Vanderbilt Commodores football
2022 Vanderbilt Commodores football team
Vanderbilt Athletics.png
First season1890
Athletic directorCandice Storey Lee
Head coachClark Lea
1st season, 2–10 (.167)
StadiumVanderbilt Stadium
(capacity: 40,550)
FieldDudley Field
Year built1922
Field surfaceFieldTurf
LocationNashville, Tennessee
NCAA divisionDivision I
ConferenceSoutheastern Conference
Past conferencesIndependent (1890–1894)
SIAA (1895–1921)
Southern Conference (1922–1932)
All-time record610–633–50 (.491)
Bowl record4–4–1 (.500)
Unclaimed national titles2 (1921, 1922)
Conference titles14 (0 SEC)
RivalriesTennessee (rivalry)
Georgia (rivalry)
Ole Miss (rivalry)
Kentucky (rivalry)
Georgia Tech (rivalry)
Sewanee (rivalry)
Consensus All-Americans7[1]
Current uniform
Vanderbilt football unif.png
ColorsBlack and gold[2]
Fight songDynamite!
MascotMr. C
Marching bandSpirit of Gold Marching Band

The Vanderbilt Commodores football program represents Vanderbilt University in the sport of American football. The Commodores compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the East Division of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). They are led by head coach Clark Lea. Vanderbilt plays their home games at Vanderbilt Stadium, located on the university's Nashville, Tennessee campus.


Main article: History of Vanderbilt Commodores football

See also: List of Vanderbilt Commodores football seasons

Vanderbilt has a winning percentage of .492, the lowest among all members in the Southeastern Conference.

Head coaches

Main article: List of Vanderbilt Commodores head football coaches

Adopting the nickname the Commodores after the 1897 season, the team has played in 1,250 games over 126 seasons. In that time, six coaches have led the Commodores to a postseason bowl appearance: Art Guepe, Steve Sloan, George MacIntyre, Bobby Johnson, James Franklin and Derek Mason. Four have led them to a conference championship: R. G. Acton, W. H. Watkins, James R. Henry, and Dan McGugin. McGugin is the leader in seasons coached and games won, with 198 victories during his 30 years at Vanderbilt. He was awarded two National Championships retroactively by Clyde Berryman.

Of the 29 different head coaches who have led the Commodores, McGugin,[3] Ray Morrison,[4] Red Sanders,[5] and Bill Edwards[6] have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

The head coach is Clark Lea, who was hired on December 14, 2020.

Conference affiliations

Vanderbilt has been affiliated with the following conferences.[citation needed]


Conference championships

Vanderbilt has won 13 conference championships, with five shared and eight won outright.

Season Conference Coach Overall record Conference record
1897 SIAA R. G. Acton 6–0–1 3–0–1
1901 W. H. Watkins 6–1–1 6–0–1
1904 Dan McGugin 9–0 5–0
1905 7–1 6–0
1906 8–1 6–0
1907 5–1–1 4–0
1910 8–0–1 5–0
1911 8–1 6–0
1912 8–1–1 4–0–1
1915 9–1 5–0
1921 7–0–1 4–0–1
1922 SoCon 8–0–1 3–0
1923 5–2–1 3–0–1

† Co-champions

Bowl games

Vanderbilt has been invited to nine bowl games, with the Commodores garnering a record of 4–4–1 in bowl games.

Season Coach Bowl Opponent Result
1955 Art Guepe Gator Bowl Auburn W 25–13
1974 Steve Sloan Peach Bowl Texas Tech T 6–6
1982 George MacIntyre Hall of Fame Classic Air Force L 28–36
2008 Bobby Johnson Music City Bowl Boston College W 16–14
2011 James Franklin Liberty Bowl Cincinnati L 24–31
2012 Music City Bowl NC State W 38–24
2013 BBVA Compass Bowl Houston W 41–24
2016 Derek Mason Independence Bowl NC State L 17–41
2018 Texas Bowl Baylor L 38–45



