Vanderbilt Football announces Fitch, Roof as new coordinators

Mason taps veteran gurus to his new-look coaching staff ahead of the 2020 college football season


Hunter Long

Coach Derek Mason works on the sidelines as the Kentucky Wildcats defeat the Commodores 38-14 on Saturday, November 16, 2019.

Max Schneider, Sports Editor

On Saturday afternoon, Vanderbilt head football coach Derek Mason announced the hiring of new offensive and defensive coordinators for the upcoming 2020 season. The six-year head coach tapped former Louisiana Tech offensive coordinator Todd Fitch and former Appalachian State defensive coordinator Ted Roof to the same positions.

Mason also hired Peter Rossomando, who will serve as the program’s offensive line coach.

The hires come just a few days after reports surfaced that Fitch would be offered the job, with rumors swirling around Roof over the course of the last 24 hours.

Fitch and Roof will replace former offensive coordinator Gerry Gdowski and former defensive coordinator Jason Tarver, both of whom were fired on December 28.

While at Louisiana Tech, Fitch contributed to a 34-19 record, capturing four straight bowl wins against Navy (2016), SMU (2017), Hawaii (2018) and most recently, the University of Miami (2019). Members of Fitch’s offense have taken home Conference-USA individual awards such as 2016 Most Valuable Player (Ryan Higgins, quarterback) and 2016 Offensive Player of the Year (Carlos Henderson). That same season, his offense also paced the conference in completion rate (66.7 percent), first downs (358) and passing offense (363.4 yards per game), with wideouts Trent Taylor and Carlos Henderson placing first and fifth nationally in total receiving yards.

“Todd Fitch has a reputation as one of the nation’s top offensive minds and coordinators and I’m very pleased to welcome him to the Commodore family,” Mason told Vanderbilt Athletics. “Todd is a tremendous addition to the Vanderbilt family. I have followed Todd for several years and he’s consistently developed innovative and productive offensive attacks. I look forward to Todd leading our offense into an exciting future.”

The hiring marks Fitch’s fifth stint as offensive play caller, formerly holding the title at Louisiana Tech, Boston College, East Carolina and South Florida.

Roof comes to Vanderbilt after just one season with Appalachian State, where he helped guide the Mountaineers to a program best 13-1 record and a 31-17 win over UAB in the New Orleans Bowl. Appalachian State finished the season with a Top-25 ranking in the Associated Press poll in part thanks to Roof’s defense, which allowed just 20.2 points per contest.

Prior to his time with Appalachian State, Roof served as the defensive coordinator for NC State, Georgia Tech, Penn State, UCF, Auburn and Minnesota. During his three-year tenure at Auburn, the Tigers won a National Championship. While at Georgia Tech, Roof’s alma mater, the Yellow Jackets won the 2014 Orange Bowl as well as the ACC Coastal Division title.

Georgia Tech ranked among the top-30 nationally in scoring defense and total defense in 2013. Two years later, the Yellow Jackets ranked sixth nationally in fewest first downs allowed and fielded the nation’s most-improved third-down defense. Roof coached four NFL Draft selections and nine All-ACC performers during his five-year stretch as Georgia Tech’s defensive coordinator.

Roof has also served the head coach of Duke University for four years, posting a 6-45 overall record.

Rossomando comes to West End following one season as the offensive line coach at Rutgers University. Prior to his time at Rutgers, Rossomando served as the head coach for Central Connecticut State of the FCS from 2014 to 2018. He helped guide the Blue Devils to their first playoff appearance in 2017, going undefeated in the Northeast Conference for the first time in nine years.

Rossomando also spent time as the head coach of the University of New Haven, where he helped rebuild the school’s football program and won the 2012 NCAA Division-II Coach of the Year award.

All three coaches will join Derek Mason’s staff in 2020 and look to rebound from a 3-9 season, tied for the worst record of the Mason era.

This story will continue to be updated as The Vanderbilt Hustler receives more information.