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The forward momentum at Vanderbilt keeps on keeping on.
Thanks to new life breathed into the program by second-year coach James Franklin, the school has announced plans to build a hill or “berm” at the open end of Vanderbilt Stadium for fans attending Dores’ games this fall. The project will begin after Vandy’s spring scrimmage next week.
New SEC member Missouri has berm seating at one end of Faurot Field. Groves Stadium at Wake Forest — where Vandy played last season with a number of its administrators on hand — also features a berm area. Ditto Clemson’s and Virginia’s stadiums.
“I wouldn’t call it a hill,” VU de facto AD David Williams said at the announcement. “But it certainly won’t look like it’s looking now. Ours is on the line of, but not to the same effect as Wake’s. Wake’s is a natural hill. Ours is something we’re creating. With Wake’s, I think you enter at the top. Ours won’t be like that. I don’t think there’s any place that has it like this because ours is not going to be that huge.”
Hillside tickets are already available and Vanderbilt is targeting families for the area. According to Steve Walsh, the school’s director of sales and marketing:
“We want to appeal to fans with young kids… where their kids can run around and they can still watch the game and keep an eye on the kids. We want to make it more of a ‘blanket in the park’ thing.”
The Dores’ coach would like bigger and better things added to the stadium eventually, but Franklin says this is a start. “There have been discussions of building a football complex there. There have been discussions of closing the stadium in (with permanent seating). But until we prove we have a demand for those things, it’s hard to justify.”
He added: “This is a way to do something inexpensive, relatively speaking, that isn’t permanent. It can be bulldozed if we decide (to do something different in the future).”
Vanderbilt fans proved last bowl season that they would travel by gobbling up their allotment of tickets for the Liberty Bowl in Memphis. Now they’re being given another chance to step up and support what Franklin, Williams and Vanderbilt are attempting to build.
And that’s an honest to God SEC football program in Nashville.