Clark Lea says Vanderbilt football will be the best program in the country 'in time'

Nick Gray
Nashville Tennessean

Vanderbilt football coach Clark Lea alluded to his ultimate goal as the coach of the Commodores.

"But it's because of (Chancellor Daniel Diermeier and AD Candice Lee's) support that we're aiming to build the best football program in the country at Vanderbilt University," Lea said Tuesday at SEC Media Days, "where we have the best school in the best city in the best conference with the best facilities on the horizon."

He later said again with more pointed language: "We know in time Vanderbilt football will be the best program in the country."

Both quotes were tucked into a 17-minute opening statement for Lea at the main podium at SEC Media Days.

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In his first year at Vanderbilt, Lea's Commodores went 2-10 and winless in the SEC. That included an opening-week loss to FCS East Tennessee State.

Vandy can be one of the better programs in the SEC — consecutive nine-win seasons in the James Franklin era a decade ago can speak to that — but the best program in the country? That's a very lofty goal.

Lea's comments about the work it'll take to get there have not changed from Year 1 to Year 2. It's going to take a lot to get the Vanderbilt Commodores to the upper echelon of the top conference in college football.

" As I said a year ago, there are no cheat codes, shortcuts, no hacks that will allow this to happen overnight," Lea said. "This is still about going the long, hard way, independent of the trends and headlines generating the most attention right now in college football."