Main article: Tennessee–Vanderbilt football rivalry

Tennessee vs. Vanderbilt 2007
Tennessee vs. Vanderbilt 2007

Vanderbilt and Tennessee have played 112 times since 1892 , Tennessee leads the series 75–32-5.[7] When the rivalry first started Vanderbilt dominated by taking 19 of the first 24 with 3 ties. From 1928 to 2011, Tennessee went 71–9–2 against Vanderbilt. But since 2012, Vanderbilt has won five of the last nine. The largest margin of victory for Vanderbilt was by 76 points in 1918 at Old Dudley Field in Nashville. (Vanderbilt 76, Tennessee 0) The largest defeat was 65 points in 1994 at Vanderbilt Stadium (Tennessee 65, Vanderbilt 0). The longest win streaks for Vanderbilt is (9) from 1901 to 1913. The longest win streak for Tennessee is 22, from 1983 to 2004.[8]


Main article: Georgia–Vanderbilt football rivalry

Georgia Vanderbilt 2011
Georgia Vanderbilt 2011

Having started in 1893, the Georgia-Vanderbilt football series has been played annually since 1968. The two are divisional opponents in the SEC East. The series, which rotates between Nashville, Tennessee, and Athens, Georgia, stands with Georgia leading 59-20–2 through the end of the 2021 season.[9]

Ole Miss

Main article: Ole Miss–Vanderbilt football rivalry

Ole Miss is Vanderbilt's cross-divisional rival in the SEC.

Vanderbilt and Ole Miss have played 92 times since 1894.[10] Ole Miss leads the series 51-39-2.[10] The largest margin of victory was by 91 points won by Vanderbilt in 1915. Vanderbilt also holds the longest win streaks in the series (18) from 1894 to 1938.


Main article: Kentucky–Vanderbilt football rivalry

Having started in 1896, the Kentucky-Vanderbilt football series has been played annually since 1953.[11] The two are divisional opponents in the SEC East. The series, which rotates between Nashville, Tennessee and Lexington, Kentucky, is led by Kentucky at 48-42–4 with the average score being Vanderbilt 16.9-Kentucky 15.6.[12]

Georgia Tech

Main article: Georgia Tech-Vanderbilt football rivalry

The Commodores first met the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in 1892 in Atlanta, Georgia with Vanderbilt winning 20–10.[13] Since 1924, the winning team in the series has received a silver-plated cowbell with the year and final score of each game engraved on it. The trophy was created by Ed F. Cavaleri, who was described by the Atlanta Constitution as “a faithful Georgia Tech supporter though he did not attend the Jacket institution,” according to Georgia Tech's website. Cavaleri purchased a cowbell at an Atlanta hardware store to use as a noise-maker while on his way to a game in 1924. The Commodores defeated Georgia Tech 3–0, however another fan in attendance suggested that Cavaleri award the bell to the winning team. The tradition was born and Cavaleri attended every game between the two teams from 1924 to 1967.[14] The cowbell has a gold plate screwed into each side, with “GEORGIA TECH-VANDERBILT FOOTBALL TROPHY” inscribed at the top. Three columns list the year of each game, Vanderbilt’s points scored and Georgia Tech’s points scored. The results of the games from 1924 to 1967 are engraved on one side; the results from 2002, 2003, 2009 and 2016 are on the other.[15] Vanderbilt is 15–20-3 against Georgia Tech in 38 games. The Commodores lost the last matchup 38–7 in 2016.


Main article: Sewanee–Vanderbilt football rivalry

Vanderbilt and the Sewanee Tigers were both founding members of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association (SIAA), the Southern Conference, and the Southeastern Conference (SEC). It is the oldest of Vanderbilt's rivalries;[16] dating back to 1891 when Vanderbilt played its second football game. Vanderbilt leads the series 40–8–4.[17] The largest margin of victory was in 1905 when Vanderbilt won 68–4. Usually played towards the end of the season on Thanksgiving Day, the two teams have not met again since 1944 and are unlikely to anytime soon as Sewanee plays in NCAA Division III.


Traditionally, Vanderbilt has featured differing designs of gold helmets, black jerseys, and gold or black pants at home, and gold helmets, white jerseys and gold, or white pants on the road. Meanwhile, the traditional alternate uniform saw gold helmets and jerseys matched with white pants.

The James Franklin (2011–2013), and Derek Mason (2014-2020) eras saw the introduction of several new combinations- including "blackout” (i.e. all black), and "whiteout" (i.e. all white) uniforms. The team's gold alternate jerseys were also re-designed with the addition of black shoulders and a more muted gold. Eventually, battleship gray was incorporated as well.

