Bobby Johnson retires as Vanderbilt football coach; Robbie Caldwell will take over Commodores

Nashville (The Tennessean) - Bobby Johnson retired today as Vanderbilt's football coach , less than two months before the season opener.

"I've decided to retire, not resign," Johnson said. "I will not be coaching the Commodores in the 2010 season. It is a tough decision with which my wife Catherine and I struggle. This is a personal decision. It's about what we want to do with our lives."

Johnson, 59, went 29-66 in eight seasons, coaching the Commodores to a Music City Bowl victory in 2008.

"Believe me, there's not a great time for a college football coach to retire," Johnson said. "This is the way we worked it out. It was a hard decision when to do it and where to do it."

Offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell was named interim coach. Johnson's retirement is effective at the end of July.

"This is a sad day, but a happy time for me," Caldwell said. "I've worked a long time to work as a loyal assistant. College football is losing a great man today."

Vice Chancellor David Williams said he was shocked when he learned of Johnson's decision.

"We love Bobby Johnson," Williams said. "Bobby Johnson is my football coach.
I tried to talk him out of it yesterday. I tried to talk him out of it last night. I tried to talk him out of it this morning. It is a personal decision. We at Vanderbilt wish that wasn't his decision, but we respect his decision."

Last season, Vanderbilt was 2-10 overall and 0-8 in the SEC.

Johnson had become just the third coach in Vanderbilt history to hold the job for at least eight years, joining Dan McGugin and Art Guepe. Johnson coached the Commodores to their only non-losing season since 1982 in 2008 by winning the Music City Bowl.

Johnson also ended losing skids to eight other SEC teams during his tenure, including a 22-game string to Tennessee in 2005.

"I want to thank the hundreds of young men who accepted the challenge of pursuing one of the greatest educations in the country," Johnson said. "In my opinion, a coach could not ask of any more from his