NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Vanderbilt has announced its five-member 2019 Vanderbilt Hall of Fame Class ahead of this year’s induction slated for Aug. 30. The class includes Josh Cody (football), Carla Thomas (women’s basketball), Bobby Reynolds (men’s tennis), Chris Gaines (football) and Laura Koerner Stewart (soccer).
The Aug. 30 recognition held at the Vanderbilt Student Life Center features a 6 p.m. reception with the ceremony starting at 7 p.m. Tickets for the event can be purchased online (use code HOF2019) or by calling 615.343.4889.
Cody (1914-16, 1919), a native of Franklin, Tennessee, is arguably the most decorated player in Vanderbilt gridiron history. In a career interrupted by World War I, Cody became the Commodores’ only three-time All-American, earning honors from the Football Writers Association of America in 1915, 1916 and 1919.
Regarded as a punishing blocker and bruising tackler, Cody helped guide the Commodores to a 21-3-3 overall record in his final three years on campus. As a sophomore, he was the main cog in a powerful Vanderbilt front that sparked Dan McGugin’s legendary “Point-a-Minute” offense in 1915. That year, the Commodores were 9-1 by tallying 514 points, including at least 50 points in five of the first six games.
Cody returned from a two-year duty in the U.S. Army to serve as captain of McGugin’s 1919 squad that went 5-1-2.
He was a versatile athlete as an undergraduate, lettering in football, track and field, basketball and baseball.
After graduating, Cody distinguished himself as a coach and athletic administrator. He returned to West End to serve two tenures as Vanderbilt’s head basketball coach (1923-27, 1931-36). He also served as head basketball coach at Clemson, Florida and Temple and as head football coach at Mercer, Clemson, Florida and Temple. Additionally, he was athletics director at Clemson, Florida and Temple.
In 1969, Cody was the only Southern player chosen to the FWAA’s Early Era All-American Team (1869-1918). He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1970 and the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in 1999.
A local product from Dupont High School in Old Hickory, Tennessee, Gaines (1984-87) capped off a stellar Vanderbilt career with by a remarkable campaign in 1987.
Gaines earned first team All-America honors from Kodak and the American Football Coaches Association as a senior in 1987 after setting school records with 136 solo stops and 214 total tackles. Gaines’ tackle total from the season also established a Southeastern Conference record.
Gaines put together a career-defining performance early in the 1987 season, posting 37 tackles against a run-oriented Tulane offense in New Orleans. Gaines’ tackle total against Tulane remains Vanderbilt’s single-game record.
Nashville sports columnist Larry Woody once described Gaines as “sort of a Rambo on a leash,” due to his imposing physique. Gaines was an avid weightlifter, and among the strongest Commodores of his era.
Gaines also was named Tennessee’s 1987 Amateur Athlete of the Year by the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame.
After his Vanderbilt career, Gaines racked up 18 tackles to earn MVP honors at the Blue-Gray All-Star Game. He was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the fifth round of the 1988 NFL Draft. His professional career included tenures with the Miami Dolphins of the NFL and Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League.
After retiring from football due to injury, Gaines returned to his alma mater as a conditioning coach (1995-96) and linebackers coach (1997). He was named the 1997 SEC Linebackers Coach of the Year after the Commodores led the league in total defense.
Thomas (2003-07) was only the third SEC women’s basketball student-athlete to earn the title of Southeastern Conference Tournament MVP twice and was a unanimous All-SEC first team selection in 2007. In Vanderbilt’s record book, Thomas ranks fifth in free throws made (360), fifth in career free throw percentage (.805), sixth with 1,774 career points, sixth in blocked shots (144), eighth in career points per game (13.6), and 10th in career field goal percentage (.543). She was the Commodores’ scoring leader during the 2006-07 (551) and 2005-06 (373) seasons, and the rebounds leader in 2006-07 (6.4) and 2005-06 (5.9).
Thomas earned NCAA Tournament All-Region honors in 2005 and in 2007 was named a Senior CLASS Award finalist.
The 2007 WBCA and AP All-America honorable mention student-athlete was selected 10th overall in the first round of the WNBA Draft by the Chicago Sky.
Reynolds (2001-03), the most decorated men’s tennis player in Commodore history, holds the program’s records for best career singles win percentage (.739), single-season singles wins (46) and single-season singles winning percentage (.868). Reynolds held the career singles wins record (99) until 2015.
In his final season as a Commodore, Reynolds earned the title of SEC Tournament MVP, first team All-SEC (singles), second team All-SEC (doubles) and ITA All-America.
Also a two-time member of the SEC Community Service team from 2002-2003, Reynolds led the Commodores to their first NCAA finale in 2003 and was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.
Reynolds concluded his collegiate career ranked No. 1 in the nation while being named SEC Player of the Year.
Reynolds went on to play professional tennis, reaching a ranking of No. 63 in singles and No. 46 in doubles. He appeared in a combined 37 grand slam main draws in singles and doubles.
Reynolds is married to Vanderbilt track and field standout and four-time All-American Josie Hahn, who is also a member of the Vanderbilt Athletics Hall of Fame.
Stewart (1996-98) was the most proficient scorer in Vanderbilt soccer history. She holds the Vanderbilt record for career goals (57), single-season goals (19), career points (140) and single-season points (46). The versatile Stewart also ranks fifth with 26 career assists. In addition to her school-record 19 goals in 1998, she added 16 goals in both the 1996 and 1997 seasons, ranking second among single-season performances.
Stewart holds three of Vanderbilt’s top four single-season goal totals. She scored a school-record four goals in a game three times and twice recorded nine points.
The 1996 All-American was twice named All-SEC first team in addition to a second-team honor. The NSCAA tabbed her to its all-region team in 1996, 1997 and 1998. Stewart earned a spot on the SEC All-Tournament team in 1997. The SEC recognized Stewart on its Academic Honor Roll in 1999.