Roy Kramer


Roy Kramer (Director of Athletics, 1978-1990) 

A national champion football coach at Central Michigan University, Roy Kramer arrived in Nashville in 1978. In a dozen years he energized Vanderbilt’s athletic department with new facilities and popular coaches. At the time of his retirement from the position of Southeastern Conference Commissioner, many regarded him as the most powerful man in college athletics.

  • Rebuilt Vanderbilt Stadium 1981
  • Oversaw $6 million renovation of McGugin Center
  • Chairman of SEC Athletic Directors
  • Regarded as a leader in establishing SEC policies
  • 1984 SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament in Memorial Gym was the first sellout in league history
  • Vanderbilt hosted two NCAA First and Second Round NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournaments
  • Merged women’s and men’s athletic departments
  • SEC Commissioner highlights include expansion of the league from 10 to 12 members, creation of the SEC Football Championship, creator of the Bowl Championship Series, unprecedented league success, $1 billion network television contract
  • National Coach of the Year in NCAA Division II after Central Michigan won national championship
  • As a high school coach in Michigan, his teams won three state championships
  • Honored as the 2003 Distinguished American Sportsman (one of five so honored; the others were President George H. Bush, Bob Hope, Hugh Culverhouse, Charles O. Finley and Larry D. Striplin, Jr.)
  • Native of Maryville, Tennessee