College basketball: FGCU men fend off feisty Lipscomb

By Tom Wood NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Zach Johnson watched his Florida Gulf Coast basketball team squander a big first-half lead. And with another meltdown a real possibility, the sophomore guard wasn’t about to let it happen again. Thanks in large part to Johnson’s big plays down the stretch, the Eagles (14-5, 3-0 ASUN) hung on for an 84-80 victory over scrappy Lipscomb (10-10, 2-1) on Continue reading

FGCU women ride 3-pointers to victory

By Tom Wood NASHVILLE, Tenn. – When one team’s shooting is red-hot from outside and the opponent goes ice-cold, the final result can be pretty lopsided. That was certainly the case yesterday at Allen Arena as the FGCU women (13-6, 2-0 ASUN) rolled to a 90-63 victory over host Lipscomb (3-14, 0-2). The Eagles shot 52.2 percent (12-23) from 3-point range while limiting Lipscomb to Continue reading

The 2016 Final Edition

Of Bowls and Books: A Fun Way to End the Year What a way to wrap up 2016. Most of last week was spent writing for the Nashville Ledger about how the Vanderbilt football program has fared under third-year coach Derek Mason, who this season got the team to the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La. The package of articles are now in the Dec. 16-22 print edition Continue reading

Who’ll Be Millionth Music City Bowl Fan?

By Tom Wood Arrive early. Not too soon. But promptly. That’s the ticket to becoming the millionth fan to attend the Music City Bowl. At least that’s my strategy going into Friday’s 2:30 p.m. (CST) kickoff of the 19th annual Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl between Tennessee (8-4) and Nebraska (9-3). The game begins at 2:30 p.m., and will be televised on ESPN. Gates Continue reading

Vandy Football: ‘We Always Believed in Coach Mason’

By Tom Wood “I spent the last 24 months driving past this orange mailbox, and I wanted to hit it every day. Every day. Sometimes I’d swerve and I’d pull back and just keep going. Now I don’t have to hit it. I just wave at it.” — Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason on his team’s win against rival Tennessee In these heady times – rich Continue reading

Vandy Football: Longtime fan Wyatt judges Mason’s progress as coach

By Tom Wood You might not know this, but Vanderbilt football coach Derek Mason has a lot in common with Nashville Criminal Court Judge Randall Wyatt. Both believe in Commodore football. And like the well-respected judge, Mason has a background in law. The Phoenix native earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Northern Arizona in 1993. Of course, the two men practice their specialties Continue reading

Vandy Football: Mason promises tattoo if Commodores win bowl

By Tom Wood Ardent Vanderbilt football fan Mike Harris patiently waited in line for nearly a half hour to spend a few minutes talking with Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason. It was Dec. 4, and the Commodore faithful had gathered at the Student Life Center on campus to hear players and coaches discuss the team’s upcoming Independence Bowl trip to Shreveport, Louisiana, to play North Carolina Continue reading

The December 2016 Edition

The Spirit of Christmas Lives at Dickens Event If you’ve never been to Dickens of a Christmas in Franklin, Tennessee, you might want to check it out this weekend (Dec. 10-11). Hailed as “the largest Christmas festival in Middle Tennessee,” it is a celebration of the Victorian era and All Things Dickens. This year’s event is the weekend of Dec. 10-11. Santa will be there, of Continue reading

The November 2016 Edition

Talking With Melinda Doolittle I have a new hero. Or, rather, a new Idol. That would be the incredibly gifted singer Melinda Doolittle, whose 2006 audition for American Idol helped launch her transition from professional background vocalist to music artist. The Belmont University graduate finished third in the American Idol Season Six competition (which aired in 2007), and she has spent the past decade crisscrossing the world with appearances Continue reading

Memorial Magic turns into disappearing act

Vanderbilt’s new coaches work to reverse fading attendance By Tom Wood For the Nashville Ledger Memorial Gym Magic hasn’t exactly disappeared, but fans of Vanderbilt’s storied basketball programs certainly have. In droves. Only time will tell if new Commodores coaches Bryce Drew and Stephanie White can halt the attendance tailspin of the final six seasons under Kevin Stallings and Melanie Balcomb, but early indications offer Continue reading