The Clark Lea (2021–Present) era has seen a return to traditional gold helmets (note: featuring a modernized “V” logo), black jerseys, and gold pants at home, and gold helmets, white jerseys, and gold (or white) pants on the road.

Individual awards

College Football Hall of Fame

Vanderbilt Commodore football personnel have been inducted into the National Football Foundation's National College Football Hall of Fame.[18]


Name Position Career
John J. Tigert HB 1901–1903
Josh Cody T 1914–1916, 1919
Lynn Bomar End 1921–1924
William Spears QB 1925–1927
Carl Hinkle C 1935–1937


Name Career
Dan McGugin 1904–1917, 1919–1934
Ray Morrison 1918, 1935–1939
Jess Neely 1920–1922*
Red Sanders 1940–1942, 1946–1948
Bill Edwards 1949–1952


Main article: List of Vanderbilt Commodores football All-Americans

Player Year Position
Zach Cunningham 2016 LB
Jordan Matthews 2013 WR
Casey Hayward 2011 CB
D.J. Moore 2008 DB
Earl Bennett 2006 WR
Jamie Winborn 1999 LB
Jamie Duncan 1997 LB
Bill Marinangel 1996 P
Boo Mitchell 1988 WR
Chris Gaines 1987 LB
Ricky Anderson 1984 P
Leonard Coleman 1983 DB
Chuck Scott 1983 TE
Jim Arnold 1982 P
Allama Matthews 1982 TE
Preston Brown 1979 Back
Barry Burton 1974 TE
Bob Asher 1969 T
Chip Healy 1968 LB
George Diedrich 1958 G
Charley Horton 1955 RB
Bill Wade 1951 QB
Bob Werckle 1951 T
Bucky Curtis 1950 End
Bob Gude 1941 C
Carl Hinkle 1937 C
Pete Gracey 1932 C
Bull Brown 1929 G
Dick Abernathy 1928 End
Bill Spears 1926, 1927 QB
Gil Reese 1923, 1924 Back
Henry Wakefield 1923, 1924 End
Oliver Kuhn 1922 QB
Lynn Bomar 1922, 1923 End
Josh Cody 1914, 1915, 1919 T
Irby Curry 1916 QB
Lewie Hardage 1912 Back
Ray Morrison 1911 QB
W. E. Metzger 1910 G
Bob Blake 1907 E
Owsley Manier 1906 Back

Consensus All-American

Vanderilt has had seven consensus All-Americans in their history. In 2016, Zach Cunningham became the first unanimous All-American in Vanderbilt's history.[19]

Player Year Position
Lynn Bomar 1923 E
Hek Wakefield 1924 E
Pete Gracey 1932 C
George Deiderich 1958 G
Jim Arnold 1982 P
Ricky Anderson 1984 P
Zach Cunningham 2016 LB


