Vanderbilt Commodores Football

Vanderbilt Commodores Football

223.7 PYPG
95.3 RYPG
22.8 PPG
318.9 TotY/G

Team Information

Ground FirstBank Stadium
City Nashville, Tennessee
Conference Southeastern,
Nickname Commodores

2024 Regular Season Leaders

All Statistics

Vanderbilt Commodores Football News

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Vanderbilt Commodores Football Bio

Vanderbilt Commodores football team represents Vanderbilt University in the NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). They compete in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) in the East Division. Clark Lea is the current head coach leading the team. The Commodores home games are played at FirstBank Stadium, located on the university’s campus in Nashville, Tennessee.

Name of TeamVanderbilt Commodores
First season1890
Athletic directorCandice Storey Lee
Head coachClark Lea
StadiumFirstBank Stadium (capacity: 40,550)
LocationNashville, Tennessee
ConferenceSoutheastern Conference
Field surfaceFieldTurf
Conference titles14 (12 SIAA, 2 SoCon)
Division titlesNone
Fight songDynamite!
MascotMr. C
RivalsTennessee, Georgia, Ole Miss, Kentucky, Georgia Tech (dormant), Sewanee (dormant)
Consensus All-Americans7

Vanderbilt Commodores Football Introduction

Vanderbilt University started their college football program in 1890. Throughout their journey they have been associated with various conferences and even played independently during the initial years. They played independently from 1890 till 1894. After that, they joined the SIAA in 1895 and stayed in the conference till 1921. After that, they joined the Southern Conference from 1922 to 1932. Currently, they are affiliated with the Southeastern Conference, which they joined in 1933 and have been a member of since. They adopted the nickname Commodores after the 1897 seasons, and since then, they have played 1,250 games over 126 seasons.

Vanderbilt Commodores Football History

Vanderbilt University started its football program in 1890. Their first game was against the University of Nashville. The game ended with 40-0 and was led by coach Elliott H. Jones. Jone guided the team for two more years and achieved an overall record of 8-5 during his tenure as head coach. In 1893, W.J. Keller took over as head coach, finishing his first season with a 6-1 record.

Vanderbilt became a founding member of the Southern Intercollege Athletic Association (SIAA) In 1894, along with Auburn, Georgia, Alabama, Georgia Tech, Sewanee, and North Carolina. They won their first SIAA Championship in 1897 under the guidance of coach R.G. Acton, completing the season with a 6-0-1 record without allowing any opponent to score. Acton coached from 1896 to 1898 and ended his tenure with a 10-7-3 record.

They won their second championship in year 1901, led by coach W.H. Watkins, with a 6-1-1 season. The following year, they fell short of victory when they lost the match against Sewanee, ending their season 8-1. In 1903, under coach James H. "Jimmy" Henry, Vanderbilt secured another championship with a 6-1-1 record, sharing the title as co-champions.

In 1904, Dan McGugin took charge as the head coach of the program and led the team till 1934. He had an impressive coaching record of 197-55-19. During his time as the head coach, the Commodores won eight SIAA championships and two Southern conference titles in the years 1906 and 1911.

In 1922, Vanderbilt joined the Southern Conference and remained a member until 1932, when it became part of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). Despite a long history of competition, Vanderbilt has yet to win an SEC Championship in football.

Vanderbilt Commodores Football Coach

The Vanderbilt Commodores football program has had 28 head coaches since it was formed in 1890.

Head Coach

Clark Lea, born on November 11, 1981, has been the head coach of the Vanderbilt commodores football team since 2021. He was appointed as the 29th head coach on December 14, 2020, succeeding Derek Mason.

In his first season in 2021, Lea led the Commodores to a 2–10 record. The 2022 season showed improvement, with the team finishing 5–7, including notable victories over SEC East rivals Kentucky and Florida. Following this progress, Lea's contract was extended by three years in the 2023 off-season, securing his position through the 2029 season. However, the 2023 season saw the team finish with a 2–10 record once again.

