Minter, Cauthen Arrive on West End

Defensive coordinator and chief of staff added to Clark Lea’s group

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Vanderbilt head football coach Clark Lea continued to add to his staff Thursday with Jesse Minter as the defensive coordinator and safeties coach and Ben Cauthen as chief of staff.

Minter returns to college football after four seasons with the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens, working primarily with the organization’s defensive backs. During his Ravens tenure, the team captured a pair of AFC North division titles, in 2018 and 2019, and advanced to the playoffs in each of his final three seasons. The 2020 squad claimed a 20-13 wild card win against the Tennessee Titans, marking the organization’s first postseason victory since 2014.

Before joining the Ravens, Minter spent four seasons (2013-16) at Georgia State, the final three as the defensive coordinator. His work in 2015 resulted in the Panthers having the biggest scoring defense turnaround at the FBS level, allowing 15 fewer points/game than in 2014. The defense also improved by 122.3 fewer total yards/game allowed. Georgia State earned the program’s first bowl bid, appearing in the AutoNation Cure Bowl.

Minter’s first full-time coaching position was at Indiana State, where he worked from 2009-12. In his final season at Indiana State, Minter constructed a defensive unit that ranked third in the FCS in scoring defense, allowing just 14.3 points/game, and sixth nationally in total defense with 296.4 yards/game. The Sycamores also ranked fifth in FCS in pass efficiency defense, 14th in passing yards allowed and 28th in rushing yards allowed.

Minter earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies in 2005 from the College of Mount Saint Joseph, where he played wide receiver and helped the Lions to a 30-10 mark during his four years with back-to-back Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference titles and Division III playoff appearances in 2004 and 2005.

Cauthen comes to Vanderbilt after serving for seven years as the video coordinator for the Wake Forest football program. He was recognized as the 2016-17 and 2018-19 ACC Conference Video Coordinator of the Year by the Collegiate Sports Video Association.

The Lancaster, South Carolina, native was a first-team All-Area and All-Regional 4A quarterback at Lancaster High School in 2001. Cauthen earned a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism and mass communication from South Carolina in 2007 and a master’s in secondary education in 2011 from The Citadel.

Cauthen played football at Coastal Carolina for two seasons (2002-03) before transferring to South Carolina.