Kiambu Fentress, Ro Coleman and Harrison Ray speaking with Tim Corbin on the Two Percent Pod (Hustler Multimedia/Lexie Perez).
Kiambu Fentress, Ro Coleman and Harrison Ray speaking with Tim Corbin on the Two Percent Pod (Hustler Multimedia/Lexie Perez).
Lexie Perez

Former VandyBoys translate chemistry from the diamond to the mic on Two Percent Pod

The story of how Kiambu Fentress, Ro Coleman and Harrison Ray sparked a viral social media following for their new podcast show.

At the end of last year, Kiambu Fentress (‘19) sat at Anzie Blue with former teammates Ro Coleman (‘17) and Harrison Ray (‘20), as well as Jabari Brown, the first ever recipient of the Maggie Corbin Minority Baseball Apprenticeship.

The former VandyBoys were in town for an October 2022 baseball camp and had gathered in Hillsboro Village to catch up on old times. Minutes turned to hours as the four reminisced on their college experiences and shared countless stories about their lives as collegiate athletes. 

It was then that an idea dawned on Fentress. 

“‘Hey, this is what I want, but just on camera. I think it’d be interesting for people to hear,’” Fentress told The Hustler that he remembered thinking. “If you don’t have a relative or a close friend play a college sport, you’re not gonna get the chance to hear these types of stories.”

Fentress quickly unspooled more thoughts with Coleman and Ray, including the genesis of his podcast idea, and the trio was off and running. The first name of the future podcast was a bit different than the one that stuck, though, as Fentress envisioned the show focusing solely on recruiting.

“I originally called the show ‘The Recruit’ because it was supposed to hit on the recruiting journey of high schoolers going to college. But Netflix came out with a show called The Recruit, and I didn’t want those problems,” chuckled Fentress.

In their continued name search, they ended up turning to the statistics, as baseball minds tend to do. They decided on “The Two Percent Podcast, an homage to the 2% of high school athletes — across all sports — that end up making it to the collegiate level.

The Two Percent Pod in action with Tim Corbin (@TheTwoPercentPod/Youtube)
The Two Percent Pod in action with Tim Corbin (@TheTwoPercentPod/Youtube)

Their first episode, which premiered on Feb. 5, 2023, featured an unfiltered conversation between the three former VandyBoys about their own respective recruiting stories, life as a player at Vanderbilt and what it felt like to be a National Champion

The familiarity between the trio has resonated with listeners — and quickly. In just a few short weeks, the account has amassed nearly 10,000 followers and 315,000 likes on TikTok. Their Youtube has racked up nearly 1,500 subscribers with their Twitter and Instagram nearing 1,000 followers as of print. 

“We aren’t influencers, so it’d be a lot easier if we all had 100k followers,” Fentress joked about the team’s social media strategy. “Let’s hit every single social platform and get eyes on this. We just wanted to get as many eyes as possible, so we were just pushing it, pushing it and pushing it. You want to be in people’s faces and so that way, you know, we can shed light on what we’re doing…We just gonna put it in your face. Plain and simple.”

But the purpose of the podcast was not just about telling the trio’s own stories; far from it. It was time to begin getting guests.

The new podcasters subscribed to the theory of “start with what you know,” or, in this case, “who you know”. It’s fair to say that the juggernaut of a program that was Vanderbilt baseball provided them a few good connections to begin their venture.

Ro Coleman on Senior Day in 2017 (Vanderbilt Athletics).
Ro Coleman on Senior Day in 2017 (Vanderbilt Athletics).

The most famed contacts in the trio’s phone list began making appearances quickly. In “The Two Percent Podcast’s” second episode, they chose a guest who (at least a few) people may know — legendary Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin. It was in this hour-long episode that the complexion of the show truly began to take form. The show’s unscripted, free-form style invited listeners in as if they are a fly on the wall, or have found an invisibility cloak and were smart enough to use it to sneak into Corbin’s office. 

Their unfiltered conversation with Corbin included a moment when the trio asked the legendary coach to share the funniest story he had about their time with Vanderbilt baseball. Corbin went on to tell a story in which he forced the team to spend two hours running in the football stadium after he heard about them allegedly being rude to a waitress att a restaurant…which turned out to be a fan, not a team member. The four quickly broke into laughter.   

Not only does The Two Percent Podcast provide an inside look into the world of college athletics, but also supplies its viewers with human moments like these.

Since Corbin, the trio has hosted Enrique Bradfield Jr., Justus Sheffield, Spencer Jones, Simone Charley, Javier Vaz, Sydney Campbell and Brooks Webb.

“We want this to be as big as possible,” Fentress said. “We plan on getting to the NFL and the NBA. [We want people] to tell their story and hopefully help somebody else along the journey.”

