Widenhofer's Statement

Chancellor Gee's Statement

Director of Athletics Todd Turner's Statement

Press Conference (Will be posted shortly after completion of statements)

Vanderbilt head football Woody Widenhofer resigned his position Thursday evening, effective the end of the current football season.

Widenhofer has an overall record of 15-37 in five years at Vanderbilt. The Commodores are 2-6 this season and host Kentucky Saturday before ending their season with road trips to Tennessee (Nov. 24) and Mississippi (Dec. 1).

Widenhofer read a brief statement, in which he acknowledged the struggles of this season and his belief that it was in "everyone's best interest" to resign. He thanked his team, his coaching staff and the Vanderbilt fans for their loyalty and support. Widenhofer had previously been a head coach at the University of Missouri (1985-88) and the Oklahoma Outlaws of the USFL (1984).

Widenhofer, 58, spent 17 years in the National Football League. He is perhaps best known for his 11 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, who won four Super Bowl championships during his tenure. He was the defensive coordinator of the famed "Steel Curtain" for seven of those seasons.

Widenhofer also coached four years (1989-92) with the Detroit Lions and two seasons with the Cleveland Browns (1993-94) before arriving at Vanderbilt as defensive coordinator in 1995. He immediately established the Commodore defense as one of the best. In 1997, Vanderbilt led the Southeastern Conference in total defense for the first time in school history.

Vanderbilt football also improved its already strong academic reputation under Widenhofer. Last summer, the NCAA announced that Vanderbilt led the nation in football graduation percentage with a perfect 100% for its most recently tracked class.

"This is a sad day for me personally and for our athletics program," Director of Athletics Todd Turner said. "Woody is as good a colleague and friend as I have ever worked with and we have all enjoyed our association with him and his staff. In many ways, he's been extraordinarily successful. Our team's academic achievements under his leadership have been the most noteworthy in Vanderbilt history. Our players have gone on to successful careers in the NFL, business and graduate school. Woody has much to be proud of and we will all be grateful for his friendship and service to Vanderbilt."


Vanderbilt Athletic Department
2601 Jess Neely Drive
Nashville, TN 37212
615-322-GOLD (4653)