New Vanderbilt football coach Clark Lea held his introductory news conference on Sunday morning as he was introduced by Vanderbilt administrators.

The former Notre Dame defensive coordinator explained his vision for the program, and what he expects. He promoted the city of Nashville, the Vanderbilt education and the ability to compete in the SEC, which he called the best conference in college football.

“It feels great to be home, but I don’t want that to be the narrative today because a homecoming implies an emotional decision, and I can assure you, for me, this is a strategic decision,” Lea said. “We’re going to begin our journey focused on habits and heartbeat.”

Lea said he looks forward to fielding a team that plays fast, plays free and plays together.

“A team that fights for every blade of grass on the field,” Lea said. “A team that’s competitive, a team that’s tough. But also a team that’s first class, just like our university.”

Asked about the history and potential of the program, Lea said, “I’ve always believed in the potential in this program. I want to be clear that Vanderbilt is special way beyond one person. This university, its mission, what it provides is something that lasts a lifetime.”

Lea will continue to be the defensive coordinator with Notre Dame until the end of the season, and he noted that he appreciated that Vanderbilt officials allow one cycle to finish before another starts.