Vanderbilt fans are rejoicing Monday as Chancellor Daniel Diermeier and Athletics Director Candice Storey Lee formally announced the Vandy United Fund, an ambitious $300 million dollar investment into athletics. Vanderbilt has already identified $200 million of that goal, with $100 million coming from the university, $90 million coming from anonymous donors, and $10 million from noted longtime supporter and Board of Trust member John R. Ingram.
“As the largest undertaking of its kind in Vanderbilt Athletics’ history, the Vandy United Fund represents a bold step for Vanderbilt athletics and the promise of an even brighter future,” Diermeier said in the press release. “This is our moment to turn the page, together, and start a new chapter for Vanderbilt athletics, for our student-athletes and for our many supporters. This is our opportunity to make good on the promise and potential of Vanderbilt athletics by investing in our student-athletes and providing a better fan experience, today and in the future, and creating an environment where our student-athletes can thrive and compete to win, now and for decades to come.”
Vanderbilt has also identified specifics on how the money will be spent, including:
Football Operations Center
This facility will house team-specific needs, such as meeting rooms, offices, training room, expanded locker room and more.
Expanded McGugin Center
The renovation will benefit all teams and include a new Sports Performance Center.
Indoor Football Practice Facility
This will include a full-length practice field adjacent to outdoor practice fields.
Basketball Operations Center
This facility will include team-specific needs for men’s and women’s basketball, including dedicated practice courts, a weight room, locker rooms, offices and more.
Upgraded Stadium Fan Experience
Improvements will include premium seating options, hospitality space, upgraded food and beverage options and other fan amenities.
Diermeier and Lee deserve much praise for bringing this to fruition. Lee, in particular, has come under criticism from fans (including myself), especially after the much-maligned “strategic plan” debacle last year. Time to give credit where it’s due. Vandy fans weren’t sure if we would ever see the day, but there is a real plan with substance in place now.
“Each of these projects is a significant undertaking in its own right; taken together, they catapult Vanderbilt’s ability to enhance success on and off the field for all of our student-athletes,” Lee said in the press release.
Regarding the fans, “We also want to deepen our relationship with our dedicated fans, including our proud alumni,” Lee said. “They deserve this investment as well, and we appreciate their passion and patience. While we prioritize building an infrastructure that directly and immediately impacts our student-athletes’ experience, we will also improve the fan experience with tangible upgrades, starting in Vanderbilt Stadium.”
Details for the next phase of the project, which could possibly include renderings of the facilities, will be announced in the summer. Construction on the football and basketball operations center is expected to begin following the 2021 football season. Currently, the new football locker room should be completed within the next five to six weeks according to Lee.