NASVHILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Inside the Vanderbilt Recreation and Wellness Center is the school’s best kept secret.
The program that brought home Vandy’s first national title, the bowling team. A fact that isn’t widely known around campus.
“I still get comments in my classes like, oh, you’re on the bowling team,” said senior Mabel Cummins. “Oh, I didn’t know Vanderbilt had a bowling team. We have such an incredible group of talent here. When we win, it’s a win for Vanderbilt.”
It’s a program head coach John Williamson built from the ground up.
In just three years, the Commodores were hoisting their first NCAA championship. They would win another national title in 2018. In 19 seasons, the two-time national runner ups also took home three Southland Conference Tournament Championships and 40 tournament titles.
And, to think Williamson almost turned down the job.
“That’s a testament to the girls that we recruit and the culture that like they’ve helped — I mean, I’ve had Josie [Earnest Barnes] a part in shaping that, but like they’re the ones that carry it on,” said Williamson.
Williamson, a Franklin, TN native, walked on at Ole Miss as a slot receiver and would later spend one season working under Tim Corbin with the Commodores baseball team.
Those experiences helped mold the three-time national Coach of the Year.
“I try to explain more,” Williamson said. “I try to communicate more, I try to I try to figure out ways to get everybody involved. I was that person 20 years ago or 24 years ago, that that’s all I want to do is to get in. I’ve got sympathy for the who say the lower tier of the roster.”
The Commodores are now ranked 3rd in the nation, with a national Player of the Year hopeful in Cummins.
“It’s easy to get focused on wins and losses because that’s like what everyone sees or the people that see it, but like for us, it’s about graduating student athletes. It’s about creating people who will be positive members of society.”
Up next for Vanderbilt is the Stallings Invitational in Greensboro, NC from February 24-26.