Vanderbilt has many football traditions that have grown in popularity over the years. Here is a history of some of those traditions.
Anchor (Watch Video)
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. The anchor is also taken to all road games.
When the football locker room was renovated in 2011, Coach James Franklin gave the anchor even more significance by commissioning a special display case constructed for the Anchor to occupy year-round. Additionally, 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) (Watch Video)
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.
Victory Flag (Watch Video)
Following each football team victory, a solid black flag with the Vanderbilt Athletic 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.
Star Walk (Watch Video)
The Star Walk tradition began in the 1990s after athletic department officials had stars, representing the athletic logo, painted on the sidewalk and Jess Neely Drive from the football team’s locker room facility in McGugin Center down the tunnel leading into Vanderbilt Stadium. 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.
Vandyville is a football tailgate community that has occurred on each home football game day since Sept. 17, 2005. Vanderbilt fans order tents and reserve locations from the athletic department, which are located along a closed Natchez Trace Parkway for six hours prior to kickoff. In a matter of years, Vandyville has swelled from nine tents that first game to over 50 tents in 2010 and has continued to grow. Vandyville, with its giant video screen tuned to the moment’s biggest college football game, is a popular meeting place and the pre-game place to see and be seen for all Commodore fans. New additions in 2011 included the `Dore Alley Walk by the football team from the south end to McGugin Center two hours and 15 minutes prior to kickoff, a Coca-Cola picnic area near the jumbo video screen, and an additional tailgate area – the Vandyville Too Kid’s Zone near Children’s Way and Natchez.
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!
Alma Mater (Watch Video)
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.
Dore Alley (Watch Video)
When the Commodores arrive on campus by bus before each home game, they are greeted by a throng of cheering supporters. The buses stop at the corner of Natchez Trace and Children’s Way, where the players and coaches gather their bags and walk north up Natchez Trace with the band and cheerleaders through the Vandyville tailgating area. This tradition began in 2011 and is called Dore Alley.
As the players and coaches walk through Vandyville, they get to shake hands and slap high-fives with fans of all ages. For the team, Dore Alley provides them with their first taste of the gameday atmosphere.
Tunnel Entrance (Watch Video)
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.