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NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Several former players, Vanderbilt administrators, staff, family and friends joined at Hawkins Field Monday evening to celebrate the career and friendship of former Commodore baseball coach Roy Mewbourne. The 24-year skipper of Vanderbilt baseball, who announced his retirement from the sport following the 2002 season, finished his tenure as the winningest coach in school history and was instrumental in the push toward and fundraising for the $5.6 million Hawkins Field completed prior to last season.

Mewbourne was presented with several gifts, including new golf clubs from the athletic department, a mural of Hawkins Field from Vanderbilt Director of Major Gifts Chris Wyrick and Executive Director of the National Commodore Club Blanton Jones, and $20,000 toward a new car from Tommy Powell and Robert Harris on behalf of his former players.

"This is one of those days we want to celebrate at Vanderbilt," Vanderbilt Chancellor Gordon Gee said. "We celebrate not only the greatness of the institution but the great impact one individual has made over the past 24 years. Any coach who has enjoyed the success you have and the tenacity you've shown owns the ability to lead and inspire people."

"Since I came here six years ago Roy always had a plan for a new stadium," Director of Athletics Todd Turner said. "A few years ago we only only had bleachers that held 600 people and a chain-link fence for a backstop. But thanks to the generous donations of some people here today and Roy Mewbourne's persistence and continuing efforts we now have one of the finest baseball facilities in the nation that will serve the program for years to come."

As Mewbourne took the podium following the presentations he was greeted with a standing ovation from the crowd of well wishers. "It's tremendous to have everyone here this evening," Mewbourne said.

"It' s been a great run and a delightful experience. The people here at Vanderbilt are tremendous. You've got to be in the athletic department to know how great they are.

"I've had a lot of great players over the years who were persistent and showed great spirit and great fight. We've also had a lot of outstanding assistant coaches who made an impact in the program. What we accomplished here was a total team effort. We had a dream. We fought for a new stadium. And I'm proud it happened."

Mewbourne jokingly added, "If I could do it all over again I would - with a field."

Mewbourne finished his career with a 655-608-9 mark at Vanderbilt and a 30-year record of 922-683-9. This past season he became only the 35th coach in college baseball history to surpass the 900-win plateau. His 1980 squad captured the Southeastern Conference championship. During his Vanderbilt tenure he coached 58 players who later signed professional baseball contracts. Nineteen of his players garnered All-SEC accolades while 10 were named All-Americans. Academically, 111 of his players were named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll.


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