Change is afoot once again when it comes to Vanderbilt athletics.
It was announced on Sept. 11, 2018, that trailblazing pioneer David Williams would be stepping down as the athletic director at Vanderbilt. Feb. 1 of last year, Malcolm Turner officially took over for Williams, who passed away a month later.
One year and three days after taking over, Vandy announced that Turner has resigned as athletic director and vice chancellor for athletics and university affairs. The resignation is effective immediately.
“We appreciate Malcolm’s service to the university in support of our student-athletes and wish him the best in his future endeavors,” interim Vanderbilt chancellor Susan R. Wente said in a statement. “We are grateful for the contributions he has made during his tenure.”
“In a year of change and transition, it’s been a privilege to be a Commodore and witness firsthand the transformative power of the intersection of higher education and athletics. Vanderbilt Athletics has accomplished a great deal during my time at Vanderbilt, and the university’s athletics program and student-athletes are poised for future success,” Turner said. “However, at the onset of this next critical phase of key Athletics initiatives and after considering certain family commitments important to me, I have elected to pursue new opportunities. I fully support what will surely be an exciting next chapter for Vanderbilt Athletics and wish the entire Vanderbilt family the very best going forward. Thank you.”
Three weeks after Turner officially stepped into the job, a contract extension for head football coach Derek Mason was announced. In the midst of what turned out to be a 3-9 2019 campaign, Turner very strongly supported Mason’s return for 2020.
And then there’s this. From Rivals.com:
Rumors have swirled for weeks over unhappiness between Turner and Vanderbilt. The source of much discontent was Turner’s spending.
Ex-athletic director David Williams left behind a “rainy day” fund that sources estimated at $17 million. Turner blew through that in less than a year on the job.
A source familiar with the inner workings inside Vanderbilt athletics, weeks ago, said that there had been a spending freeze and that the department was running “deficits on top of deficits on top of deficits.
Simultaneously to Turner’s resignation, Vanderbilt announced that Candice Storey Lee will take over as interim athletic director. According to the school, Lee is Vanderbilt’s first female athletic director and the first African-American woman to head an SEC athletics program.
Lee played basketball at Vanderbilt, and is a three-time graduate of the university. She has been involved in Vanderbilt athletics for nearly two decades, serving as deputy director since 2016.
“Candice embodies the Vanderbilt Way, which is our commitment to ensuring that student-athletes excel on the field of play, academically and in life,” Wente said. “Candice is a trailblazer. Her unparalleled work ethic, energy and vision, and steadfast commitment to the Commodore family, will only build on our momentum.”