WILF: Thank you, Vanderbilt

Paying tribute to the memories made as Sports Editor of The Hustler.
Deputy Sports Editor Frankie Sheehy (left) and Sports Editor Andrew Wilf (right) discussed Vanderbilts 73-60 loss on Dec. 6, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Lana English)
Deputy Sports Editor Frankie Sheehy (left) and Sports Editor Andrew Wilf (right) discussed Vanderbilt’s 73-60 loss on Dec. 6, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Lana English)
Lana English

In just a few days, the Class of 2024 will be saying farewell to a place they’ve called home for the past four years. I was part of a class that had a compromised first year, which was highlighted by classes being held via Zoom and students living without roommates.  

As I reflect on what Vanderbilt gave me, one quick answer comes to mind: a voice.

Since I can remember, I have always been enamored with sports and how communities can find unity via athletics. Thanks to Vanderbilt and The Hustler, I unleashed my attachment to writing.

When I came to West End, I immediately noticed a clear disconnect between the Vanderbilt students and its sports teams. The Class of 2024 was stripped of several Vanderbilt traditions, such as when all the first-year students would charge the field at the first home football game (Anchor Dash). This tradition was key in getting a first-year class accustomed to the Vanderbilt Athletics community. All current classes have lost out on this tradition since it has been abandoned the past few years, which was fundamental in shaping a disconnect between current students and the Vanderbilt sports teams.

In the second semester of my first year, I was eager to persuade the students of the beauty of the indelible stories behind members of Vanderbilt Athletics. The Hustler allowed me to accomplish that mission.

Sam Curtis (left) and Andrew Wilf (right) analyzed what went wrong in Vanderbilt’s loss to Boston College on Nov. 29, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Noah Weitzel) (Noah Weitzel)

The Hustler also provided me with an outlet. Some people go to television, social media or books for an outlet from the everyday stresses of being a college student, but I ran to sports journalism.

I felt a release of euphoria every single time I wrote a feature article. I am grateful to have spotlighted several people’s stories, such as Ken Seals regaining the starting quarterback position, Candice Storey Lee’s Vanderbilt family and the behind-the-scenes work done by the VandyBoys’ student managers.

I joined The Hustler in February of 2021 and I ran with the opportunities it gave me. Aside from previously working at FanWide as a sports blogger, my sports writing skills have yet to be developed. Thanks to former Sports Editors Simon Gibbs and Justin Hershey and their patience, I grew as both a writer and analytical thinker in my first two years at Vanderbilt.

When junior year came, my dream of being the Sports Editor of The Hustler deepened. In August of 2023, I traveled with the Vanderbilt Football team to cover the Commodores’ 63-10 win over the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors. The one-week trip was an all-encompassing experience for me, as I watched every practice and was allowed to interview Clark Lea, Mike Wright, Jaylen Mahoney and other members of the Football team throughout the week.

Andrew Wilf (left) and Anish Mago (right) broke down Vanderbilt’s final game of the season on Nov. 25, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Barrie Barto) (Barrie Barto)

The Hawaii trip also made me realize that I had a mission to show the student body the unique personalities and fulfilling stories of student-athletes.

This school year, Deputy Sports Editor Anish Mago and I made several trips to cover Vanderbilt Football and Vanderbilt Men’s Basketball. We drove to Wake Forest, Tennessee and Ole Miss. While Mago and I were 0-3 on our road trips, we had a ton of laughs.

My mission as Sports Editor was to provide people with stories worth telling and develop a stronger multimedia presence. This school year, The Hustler implemented Anchor Analysis, a post-game video recap segment. We also grew the popularity of The Hustler’s podcast “Live From West End” by bringing in special guests including Skip Bayless, Paul Finebaum, Lee and Lea.

I also brought a former tradition back, which was implemented by Hershey. The tradition was to write a feature about a member of every Vanderbilt Varsity team. It was aimed at highlighting all of Vanderbilt’s sports teams.

I also valued providing Vanderbilt with analytical stories at The Hustler like writing my Commodore Brunches after every football game and writing bi-monthly Memorial Minutes articles.

Skip Bayless joins Andrew Wilf and Henry Oelhafen over Zoom, as photographed on April 12, 2024. (Hustler Multimedia/Andrew Wilf) (Andrew Wilf)

Thank you to everyone from the Vanderbilt Athletics department for allowing The Hustler unique opportunities to speak with athletes and coaches. A few weeks ago, Mago and I ate lunch with Mark Byington. Byington, the new Men’s Basketball coach, will look to bring back Memorial Magic and has already made several big signings this offseason. Most importantly, he was gracious and is invested in bringing the students closer to Vanderbilt Athletics.

Mark Byington meeting with the Hustler, as photographed on April 23, 2024. (Hustler Multimedia/Miguel Beristain) (Miguel Beristain)

I’m honored and blessed to have served in this position for the past 12 months. While I will leave Vanderbilt in less than 10 days, I will cherish most the relationships I developed at The Hustler. To the Class of 2024 — especially Mago, Sam Curtis and Frankie Sheehy — thank you for the journey and for believing in me.

To all of Commodore Nation, thank you for reading my stories over the past four years.

When I was younger, I would run away from writing like a cheetah in the wild. 

Now, I am writing the hardest goodbye I’ve ever had to make.

Until next time.

Anchor Down!

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About the Contributors
Andrew Wilf
Andrew Wilf, Former Sports Editor
Andrew Wilf (’24) is Sports Editor for The Vanderbilt Hustler. He is from Livingston, N.J., and is majoring in history and minoring in business. He joined the sports staff his freshman year, previously serving as a Staff Writer, Assistant Sports Editor and Deputy Sports Editor. Beyond writing for The Hustler, he is also the host of Anchor Analysis, Commodore Clash and Live From West End. In his free time, Andrew enjoys watching the NFL and playing golf. He can be reached at [email protected].
Lana English
Lana English, Staff Photographer
Lana English (‘27) is from St. Louis and is majoring in neuroscience in the College of Arts and Science. Outside of The Hustler, you can find her drinking coffee, doing New York Times word games or getting nostalgic looking at old pictures. You can reach her at [email protected].
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Kath
1 month ago

bye andrew!!!!!!!!

F
Frankie Sheehy
1 month ago

It’s been an honor Wilf!