This Oct. 24, 2009, file photo shows Vanderbilt's head coach Bobby Johnson during an NCAA college football game against South Carolina, in Columbia, S.C. Bobby Johnson retired abruptly Wednesday, July 14, 2010, as the Commodores' head coach for what he called personal reasons.(AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain, File)
There is a lot of revising going on these days in the Southeastern Conference.
With five days remaining until the league’s football media days event, Vanderbilt sports information director Larry Leathers is having to update a 16-page coaching section in his guide to show Robbie Caldwell as the interim head coach following Bobby Johnson’s retirement. Johnson made his surprise announcement Wednesday.
“At least I’ll have Robbie as the head coach and some of his background,” a hurried Leathers said Thursday. “We’ll also have one story on Coach Johnson retiring. Throughout the book, there are still going to be references to Bobby Johnson, which is not the worst thing in the world because the whole staff is associated with Bobby, so it’s not like there is a complete changeover.”
Fortunately for Vanderbilt, the school is printing just 3,600 fact books.
It’s a more sizable mess at Georgia, which shipped out about half of its 21,000 guides a couple of weeks ago — when Bulldogs athletic director Damon Evans was making news for his late-night DUI arrest and extramarital antics. Evans was arrested June 30 and was forced to resign; July 6 was his final day on the job.
Georgia is reprinting more than 10,000 guides for media and donors that will show Frank Crumley as the interim athletic director. The cost due to the changes could reach $50,000, according to sports information director Claude Felton.
There are 15,000 Tennessee media guides currently being printed amid roster uncertainty following last week’s brawl at Bar Knoxville. Sophomore safety Darren Myles was dismissed by new coach Derek Dooley after the incident, but Myles will have a profile and his stats from last season in all 15,000 copies.
Tennessee sports information director Bud Ford said editing out Myles was not worth the cost.
“Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and go on,” Ford said. “There has never been a media guide that’s been totally correct, and there has never been one that’s been totally incorrect. Sometimes you’re lucky, and sometimes you’re not.
“Even when you wait until late June, there are things that will happen in July.”
Georgia, Florida and Ole Miss usually have their media guides printed first, but Ford prefers to wait to the last possible moment. By waiting this summer, he was able to include the June 23 hiring of former UT defensive back Andre Lott as the head of the Vol for Life/Character Education program.
This is the 45th Tennessee football media guide produced by Ford, who remembers one year having stickers attached to every copy when players were misidentified on the cover.
Felton has overseen 32 media guides during his time at Georgia and said this is the first time a reprint has been needed. Leathers is the youngster of the trio, having been responsible for 10 Vanderbilt guides, but Johnson’s retirement is the second jolt he’s dealt with in four years.
In July 2007, Leathers had to amend his guide after Vanderbilt chancellor Gordon Gee announced he was leaving to become Ohio State’s president.
“I think this all speaks to the importance of these publications to those in this part of the country,” Leathers said. “If you’ve got any chance of changing it, it’s important that you change it, because you know people are looking at it and using it as a reference all season long.”
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...