In need of a new special teams coordinator, Vanderbilt appears to be looking to the NFL scrap heap to fill the role. Shawn Mennenga, who most recently coached special teams for the Cleveland Browns, will reportedly be hired as the next special teams coach at Vanderbilt, according to a report from 247 Sports.
After the Cleveland Browns went 0-16 in the NFL this past season, there were some significant changes to the coaching staff while the franchise opted to retain head coach Hue Jackson. Mennenga was among the handful of coaches not retained. Special teams coordinator Chris Tabor and special teams quality control coach Stan Watson were also among the special teams staff members removed from the payroll in Cleveland (Mennenga was a special teams assistant for the Browns).
A former letterman at Missouri, Mennenga has been coaching since 1994 but this will be his first coaching job with a power conference program or any FBS program. Mennenga had been a special teams assistant with the Browns since 2011 and had coached as a linebackers coach at South Dakota State prior to that.
Vanderbilt was ranked 127th in the nation in field goal percentage in 2017 after completing just three of seven tries. The Commodores also ranked 98th in the nation in punting average (39.76 yards per punt) and Vanderbilt ranked 98th in average punt return yardage allowed. Understandably, Vanderbilt’s stats in such categories will tend to lag behind most of the competition in the SEC for various reasons, but there is still plenty of room for improvement on special teams for Vandy in 2018.