Vanderbilt's Lee becomes 1st black woman AD in SEC

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Vanderbilt has removed the interim title, making Candice Storey Lee the first black woman to become an athletic director in the Southeastern Conference.

With Vanderbilt's announcement Wednesday, Lee now is among only five women in charge of a Power Five program. Daniel Diermeier, who takes over as Vanderbilt's chancellor on July 1, said Lee is the “living embodiment” of the university's values and aspirations.

“Candice is perfectly positioned to lead our athletics program to new heights of success on and off the field of play,” Diermeier said. "She has the drive, creativity, and perseverance to help elevate our student-athletes, and the entire Vanderbilt Athletics program.

Lee was named interim athletic director Feb. 4 when Malcolm Turner resigned after one year on the job for the former NBA G League president.

Lee played basketball at Vanderbilt and was a captain before graduating in 2000. She earned a master’s degree in counseling from Vanderbilt in 2002 and got her doctorate in higher education administration in 2012.

She was appointed as deputy athletics director in 2016. Lee said she was incredibly honored and could not be in this position without the support of Vanderbilt's leadership, coaches, staff and fans.

“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," Lee said.