Vanderbilt’s baseball program has a proud history that stretches all the way back to 1886, but Commodores fans can be excused for having a short memory about much of it. The success that has unfolded over the past two decades under head coach Tim Corbin is enough to fill a history book unto itself.
Since 2003, Corbin has built Vanderbilt into one of the top programs in the country, leading the Commodores to four SEC titles, on four trips to the College World Series finals, and to two national championships (2014 and 2019). With a record of 841-400-1 (as of 2022), he is the all-time winningest coach in program history and has been recognized as national coach of the year on multiple occasions. Meanwhile, his rosters have featured 54 All-Americans and 29 MLB draft picks, including overall No. 1 picks David Price and Dansby Swanson.
Before Corbin’s arrival, the Commodores had last played in an NCAA Regional in 1980 under coach Roy Mewbourne, who guided them to an SEC title that same year. Before that, only the teams of the early 1970s, coached by Larry Schmittou, BS’62, had ever won the SEC or played in the postseason. But none ever got past the initial round of the NCAAs, much less to the College World Series.
Corbin’s success, however, can’t be fully measured in terms of victories, postseason appearances or national championships. The camaraderie he builds among his players extends well beyond their playing days at Hawkins Field and reflects his enduring impact on the program and the university as a whole. In fact, to show their appreciation for Corbin and their experience as student-athletes, 60 percent of his former players contributed to a fundraising effort to support the construction of new baseball facilities at the university in 2017.
“The kids who come to the program are bound together by a sport,” Corbin said in an interview with Vanderbilt Magazine in 2017. “But inside the sport there’s a family as well.
To have success, it’s necessary to nurture that family. The benefits from that are not always exposed on a scoreboard, but they are seen in the relationships the kids have and in their emotions about Vanderbilt once they leave.”