So, I’ll preface this by saying that I like Clark Lea. I think Vanderbilt football showed significant improvement from his first year (2-10) to his second year (5-7), and recruiting seems to be going well. I think Vanderbilt is going to eventually become a winning program on his watch.
With that out of the way: I don’t understand signing him to a contract extension, right now.
Now, obviously, I have two caveats here. One, nobody actually knows the terms of the extension. Two, I don’t know if there are any other factors, like, say, Northwestern possibly calling.
Otherwise, I don’t understand why they didn’t just wait until after the season. However long Lea has on his contract, it’s clearly not having a negative effect on recruiting; Vanderbilt currently has 21 players committed in the 2024 class, and that class is ranked 34th in the 247 Sports composite.
But in another sense, this almost felt like it was inevitably going to come at some point in the near future if the program continued on its current trajectory. Waiting to see if the team makes a bowl game might have been a good idea, but if you’re confident enough in the trajectory, well, why not go ahead?