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Robbie Caldwell steps down as Vandy head coach
The school said Caldwell’s resignation will be effective after Saturday night’s season finale. Caldwell was assistant head coach and offensive line coach under Bobby Johnson before taking over in mid-July, when Johnson announced his unexpected retirement.
The Commodores are just 2-9 in Caldwell’s first try as a head coach.
“Having the opportunity to be Vanderbilt’s head football coach has been a dream come true, and I greatly appreciated the chance to serve, and I gave it my best,” Caldwell said in a statement. “However, after a lot of reflection, I’ve realized it is time for me to step aside and let someone else pick up the hard work and efforts of our staff.”
Caldwell had been talking the past couple weeks about how he wasn’t sure if he would be back after this season. He had wanted an entire offseason to make major changes, but he just didn’t have enough time. His biggest change was swapping offensive coordinators in October, a move that improved offensive production only a bit.
Vanderbilt still ranks 115th out of 120 FBS teams in total offense, averaging 285.1 yards.
Coaches in their first season at Vanderbilt have struggled to win more than a couple games. Fred Pancoast debuted by going 7-4 in 1975. Since then, Gerry DiNardo went 5-6 in 1991 and Woody Widenhofer was 3-8 in 1997. Johnson was 2-10 in his first season in 2002.
David Williams, the vice chancellor in charge of athletics, thanked Caldwell and his assistants. Most of the coaches came in with Johnson and led Vanderbilt to a Music City Bowl victory in 2008, the program’s first bowl appearance since 1982.
The Commodores will be looking for a new coach for the first time since the end of the 2001 season, and it will be the first time Williams has conducted a major coaching search since Vanderbilt eliminated its athletic department.
By Emily Miller
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