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Like many Commodore fans, I was unable to attend Saturday’s game against Wake Forest. Between the disappointing result and the rampant speculation as to who will be the new head coach, something has been overlooked: a proper send off and “thank you” to Coach Caldwell and the rest of his staff. Despite Saturday’s result and the two incredibly frustrating years, this staff is responsible for Vanderbilt’s first bowl win since the Eisenhower administration. Respect should be paid.
Here’s what I suggest. The Vanderbilt men play a game Wednesday night against Western Kentucky, a very good opponent who beat the Commodores when they faced off last season, in Memorial Gym at 8pm. The students will have returned, and the game is likely to be well attended. At some point during the game, preferably halftime, Coach Caldwell should be honored. It doesn’t have to be much (here, less is certainly more), but he is certainly entitled to a small sign of Commodore fans’ gratitude for the work he did. Coach Caldwell inherited an incredibly difficult situation when he took over for Bobby Johnson 7 weeks before the season began. Despite these difficult circumstances, Coach Caldwell never made excuses and comported himself with class and dignity. That this season was disappointing is, at this point, besides the point. Coach Caldwell deserves one final opportunity to appear before the Vanderbilt community and he thanked. I really don’t think that’s asking too much.