Vanderbilt associate chancellor David Williams, who said he didn't know Johnson was retiring until late last night, was asked by the media if Vanderbilt would embark on a national search for a coach during the season. Williams responded, pointing to Caldwell, "I have a coach right here."
Johnson said, tongue in cheek, that he had thought of retiring for 20 years and later said that he will not pursue another coaching position. Williams remarked that he had offered Johnson an increase in pay to stay but Johnson turned him down. Johnson revealed that he will retire in South Carolina to be closer to his three sisters.
Early in the press conference Johnson eyes swelled with tears as he spoke about his hundreds of current and former players who worked so hard under him. Johnson revealed that he had not yet spoken with the team but that he planned to do so shortly after the press conference.
Caldwell has been at Vanderbilt since 2002. He has over 30 years of coaching experience including stints at North Carolina, North Carolina State and Furman. He is a 1976 graduate of Furman University. Caldwell and his wife, Nora Lynn, are the parents of a daughter, Emsley.
Caldwell has coached Vanderbilt's offensive line since arriving in Nashville. He was named assistant head coach a year into his tenure with the Commodore program. He was the first Vanderbilt assistant coach given the title "Assistant Head Coach" by Johnson. Caldwell is a highly regarded assistant who has been coveted by other BCS programs including South Carolina where both Lou Holtz and Steve Spurrier have pursued Caldwell without success. Caldwell has overseen the development of several All-SEC offensive lineman including Chris Williams who was a first round draft pick by the Chicago Bears in 2007.
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