According to the report, Vavae Tata was arrested on Sunday in Nashville, where he was charged with DUI and leaving the scene of an accident with property damage. Tata, who was introduced on Jan. 24 as the Commodores’ defensive line assistant for coach Derek Mason, blew a .18 on a breathalyzer test. The legal blood alcohol limit in Tennessee is .08.
In a statement, Vanderbilt announced on Tuesday that the school has suspended Tata indefinitely.
Based upon information received Tuesday, Vanderbilt assistant coach Vavae Tata has been suspended indefinitely by Head Football Coach Derek Mason stemming from an incident that occurred Feb. 16 in Nashville. Vanderbilt University will continue its investigation into the matter.
The Tennessean reports that Tata attempted to evade police after striking two parked cars in Nashville.
According to the report, Tata, 37, struck two parked vehicles on West End Avenue and fled the scene on foot in an attempt to avoid police. He was located several blocks away and admitted to operating the crashed vehicle. He smelled of alcohol, was unsteady on his feet and had bloodshot and watery eyes.
Tata joined Mason's staff at Vanderbilt after serving alongside Mason at Stanford in 2012 and '13. This is bad news for a Commodores program hoping to separate itself from the legal troubles that plagued the previous football administration. A well-documented sexual assault case involving several Vanderbilt players brought a cloud over former coach James Franklin's final offseason in 2013. Now Mason's first year in Nashville will face legal distractions of its own, which surely isn't the start that the new coach wanted.