Monday night update> The deal is done. Clark is the new head coach at Vanderbilt.
— FootballScoop Staff (@FootballScoop) December 15, 2020
Notre Dame defensive coordinator Clark Lea is the top target to become Vanderbilt’s head coach and a deal is expected soon, FootballScoop can confirm. The news was first reported by ESPN.
Lea was mentioned as a candidate for this job the moment Vanderbilt announced Derek Mason’s dismissal. A Nashville native and a former Commodores fullback, Lea now leads Notre Dame’s defense, one of the best in the country. Notre Dame is No. 12 nationally in scoring defense, holding five opponents to 13 points or fewer. The Irish’s best performance was a 31-17 win over North Carolina, where Notre Dame limited the nation’s No. 8 scoring offense 40 percent of its scoring average and its lowest single-game output of the year.
Lea and the No. 2 Fighting Irish will face No. 3 Clemson in the ACC Championship on Saturday. Barring a catastrophic loss, the Irish will then advance to the College Football Playoff, whose semifinals are on Jan. 1.
Vanderbilt AD Candice Storey Lee mentioned specifically that the school was looking to juice up its offense with the new regime, so the school would have to be impressed with Lea’s plan for his offensive coordinator hire in order to move forward with his candidacy.
Vanderbilt, 0-9 on the season, will complete its regular season against No. 9 Georgia on Saturday.
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.
#NotreDame D-coordinator Clark Lea emerging as the top target to become #Vanderbilt's next head coach, sources tell @ClowESPN. Lea is a Nashville native who played at Vandy. I'm hearing the hire will be finalized before midweek. Buffalo's Lance Leipold also among those considered
— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) December 14, 2020
News: Post coming soon, but Auburn is moving quick and Vanderbilt will likely have Notre Dame DC Clark Lea done and announced in a few days.
— Steven N. Godfrey Jr. (@38Godfrey) December 14, 2020
Sources: Clark Lea expected to be the next coach at Vanderbilt. He's been identified as the target of the search and a deal is expected soon. https://t.co/UGtaFWX43N
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) December 14, 2020