Vanderbilt athletic director Malcom Turner resigns, Candice Storey Lee steps in to make history

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Vanderbilt athletic director Malcom Turner has resigned after just over a year on the job, the school announced in a release on Tuesday. He will be replaced on an interim basis by Candice Storey Lee, who makes significant history as the first African American woman to lead an SEC athletics department as well as serving as the first female to helm the position at the school. Lee previously held the position of Turner's deputy athletic director. The former Vanderbilt women's basketball player holds three degrees from the university, including a doctorate in higher education administration.

"Candice embodies the Vanderbilt Way, which is our commitment to ensuring that student-athletes excel on the field of play, academically and in life," Vanderbilt interim chancellor Susan Wente said in the release. "Candice is a trailblazer. Her unparalleled work ethic, energy and vision, and steadfast commitment to the Commodore family, will only build on our momentum."

Lee's appointment to the lead role within the university's athletic department follows a year in which Turner made several major, somewhat controversial decisions after being hired away from his role as president of the NBA G-League to serve as an athletic director for the first time in his career. Turner decided to retain football coach Derek Mason after the Commodores finished the 2019 season 3-9 (1-7 SEC) in Mason's sixth season on the job. He also hired former NBA All-Star Jerry Stackhouse as Vanderbilt's men's basketball coach. Before he could make that move, Turner had to fire Stackhouse's predecessor, Bryce Drew, after just three seasons. That decision was made easier after the Commodores finished the 2018-19 season with an 0-18 record in SEC play.

"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," Turner said. "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. 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."

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