Main article: List of Vanderbilt Commodores football All-Southerns


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Year Captain
1890–1892 Elliott Jones
1893–1894 W. J. Keller
1895–1896 Phil Connell
1897 Howard Boogher
1898 Joe Goodson
1899 Walter H. Simmons
1900 John F. H. Barbee
1901 John Edgerton
1902 H. W. Davis
1903 Frank Kyle
1904 Irish Graham
1905 Innis Brown
1906 Dan Blake
1907 Bob Blake
1908 Vaughn Blake
1909 H. H. Williams
1910 Bill Neely
1911 Ray Morrison
1912 Lew Hardage
1913 Enoch Brown
1914 Ammie Sikes
1915 Russ Cohen
1916 Irby Curry
1917 Alfred T. Adams
1918 Herman Daves
1919 Josh Cody
1920 Johnny "Red" Floyd
1921 Pink Wade
1922 Jess Neely
1923 Doc Kuhn
1924 Tuck Kelly
1925 Gil Reese
1926 Neil Cargile
1927 Vernon Sharpe
1928 Jimmy Armistead
1929 Bull Brown
1930 Joe Scheffer
1931 Amos Leonard
1932 Chosen by game
1933 Chosen By Game
1934 Eugene Beck
1935 Charles W. Geny
1936 Dick Plasman
1937 Carl Hinkle
1938 Marvin. A. Franklin
1939 Raymond Andrus
1940 John Ellis
1941 Joe Atkinson
1942 Fred Holder
1943 James & Bob Hamilton
1944 Lee Austin & Dick Bostick
1945 Dick Bostick & James Hamilton
1946 Alf Satterfield
1947 John North & Tex Robertson
1948 John Clark
1949 Carl Copp
1950 Russ Faulkinberry
1951 Bob Werckle
1952 John Cheadle & Don Wade
1953 Larry Stone
1954 Pete Williams & John Hall
1955 Larry Frank & Jim Cunningham
1956 Don Orr & Art Demmas
1957 Bob Laws & Phil King
1958 Billy Grover
1959 No permanent captain
1960 Fred Riggs
1961 Cody Brinkley & Ed Creagh
1962 Jule Crocker & Mike Reese
1963 Sam Sullins
1964 Dave Malone, Bill Juday, & Wilford Fuqua
1965 Lane Wolbe
1966 Dave Maddux & Jim Thomas
1967 Bob Goodridge & Sid Ransom
1968 Mike Giltner & Rex Raines
1969 Bob Asher & Bill McDonald
1970 Steve Fritz, Mal Wall, & John Robinson
1971 John Carney & John Drake
1972 Jim Avery, Joe Cook, & Ken Stone
1973 Mark Ilgenfritz & Bo Patton
1974 David Lee
1975 Lonnie Sadler & Tom Galbierz
1976 Tom Ballman & David Hale
1977 Ed Parrish, Mike Birdsong, Reggie Calvin, & Mitch Lilly
1978 Randy Sittason & John Wooten
1979 Mike Ralston, Preston Brown, & Ronnie Myrick
1980 Phil Swindoll, Keith Phillips, & Rodney Gurley
1981 Rodney Gurley, Ken Hammond, & Andrew Coleman
1982 Whit Taylor, Allama Matthews, & Joe Staley
1983 Tom Moore, Steve Bearden, & Phil Roach
1984 Rob Monaco, Steve McCoy, Chuck Scott, & Manuel Young
1985 Steve Wade, Kermit Sykes, & Will Wolford
1986 Thanh Anderson, Mark Wracher, Mark Woehler, & Carl Woods
1987 Chris Gaines, Everett Crawford, Daryl Holt, & Carl Parker
1988 Eric Jones, Brent Turner, Joe Gentry, & Mike Johnson
1989 John Gromos, DeMond Winston, Andy McCarroll, & Greg Smith
1990 No permanent captains.
1991 Bobby Craycraft & Rod Keith
1992 Marcus Wilson & Marcus Young
1993 Gerald Collins, Tony Jackson, & Eric Dahlberg
1994 Gerald Collins & Eric Lewis
1995 No permanent captains.
1996 No permanent captains.
1997 Jamie Duncan, Corey Chavous, Jay Stallworth, Damian Allen, & John Bradley
1998 Rahim Batten, Clay Condrey, Jared McGrath, & Fred Vinson
1999 Jeff Barnett, Ainsley Battles, Lamont Turner, & Todd Yoder
2000 Ryan Aulds, Elliott Carson, John Markham; & Matt Stewart
2001 Jamie Byrum, Antuian Bradford, Nate Morrow, & Dan Stricker
2002 Jamie Byrum, Rushen Jones, & Dan Stricker
2003 Jay Cutler, Justin Geisinger, & Jovan Haye
2004 Jay Cutler, Justin Geisinger, Jovan Haye, & Chris Young
2005 Jay Cutler & Moses Osemwegie
2006 Brian Stamper & Jonathan Goff
2007 Jonathan Goff, Chris Williams, & Theo Horrocks
2008 Reshard Langford, Bradley Vierling, & George Smith
2009 Patrick Benoist, Ryan Hamilton, & Bradley Vierling
2010 Joey Bailey, T. J. Greenstone, Adam Smotherman, & Chris Marve
2011 Kyle Fischer, Casey Hayward, Chris Marve, Larry Smith, & Carey Spear
2012 Jordan Rodgers, Walker May, Archibald Barnes, Zac Stacy, Johnell Thomas, Javon Marshall, Wesley Johnson, & Carey Spear
2013 Austyn Carta-Samuels, Wesley Johnson, Jordan Matthews, Walker May, Chase Garnham, Andre Hal, Javon Marshall, Carey Spear, & Andrew East
2014 Andrew East, Joe Townsend, and Kyle Woestmann
2015 Darreon Herring, Spencer Pulley, and Ryan White
2016 Ryan White and Ralph Webb

Conference recognition

Vanderbilt Commodores personnel, including coaches and players, have received recognition from the Southeastern Conference for their performances on the football field.[18]

Most Valuable Player

Five Vanderbilt players have been awarded Most Valuable Player, with three of them being awarded over a six year span to Commodores.

