Norval McKenzie Interview

Norval, thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to us. I understand you are going to play in the AAFL. The new league that starts this spring. Can you tell us a little about that?

The new professional league is to debut this spring. Its a new league created to give an incentive to student athletes to stay in school and earn their degree. You must have graduated from college and used all of your years of eligibility. I did 3 different workouts for the league, and was recently drafted to the Florida Team. I will go to camp in Mobile Alabama in March and try to make the team.

Also, I heard that are teaching in Georgia. Who/what inspired you to become a teacher?

Yes, I’ve been teaching for two years. I had a 7th grade teacher by the name of Ms. Hansard who influence me to become a teacher. She was very dedicated to us (her students) she really seemed to care about us. Along with teaching us, she was always at our extra-curricular activities outside of school. She also called parents to say how well a child was doing, not just calling to give bad news. She was definitely special and made a difference in our lives

Let’s talk about the beginning of your VU career. What schools recruited you and what made you choose Vanderbilt?

Initially I was receiving letters and phone calls from everyone in the SouthEast but in the end I chose Vandy over UConn, E. Carolina, NC State… I chose Vanderbilt due to their reputation of academics and the fact that they were in the SEC… I was going to get a chance to compete Academically and athletically with the best in the world. My best friend also had signed with Vanderbilt, and played a significant role in my decision (Matthew Clay)

What are you most proud of about you career at Vandy?

I had some ups and downs, but before I broke my leg my sophomore year I was leading the SEC in ypc with 7.8 and was fourth in rushing yards

What do you think about the success we have had the past few years with big wins over UT and Georgia?

Great… Those are huge Wins that shows everyone that Vanderbilt football is on the rise!

Do you keep in touch with any of your former teammates?

Yeah I keep in touch with many of them, Matt Clay, Ronald Hatcher, Robert Dinwiddie, Lorenzo Parker, Chris Young, Brandon Smith, Eric Davis, Nick Lyle, Fontaine Hunter, Moses Osemigie, Dominique Morris, Curtis Brancheau, and many more

You came in a year before Jay Cutler when did it hit you that he was going to be something special?

We pretty much knew that his redshirt freshman year. He had that swagger and he made things look easy, plus he was a hard worker.

What do you remember about the loss to Rutgers in 2004? I thought the refs gave the game to Rutgers when they said that Cutler threw the ball past the line of scrimmage.

That game was ridiculous… I cant blame that game on the refs.. Who could we blame? I don’t know. I just remember being up big and in a quick series of events we were losing… Words can’t really explain the feeling we felt as a team

What about the overtime loss to Georgia Tech at home in 2003. That game was like a rollercoaster.

That game could have been the turning point of the season… I think we would have been 2-2 if we would of pulled it off. It was a big game! We played well but couldn’t finish them off. Reggie Ball literally beat us by himself… Great Performance by him…

Onto happier times, I remember that win at home against Kentucky in 2003. I was one of the crazy fans that ran onto the field and that tore the goal posts down. What did that big win mean to you?

It was an exciting win for us to stop a drought of losses against SEC teams. I believe that Win sparked so of the win that has transpired since then. It was a great atmosphere and was neat to see the fans so excited and tearing down the goal post.

Thanks again Norval for talking to us. Is there anything else you’d like to say to you VU fans/friends?

I would like to tell all the fans to stay loyal and faithful and also support all the Commodores while they are in college as well as when they are done. I would like to say that I’ve been drafted into this new league by Faith in God and I would like for fans to support me even though I will be in Florida. While down there I will not only represent my family and Vanderbilt, I will represent Kwane Doster. We were a tandom and I think its ironic that I will have the opportunity to play in Florida where he was from. I believe he had something to do with this as well.