Vanderbilt has many football traditions that have grown in popularity over the years. Here is a history of some of those traditions.
In nautical terms, an anchor is a device used to prevent the motion of a vessel. An anchor can also be a person or object that can be relied upon for support, stability or security.
Vanderbilt football began using the anchor as a symbol of strength and support in 2004 under head coach Bobby Johnson, who wanted the anchor to symbolize unity and strength throughout the program.
When the football locker room was renovated in 2011, head coach James Franklin gave the anchor even more significance by commissioning a special display case constructed for the anchor to occupy year-round. At home games, the anchor is carried onto the field during a special pregame ceremony where select individuals are chosen to “drop the anchor” at midfield.
The Admiral (Stadium Horn)
The naval horn has resided atop the press box of Vanderbilt Stadium since 1993. It is used to remind fans of upcoming pre-game activities as well as being sounded when the football team takes the field and after every Commodore score. Since its inception, the honor of sounding the horn has always been the responsibility of Vanderbilt’s Navy ROTC. The horn was named by Bob Redd, a fan who won the naming contest in the summer of 2011.
Following each football team victory, a solid black flag with the Vanderbilt Athletics mark is hoisted above the west side of Vanderbilt Stadium, where it remains for seven days. This tradition began in 2004. Students and fans alike know to look for the victory flag after every conquest.
The Star Walk tradition began in the 1990s and expanded in 2021. The team’s walk to its stadium locker facility was quickly dubbed Star Walk in reference to the star logos painted along the route. Over the years, it has grown in interest through participation by the marching band and better communication with the fans. The best attended Star Walks have flooded Jess Neely Drive with Commodore faithful hoping to see and encourage their favorite player or coach. The team exits the practice facility gates and enter Natchez Trace, walking partially through Vandyville, and then onto Jess Nelly Drive, and then into the stadium tunnel. The spirit squads lead the team while the marching band plays along Natchez Trace.
Prior to every home Vanderbilt football game, guests can walk Natchez Trace and take in the sights and sounds of Vandyville, one of the SEC’s premier tailgating experiences. From our guests’ interaction with the football team as they march into the stadium to the sights and sounds of local musicians and artists playing on one of the stages throughout Vandyville, there is something for everyone. Kids of ages can stop by the kids’ zone located on the north portion of the outdoor track to enjoy a variety of interactive games, inflatables and more.
For information on season and single game tent rentals throughout Vandyville, click here.
Fight Song “Dynamite”
When VANDY starts to fight.
Down the field with blood to yield,
If need be, save the shield.
If vict’ry’s won, when battle’s done,
Then VANDY’s name will rise in fame.
Win not lose,
It’s ours to choose,
And VANDY’s game will be the same.
When VANDY starts to fight!
At the conclusion of every home game, the players retreat to the area of the field closest to the student section, where they lock arms and sing the alma mater with the student body.
(Text by Robert F. Vaughn, 1907)
On the city’s western border
Reared against the sky
Proudly stands our Alma Mater
As the years roll by.
Forward ever be thy watchword,
Conquer and Prevail.
Hail to thee our Alma Mater,
Vanderbilt, All Hail!
Cherished by thy sons and daughters,
Thy mem’ries sweet shall throng
Round our hearts, O Alma Mater,
As we sing our song.
Upon exiting the locker room for one last time before kickoff, the Commodores gather inside the tunnel before the doors open and they run through the smoke and onto the field.
Once inside the tunnel, players shout words of encouragement to one another as they hear the roar of the crowd for the first time.