Name Year
Bob Goodridge 1967
Bill Wade 1951
Jack Jenkins 1941
Carl Hinkle 1937
Willie Geny 1935

Offensive Player of the Year

One Vanderbilt player has won Offensive Player of the Year honors.

Name Year
Jay Cutler 2005

Freshman of the Year

Two players have won Freshman of the Year while at Vanderbilt.

Name Year
Kwane Doster 2002
Warren Norman 2009

Best Blocker

One Commodore has won Best Blocker, doing so twice.

Name Year
Jack Jenkins 1941, 1942

Best Wide Receiver

Name Year
Earl Bennett 2005–2007

Coach of the Year

Five Vanderbilt coaches have won Coach of the Year honors over the past century.

Name Year
Bobby Johnson 2008
George MacIntyre 1982
Art Guepe 1955
Red Sanders 1941
Ray Morrison 1937

Future opponents

Non-division opponents

Vanderbilt plays Ole Miss as a permanent non-division opponent annually and rotates around the West division among the other six schools.[20]

2022 2023 2024 2025
vs Ole Miss at Ole Miss vs Ole Miss at Ole Miss
at Alabama vs Auburn at LSU vs Arkansas

Non-conference opponents

Announced schedules as of April 26, 2020[21]

No games are scheduled for the 2030-2031 seasons.
2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2032 2033
at Hawaii Hawaii vs. Virginia Tech1 at Virginia Tech Austin Peay Eastern Kentucky SMU Purdue at Stanford Stanford
Elon Charleston Southern Norfolk State Georgia State NC State at Stanford at NC State at SMU
Wake Forest at Wake Forest SMU Colorado State at Colorado State
at Northern Illinois at UNLV at Georgia State
  1. The 2024 game with Virginia Tech will be played at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, TN.


  1. ^[bare URL PDF]
  2. ^ "Athletics". Vanderbilt University Brand Style Guide. Retrieved March 23, 2022.
  3. ^ Dan McGugin at the College Football Hall of Fame
  4. ^ Ray Morrison at the College Football Hall of Fame
  5. ^ Red Sanders at the College Football Hall of Fame
  6. ^ Bill Edwards at the College Football Hall of Fame
  7. ^ " : NCAAF Football : Series records : Tennessee vs. Vanderbilt".
  8. ^[bare URL PDF]
  9. ^ "Winsipedia - Georgia Bulldogs vs. Vanderbilt Commodores football series history".
  10. ^ a b " : NCAAF Football : Series records : Mississippi vs. Vanderbilt".
  11. ^ " : NCAAF Football : Series records : Kentucky vs. Vanderbilt".
  12. ^ "Kentucky Vanderbilt series". Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  13. ^ "Winsipedia - Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets vs. Vanderbilt Commodores football series history". Winsipedia.
  14. ^ "College Football News, Videos, Scores, Teams, Standings, Stats". FOX Sports.
  15. ^ "Inside The Chart: The Cowbell". Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. September 15, 2016.
  16. ^ William L. Traughber. "CHC- Sewanee Was Vandy's First Rival".
  17. ^ cf. William L. Traughber (2011). Vanderbilt Football: Tales of Commodore Gridiron History. p. 26. ISBN 9781609494230.
  18. ^ a b According to the Vanderbilt 2006 Football Media Guide.
  19. ^ "SEC Consensus All-Americans by the Numbers: Alabama has half the league's 2016 haul". 17 December 2016.
  20. ^ "SEC Future Football Schedule Rotation Announced". 19 May 2014. Retrieved 2014-06-14.
  21. ^ "Vanderbilt Commodores Football Future Schedules". Retrieved April 26, 2020.

Further reading