Here is a table of all the head coaches of the Vanderbilt Commodores Football team:

Coach NameTenure
Clark Lea2021–present
Derek Mason2014–2020
James Franklin2011–2013
Robbie Caldwell2010
Bobby Johnson2002–2009
Woody Widenhofer1997–2001
Rod Dowhower1995–1996
Gerry DiNardo1991–1994
Watson Brown1986–1990
George MacIntyre1979–1985
Fred Pancoast1975–1978
Steve Sloan1973–1974
Bill Pace1967–1972
John Green1963–1966
Art Guepe1953–1962
Bill Edwards†1949–1952
Doby Bartling1944–1945
E. H. Alley1943
Red Sanders†1940–1942, 1946–1948
Ray Morrison†1918, 1935–1939
Dan McGugin†1904–1917, 1919–1934
James R. Henry1903
Walter H. Watkins1901–1902
James L. Crane1899–1900
R. G. Acton1896–1898
Charles L. Upton1895
Henry Worth Thornton1894
W. J. Keller1893
Elliott Jones1890–1892

Vanderbilt Commodores Football Stadium: FirstBank Stadium

FirstBank Stadium, formerly known as Dudley Field and Vanderbilt Stadium, is located in Nashville, Tennessee. It was completed in 1922, and was the first stadium built in the South designed exclusively for college football. The Vanderbilt University football team uses this stadium as its home field.

During its history as Vanderbilt Stadium, it hosted the Tennessee Oilers (now the Titans) for the 1998 NFL season. Additionally, it was the venue for the inaugural Music City Bowl in 1998 and has been the site for numerous Tennessee state high school football championships.

FirstBank Stadium is notable for being the smallest football stadium in the Southeastern Conference. It was the largest stadium in Nashville until the opening of Nissan Stadium in 1999.

Vanderbilt Commodores Football Rivals

Vanderbilt Commodores has many notable rivalries with other college football programs. Some of the most notable rivalries include:


The rivalry between Vanderbilt and Tennessee is one of the oldest and most storied in college football history. They first met in 1892, and since then these two teams have clashed 117 times. Tennessee leads the series with 79–33-5. Although Vanderbilt initially dominated the series, winning 19 of the first 24 matchups, Tennessee has claimed dominance since 1928, boasting a 77–14–2 record against Vanderbilt until 2022. Vanderbilt's longest win streak stands at nine games from 1901 to 1913, while Tennessee's longest win streak lasted 22 games from 1983 to 2004.


The rivalry between Vanderbilt and Georgia dates back to 1893, with the two teams meeting annually since 1968. As divisional opponents in the SEC East, their matchups hold added significance. Through the 2022 season, Georgia leads the series with a 60-20–2 record. The games rotate between Nashville, Tennessee, and Athens.

Ole Miss

Vanderbilt's cross-divisional rival in the SEC, Ole Miss, adds another layer of competition to the Commodores' schedule. They first mmet in 1894, and since then these teams have faced off 92 times. Ole Miss leads the series with 51-39-2 record. However, Vanderbilt secured the largest margin of victory in the series with a 91-point win in 1915 and held the longest win streak at 18 games from 1894 to 1938.

Vanderbilt Commodores Football Record and stats

  • The Vanderbilt Commodores have won 14 conference championships, eight outright and six shared titles.

  • Recognized as national champions six times, for the years 1906, 1910, 1911, 1918, 1921, and 1922.

  • The team had eight undefeated seasons in 1890, 1897, 1904, 1910, 1921, 1922, 1943, and 1944.

Conference championships

SeasonConferenceCoachOverall recordConference record
1897SIAAR. G. Acton6–0–13–0–1
1901W. H. Watkins6–1–16–0–1
1903†James H. Henry6–1–15–1–1
1904Dan McGugin9–05–0

Vanderbilt Commodores Football Roster

Vanderbilt Commodores Roster includes players from diverse backgrounds.

