Vanderbilt football made its new head coaching hire official Monday night, welcoming Notre Dame defensive coordinator Clark Lea back to his alma mater.
The 38-year-old Lea played football for the Commodores from 2002-04. Now, he’ll take over the reins of his old program and try to lead it out of the cellar in the SEC East.
Lea has done a tremendous job running the Notre Dame defense the last three years, helping the Irish register a pair of undefeated regular seasons.
Overall, the reaction to his hiring at Vanderbilt has been met with a lot of praise and excitement from around the college football world.
Vanderbilt makes it official. Clark Lea will be its next head coach.
AD Candice Lee noes Lea will "fulfill his obligation to Notre Dame" during the ACC Championship Game and the College Football Playoff.
— Pete Sampson (@PeteSampson_) December 15, 2020
Don’t know if it’ll work out, but Clark Lea was super impressive as a coach and person when I covered him briefly at ND. https://t.co/2RyDCMgO2V
— Stephen Brooks (@StephenM_Brooks) December 15, 2020
"When I looked in (Clark Lea's) eyes, I knew it. I saw it."
– Vandy AD Candice Lee on the intensity of Clark Lea in wanting the Vandy job (on @1025TheGame)
— Adam Sparks (@AdamSparks) December 15, 2020
Aaaaaaand add Clark Lea to the list of defensive-minded SEC coaches. https://t.co/9xY784k0t6
— Connor O'Gara (@cjogara) December 15, 2020
Clark Lea feels like a home run by Vanderbilt standards. Alum from Nashville who has dominated as a coordinator at a high profile place. Maybe he won’t be their Pat Fitzgerald, but he checks the boxes of a guy with a chance to turn it around. https://t.co/qPUhKa3mUP
— Bobby Football (@RobPaulNFL) December 15, 2020
#Vandy officially announces that #NotreDame defensive coordinator Clark Lea is VU's next head coach. Lea has done a remarkable job in South Bend for the Irish. Interested to see what he will do back in Nashville.
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) December 15, 2020
Please welcome Clark Lea as the new Vanderbilt head football coach pic.twitter.com/NC6fuBIg0X
— Chad Bishop (@MrChadBishop) December 15, 2020
Before Lea arrives at Vandy, he’ll remain with Notre Dame for the ACC Championship Game this weekend and the team’s likely College Football Playoff appearance.
With the Commodores, he’ll inherit a program that has not had a winning season in seven years, though recently-fired head coach Derek Mason did go 6-7 with bowl game losses in 2016 and 2018.