Vandy makes Candice Lee SEC’s first female, black AD
11:54 AM ET
  • Alex ScarboroughESPN Staff Writer

    • Covers the SEC.
    • Joined ESPN in 2012.
    • Graduate of Auburn University.

Vanderbilt has hired Candice Lee as its athletic director, making her the first female athletic director and the first African American woman to lead an SEC athletic department.

Lee had been serving as interim athletic director since February, when Malcolm Turner resigned after one year in the position.

In addition to being athletic director, Lee will hold the title of vice chancellor for athletics and university affairs. The school made the announcement on Thursday.

“Candice is perfectly positioned to lead our athletics program to new heights of success on and off the field of play. She has the drive, creativity, and perseverance to help elevate our student-athletes, and the entire Vanderbilt Athletics program,” incoming chancellor Daniel Diermeier said in a statement. “The progress that Vanderbilt Athletics has achieved in recent years, and our very high aspirations for the future, are grounded in the university’s commitment both to academic excellence and to preparing our student-athletes to play and win in one of the most, if not the most, competitive conferences in the country. Candice is the living embodiment of these values and aspirations.”

Lee was a captain on Vanderbilt’s women’s basketball team, graduating in 2000.

She becomes just the fifth female athletic director among the Power 5 schools.

“I am incredibly honored to lead the Commodores, and I could not have been in this position without the support of the university’s leadership, our dedicated coaches and staff, and all of Commodore Nation,” Lee said in a statement. “There are challenges ahead and much uncertainty about what college athletics can and should look like during a pandemic, but I firmly believe that anything is possible if we all work together.

“My priority, and the university’s priority, continues to be examining everything we can do to support our student-athletes and ensure their safety and well-being. We also continue to prepare for the future — determining and establishing the conditions our student-athletes need to compete and succeed at Vanderbilt and beyond.”

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