The iconic mural of Vanderbilt coaches will get a pre-game update after all.
As it stands now, former Commodore football coach Bobby Johnson is still painted on the brick facade of the building at 28th and West End avenues, the former U Greek Me Greek, which has featured visages of Vanderbilt coaches for decades.
But thanks to country music singer John Rich, new Commodore coach Robbie Caldwell will look out from Mount Rush ’Dore in time for Saturday's game against Northwestern. After reading the story of the mural in Monday's weekly obsession feature in The City Paper, the oft-controversial Rich — who dubbed his much-maligned Love Circle home "Mount Richmore" — decided to commission the painting of the new face himself.
“I am a huge college football fan, and I have a great view of Dudley Field from my house. When I read the article in The City Paper about Coach Caldwell not being on the mural, I thought it is like recording a CD without your name on the cover,” Rich said. “Nashvillians should welcome the new head football coach at Vanderbilt, and I wanted to help him put his face on Mt. Rush ’Dore. I hope to meet the coach and some of his players sometime soon.”
Michael Cooper — the artist who has changed the faces in the past — said he'll begin painting Caldwell around 10 a.m. Friday in a project that should take most of the day.
While Vanderbilt and building owner Jim Crossman both said they wanted the new coach on the mural, neither was willing to take responsibility for the repainting, each saying it was the others responsibility. The stalemate led Rich to step up.
Commodore watchers may note a little coincidence in country star John Rich commissioning the painting. Another John Rich — founder of Delta Coal — was a Commodore letterman in the 1940s and is a longtime Vanderbilt booster and the namesake of the football practice facility.