Robbie Caldwell has stepped down as Vanderbilt's head coach, effective after tonight's Wake Forest game.
A press release posted on the official Vandy athletics site announced that it was a mutual decision between Caldwell and Vice Chancellor "I'm not an athletic director but I get to play one" David Williams.
We all know that means Williams — probably under pressure from alumni — has decided to go in a new direction but allowed Caldwell to first come to that realization himself. Caldwell said "after a lot reflection" he realized "it is time for me to step aside and let someone else pick up the hard work and efforts of our staff."
That sounds like he's saying that another head coach needs to lead this staff, but that's not going to happen.
Williams clarified: "The bulk of our coaching staff came here in 2002 and during that time our program has improved," Williams says. "Under their leadership, we won a bowl game, scored some memorable victories over formidable opponents and helped put us in a position to add new facilities. I appreciate what Robbie has done here, and we all wish this staff the very best."
It's sad to see these guys go, but I agree that it's time to start over. Under the direction of Bobby Johnson, they proved you can win big games and even bowl games at Vanderbilt. And because of the Music City Bowl victory, the new coach will start with more talent than Johnson did.
Bobby Johnson proved we need an offensive-minded coach at Vanderbilt. As we proved this season, a good sneaky defense can keep a game close — unless the offense is so bad that the defense never leaves the field.
Unfortunately, we'll probably never see another season when Florida, Georgia and Tennessee had so many problems. If we could have moved the ball, we'd have at least avoided losing to those three in such embarrassing fashion.
I'd like to see us hire either a successful D1 coach from a non-BCS conference or a top BCS offensive coordinator.
That would include the head coaches at Nevada, Hawaii, Northern Illinois and SMU, as well as Gus Malzahn at Auburn.
Beware a quick fix. A lot of fans will start throwing around big names. We've got to do this the right way, by getting somebody under the radar — a guy with Bobby Johnson's character but also with the kind of offensive mind that can implement an elite offensive system using solid players instead of a solid system using elite players.
Because, you know, we're not going to get many of those.
In closing, I'd like to thank Coach Caldwell. He was given an impossible situation. He wanted to win, not to lose games by a narrow margin. If UT wins today and he beats Wake tonight, every one of his losses would have been to a bowl team. We were not and never were going to be a bowl team.
Would Bobby Johnson have lost nine games by such great margins? Probably not.
But would he have won more games than Caldwell did? I don't think so.
Four months ago, Bobby Johnson knew that (1) this team was going to fall hard and (2) his staff didn't deserve to lose their jobs. In leaving when he did, he just prolonged the inevitable. Yes, Caldwell should and probably would have gotten the job full-time if he'd won five or six games. But that wasn't going to happen.
So thanks, Coach Caldwell. You had an impossible job, but you kept your sense of humor. Furman would do well to hire you now as its head coach and to bring along the rest of your staff.
Well, Coach Hand can stay in Nashville and assist Coach Malzahn. At least, that's what I'd like to see.