Players on the offensive side include:

NoPlayer NamePosition
7Drew DickeyQB
18Hayden MosesQB
8Ken SealsQB
12Brennan StorerQB
5AJ SwannQB
2Walter TaylorQB
28Sedrick AlexanderRB
35Deago BensonRB
25Dylan Betts-PauleyRB
47Isaiah FontanRB
13Chase GillespieRB
46AJ NewberryRB
4Patrick SmithRB
93Gabe FisherFB
81Hutch BairdWR
17Gamarion CarterWR
39Jackson HeisWR
15Richie HoskinsWR
83London HumphreysWR
33Derek KeeWR
80Wilson LongWR
88Ezra McAllisterWR
6Jayden McGowanWR
89Shawn NaimWR
14Will SheppardWR
85Junior SherrillWR
3Quincy Skinner Jr.WR
16Daveon WalkerWR
31Landon WellsWR
84Justin BallTE
49Chris BoyleTE
48Kamrean JohnsonTE
18Logan KyleTE
86Josh PalmerTE
16Cole SpenceTE
50Bradley AshmoreOL
73Charlie ClarkOL
55Gunnar HansenOL
72Levi HarberOL
62Julian HernandezOL
56Jake KetschekOL
60Duncan MacDonaldOL
68Barrett MaddoxOL
66Anthony MilesOL
76Grayson MorganOL
57Leyton NelsonOL
71Gage PitchfordOL
75Misael SandovalOL
70David SiegelOL
69Cooper StarksOL
77Junior UzebuOL
61Trent WeaverOL
78Keegan WechslerOL
52Kevo WesleyOL
64Delfin Xavier CastilloOL

On the defensive side, notable players include:

NoPlayer NamePosition
11Darren AguDE
15Nate CliftonDE
95Linus ZunkDE
96Brayden BapstDL
9Daevion DavisDL
90Ted GregoireDL
91Christian JamesDL
63Jacob KatonaDL
99Devin LeeDL
94Bradley MannDL
5Yilanan OuattaraDL
31Michael SpencerDL
98De'Marion ThomasDL
32Ethan BarrLB
59Ty BartholomewLB
56Alex BrownLB
29Miles CapersLB
58Carson CasteelLB
22Bryce CowanLB
44Ethan CrispLB
0Aeneas DiCosmoLB
33BJ DiakiteLB
51Daniel GawLB
92Evan HerrmannLB
45Dante KellyLB
20Prince KollieLB
54Bryan LongwellLB
19Kane PattersonLB
10Langston PattersonLB
43Dominic RezacLB
24Nicholas RinaldiLB
37Jailen RuthLB
1CJ TaylorLB
42Errington TruesdellLB
12Jeffrey UgochukwuLB
26BJ AndersonCB
30Trudell BerryCB
46Mustafa DannettCB
34Quantaves GaskinsCB
25Martel HightCB
40Jacob RolenCB
8Tyson RussellCB
39Jameson WhartonCB
36Alan WrightCB
23Jaylen MahoneyDB
35Payne DanielS
17Jalen GilbertS
27John Howse IVS
21Savion RileyS
41Steven SannieniolaS
7Marlen SewellS
2De'Rickey WrightS

Vanderbilt Commodores Football Schedule

The Vanderbilt Commodores Football matchups for the regular season are as follows:

Sat, Aug 31Virginia Tech
Sat, Sep 7Alcorn State
Sat, Sep 14Georgia State
Sat, Sep 21Missouri
Sat, Oct 5Alabama
Sat, Oct 12Kentucky
Sat, Oct 19Ball State
Sat, Oct 26Texas
Sat, Nov 2Auburn
Sat, Nov 9South Carolina
Sat, Nov 23LSU
Sat, Nov 30Tennessee

FAQ's On Vanderbilt Commodores Football

A. Vanderbilt University started its football program in 1890.

A. Vanderbilt football competes in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) in the East Division.

A. Clark Lea is the current head coach of the Vanderbilt Commodores football team.

A. Vanderbilt has won 14 conference championships.

A. The Vanderbilt Commodores play their home games at FirstBank Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee.

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