Head Coaching Candidate: Clark Lea

Commodore Nation has the opportunity to feel something (with regards to Vanderbilt’s football program) that fans seemingly haven’t felt in a while: hope. It’s coaching search season! A new beginning is on the way, with the potential for limitless opportunities, winning, and competition to return to West End. With that being said, let’s take a look at some of the candidates rumored to have an interest in the job and who is being discussed as a possibility to become the CEO of Commodore football. Next? Clark Lea.

Clark Lea

Could Clark Lea be to Vanderbilt what Pat Fitzgerald is to Northwestern? I think most Vanderbilt fans would love a hire who played at Vanderbilt, has a respectable coaching pedigree, and who returns to bring his alma mater to new heights. 

Lea, currently the Defensive Coordinator and Linebackers coach at Notre Dame, is a candidate for the Broyles Award which is given to the nation’s top assistant coach in college football. According to 247Sports, Lea’s defense at Notre Dame has “held 33-of-36 opponents during Clark Lea’s tenure as defensive coordinator to 30 points or less. That includes ranked opponents LSU, Michigan, Stanford, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, Clemson, Georgia, Virginia, Navy and North Carolina.” Lea was also rumored to be a finalist for the Boston College head coaching position last year, evidence that shows he’s ready to become a program’s CEO. Many Notre Dame fans wish him to be the heir to Brian Kelly at Notre Dame once his tenure is finished, furthering evidence of Lea as a serious candidate for high-profile college football teams.

Lea, only 38 years-old, would bring youth to the Vanderbilt position, as well as the opportunity to establish a long tenure at his alma mater if he can build Vanderbilt Football into an SEC east competitor that attends bowl games consistently.

Some Vanderbilt fans are hesitant since previous head coach Derek Mason was a defensive coordinator prior to taking the Vanderbilt job. It’s important to realize that Clark Lea is a different coach than Derek Mason and fans shouldn’t assume that just because Lea is a DC with no head coaching experience means he’s not ready to manage a program and employ successful strategies on both sides of the ball. 

It will be imperative for Lea, if named head coach, to have a clear offensive gameplan with meticulous attention to detail in all aspects of the job for him to win over fans leery of Lea’s lack of head coaching experience.

Rumored to have interviewed with Vanderbilt already, The Dore Report expects Lea to be a very serious candidate for the position. Will Chancellor Deirmeier and Athletic Director Candice Storey Lee feel the same way?

Commodore Nation, how do you feel about Lea as a candidate?

Stay tuned to The Dore Report for updates on the Vanderbilt coaching search, candidate profiles, and all things Commodore football.


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