As encompassing as the trio’s social media marketing efforts have been, it’s the organic bond between the hosts that keeps followers coming back. No matter the guest in the studio, the environment that Fentress, Coleman and Ray create is unique. 

Coleman is the eldest member of the group, having worn the Black and Gold from 2014-17. The Chicago native was a staple of Corbin’s mid-2010’s teams that went to back-to-back College World Series finals. His larger than life personality and reputation have kept him close to the Vanderbilt Baseball program ever since.

“Ro is such a good story in so many ways,” Corbin said about Coleman prior to his graduation. “His spirit and everyday work habits exemplify what a Vanderbilt baseball player is all about.”

A leader within the program, Coleman served as a mentor to many younger players — including Fentress — who joined the VandyBoys in 2016. The Ensworth School alum played from 2016-19 under Corbin, developing a reputation as a leader within the clubhouse and winning a national championship in 2019. 

Members of the Vanderbilt Baseball Team hoist the National Championship trophy over their heads after winning the final game June 26 against the University of Michigan. (Hunter Long)

“So I met Kiambu this was I believe, my sophomore year, and there was this real ugly dude in the dugout,” Coleman laughed. “Nah, but..from day one we just clicked. It was good to see another brother putting on a Vandy uniform. It was just like we became brothers right then from there on then.” 

Fentress appreciated the special treatment upon coming to campus, including the chances he got to venture away from Commons during his first few semesters. 

“Freshmen stay on Commons, as everybody knows, but I would always be with him and Jordan Sheffield,” Fentress added. “I would go to their room and I would just stay, so I was kind of like an extended roommate as a freshman.”

Taking a freshman away from Commons and onto the other side of campus quickly became a tradition amongst the friend group. Once Fentress officially moved out of his Commons dorm, Harrison Ray was next in line. Ray joined the program in 2017 and was the starting second baseman and steals leader (21) on the 2019 national championship squad.

Harrison Ray slides into third against Louisville in the 2019 College World Series (Hustler Multimedia/Hunter Long)

“Ro and I were roommates my sophomore year, his senior year. And then Harrison now took on what I did my freshman year: he was always with us, he would stay the night sometimes,” Fentress said of the trio’s dynamic. 

“When Harry came in next year it was like; ‘that’s little bro’,” Coleman added. “Me, Kiambu and Harry — I mean we’ve been best of friends ever since.”

It’s easy to understand, then, why the podcast has taken off so seamlessly: For Coleman, Fentress and Ray, it’s been years of unfiltered, roundtable conversations just like listeners get on the show. 

“I knew the chemistry that we had would make the show work, you know, just playing off each other and that us just playing off of each other would do well,” Fentress said of the show’s first few episodes. 

Others were confident even before the microphones were ever turned on.

“I just loved when Kiambu came to us with this idea,” Coleman added. “I knew it would be good. I personally knew it was gonna take off just because of the chemistry and the relationship we had already built.”

The brotherhood the trio has developed both in and out of the confines of Vanderbilt baseball, in conjunction with a genuine passion for sports, shine through in every episode they have produced. With each new episode, the Two Percent Pod, shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. 

No matter how much the show grows, the trio’s vision remains the same: inspiring the next generation of high school athletes. 

“Hopefully help somebody else along their journey,” Fentress said of his goal with the show. “That’s the purpose of it. I want to inspire the people coming up [as high school athletes] through other people’s stories.”

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About the Contributors
Bryce Smith, Former Sports Editor
Bryce Smith ('23) is majoring in human and organizational development in Peabody College with a minor in business. Bryce previously wrote for SBNation before joining The Hustler. Hailing from Chicago, Bryce is a die-hard Bears and Cubs fan who is also hoping that the Bulls and Blackhawks may one day rekindle their dominance. He can be reached at [email protected].    
Jonah Barbin, Senior Staff Writer
Jonah Barbin (‘25) is majoring in human and organizational development and cinema and media studies. In addition to writing about sports, you can catch him acting, scouring the fantasy football waiver wire, playing golf and fantasizing about what Odell Beckham Jr.’s career would have been if the Giants never traded him. You can reach him at [email protected].
Lexie Perez, Graphics Director
Lexie Perez (‘26) is from Northern Virginia and is majoring in climate studies and human and organizational development and minoring in business in the College of Arts and Science. She enjoys listening to 70s and 80s pop music, doing the daily Wordle and rooting for the Nashville Predators and Cincinnati Bengals. She can be reached at [email protected].
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11 months ago

So proud of this trio and what they are doing. Most people truly don’t understand how hard it is to make it to college to play a sport, then you add how tough the academics at Vanderbilt are you realize this show was waiting on Kiambu.