a head referee at the high school level and was inducted into the Metro Nashville Public Schools Sports Hall of Fame in 2013.

Doug Nettles (football)

Doug Nettles was one of the first Black student-athletes to play football at Vanderbilt, and Vanderbilt’s first Black student-athlete to play in the NFL.

Nettles began his collegiate football in 1970 for Commodores’ head coach Bill Pace in an era where freshmen were ineligible for varsity competition. The 6-foot, 180-pound cornerback would start in his sophomore season never giving up his position through his senior year. He excelled on special teams — returning kickoffs that placed him in the Vanderbilt record book.

Nettles led Vanderbilt in kickoff returns for all three seasons he played. He left Vanderbilt as the all-time return leader in yardage (1,450), including a 95-yard touchdown, good for sixth all-time. Nettles would play in the Blue-Gray Classic and the Senior Bowl. It was at the postseason all-star games where Nettles’ draft stock rose.

The Baltimore Colts drafted Nettles in the fifth round (129th overall). In his rookie season, Nettles played in 13 games with four starts. He notched seven career interceptions with four blocked punts. After retiring from the NFL, Nettles was in medical sales for 20 years. He later became a teacher.

Ray Morrison (football)

The hand-picked successor of Dan McGugin, Ray Morrison was a first team All-American for Vanderbilt before succeeding McGugin as head coach. Morrison played for the Commodores from 1908 to 1911, helping Vanderbilt to a 30-6-2 record during his time. McGugin called him the greatest quarterback he ever saw as Morrison piloted Vandy to a 16-1-1 record over his final two seasons. The lone setback came, 9-8, at the hands of Michigan.

Morrison went on to be the first football coach at Southern Methodist from 1915 to 1916 before returning to Vanderbilt in 1918 when he served as interim coach while McGugin was in the military. Morrison returned to Southern Methodist in 1920 and introduced the forward pass to the Mustangs, capturing three Southwest Conference titles. Morrison returned to Vanderbilt upon McGugin’s retirement, coaching at his alma mater for four seasons. He was named SEC Coach of the Year in 1937. He concluded his career coaching at Temple and Austin College.

Dansby Swanson (baseball)

Dansby Swanson starred three seasons for the Vanderbilt baseball team. A middle infielder for the Commodores, Swanson helped Vandy to two College World Series final appearances, including a 156-54 record across his three years. A native of Marietta, Georgia, he was named the Most Outstanding Player of the 2014 College World Series as the Commodores captured the program’s first-ever national championship. Swanson concluded his Vanderbilt career by being selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2015 Major League Baseball Draft with the first overall pick, becoming just the second student-athlete in school history to be drafted No. 1 overall.

After advancing through the minors while being traded to Atlanta, Swanson made his Major League debut in 2016 and has been a mainstay in the lineup for the Braves since 2017. In 2021, he knocked in three runs in the World Series, helping the Braves to their first world championship since 1995.

David Williams II (athletic director)

David Williams II, who made an extraordinary impact on Vanderbilt, college athletics and higher education, was the first Black vice chancellor at Vanderbilt and dramatically elevated the student-athlete experience while leading its athletic department. He succeeded in building a program where student-athletes can achieve remarkable academic success while competing in one of the toughest athletics conferences.

Vanderbilt athletics experienced unprecedented success on and off the field during Williams’ tenure. During his 15 seasons at the helm of Vanderbilt Athletics, the Commodores won four national championships – in bowling, baseball and women’s tennis. Vanderbilt also won more than 19 league titles and tournaments, including the men’s golf and women’s tennis Southeastern Conference championships and the Southland Conference Bowling Championship. The Vanderbilt football team played in six bowl games during Williams’ tenure, breaking a 26-year drought in 2008.

A hallmark of Williams’ tenure was the expansion of academic and experiential opportunities for student-athletes. Because of his leadership, the university now offers the nation’s most comprehensive summer internship program for student-athletes. In addition, the award-winning Summer Bridge program for incoming first-year athletes was introduced to provide workshops on life and study skills. Vanderbilt student-athletes earned over a cumulative 3.0 grade-point average every year his final 13 years at Vanderbilt.

During his tenure as athletics director, Williams brought significant attention to sports’ impact on society, underscoring Vanderbilt’s rich and often troubled history during the civil rights movement. He was instrumental in leading efforts for recognition of and reconciliation with Vanderbilt pioneers, including Perry Wallace and Godfrey Dillard, and in educating current students, faculty and staff about the university’s past.

Williams joined the law faculty in 2000, when he began working in Vanderbilt administration as a vice chancellor, general counsel and secretary of the university. His areas of expertise included sports law, law and education, and tax law. In 2002, student affairs was added to his responsibilities, then athletics the following year. In 2012, he was officially given the title of vice chancellor for athletics and university affairs and athletics director.

Dot Poag (administration)

When Dot Poag retired from Vanderbilt Athletics as ticket manager in 1984, then-athletic director Roy Kramer called it the most significant retirement in Commodore history, saying that “no one has made a more significant contribution to Vanderbilt Athletics.”

The first woman to rise to a senior position in Vanderbilt Athletics and the athletic department’s longest tenured employee at the time of her retirement (she started at Vanderbilt in 1949, fresh out of business school), Poag made invaluable contributions as a member of the business and ticket offices.

A lifelong Commodore fan, she continued to work part-time and volunteer at Vanderbilt for 20 years after her official retirement. She still attends Vanderbilt games today at age 91.

Michelle Peloquin (bowling)

Michelle Peloquin helped the Vanderbilt bowling program to new heights during the infancy of its existence. From Enfield, Connecticut, Peloquin was named the national rookie of the year for the 2005-06 season after posting a 207.1 average — the third highest in program history. That marked the first of two years with All-America honors for Peloquin.

During her career, she made 11 all-tournament teams and was part of the program’s first 300 Baker game during the 2007 NCAA Tournament. Peloquin helped the Commodores to the 2007 NCAA national championship, while also earning Academic All-America honors.

Sydney Campbell (women’s tennis)

Arguably one of the most successful student-athletes in Vanderbilt history, Sydney Campbell compiled a 108-50 record in singles play and was ranked as high as seventh nationally during her illustrious career. She became Vanderbilt’s first singles player to reach the semifinals of the NCAA Singles Championship.

The 2017 SEC Tournament MVP and a three-time All-American, Campbell was named the 2017 Ohio Valley Regional Player of the Year. She was the 2014 SEC co-Freshman of the Year and twice made the SEC Academic Honor Roll. A native of Franklin, Tennessee, Campbell won 34 matches as a senior – the second-most in a single season at Vanderbilt.

Campbell played No. 1 singles on the 2015 team that won the NCAA and SEC Tournament titles. She also led Vanderbilt to the Final Four in 2016 and 2017.

The Vanderbilt Hall of Fame was established in 2008. Inductees are considered on three criteria:

Commodore Great – Letter winners and student-athletes who have brought recognition and prominence to the university and themselves by their athletic accomplishments as an undergraduate. Nominees are not eligible until two years after they last participated in intercollegiate athletics at the university.

Distinguished Letter Winners – Letter winners and student-athletes who have made major contributions to the university athletic program through personal time, effort, interest and through many years of continued service, or have distinguished themselves as exceptional in their chosen field of endeavor. Nominees are not eligible until six years after they last participated in intercollegiate athletics at the university.

Lifetime Achievement – Individuals, coaches, athletic officials, staff members and other university officials, who were not letter winners or student-athletes at Vanderbilt University, yet have rendered outstanding service to the intercollegiate athletics program through personal time, effort, interest and through many years of continued service.

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