|Born||September 29, 1969|
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|1994||Mesa CC (WR)|
|1995–1996||Weber State (WR)|
|1997–1998||Idaho State (RB)|
|2003||St. Mary's (AHC/Co-DC)|
|2004||New Mexico State (WR)|
|2007–2009||Minnesota Vikings (Asst. DB)|
|Head coaching record|
Derek Mason (born September 29, 1969) is an American college football coach who is currently the defensive coordinator for the Auburn Tigers. He was the head coach of the Vanderbilt Commodores football team from 2014 to 2020.
Mason attended Camelback High School in Phoenix, Arizona. After graduating from high school, he attended Northern Arizona University from 1989 to 1992, where he was a four-year letterman and two-year starter at cornerback.
After his playing career ended, Mason coached college football at Mesa Community College, Weber State, Bucknell, Utah, St. Mary's, New Mexico State, and Ohio. From 2007 to 2009, he coached defensive backs for the Minnesota Vikings of the NFL under Brad Childress, who had been one of his coaches at Northern Arizona.
In 2010, Mason was hired as defensive backs coach on Jim Harbaugh's staff at Stanford. In 2011, Mason was promoted to associate head coach and co-defensive coordinator under new head coach David Shaw.In 2012, Mason became the sole defensive coordinator for the Cardinal and was a finalist for the Broyles Award, given annually to the top assistant coach in college football. In 2013, the defensive coordinator position was endowed and named the Willie Shaw Director of Defense.
On January 17, 2014, Vanderbilt hired Mason as its new head football coach, succeeding James Franklin.With the hire, Vanderbilt is the first and only school in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) to have multiple minority head football coaches in its history. After back–to–back home losses, Mason won his first game as head coach against UMass by a score of 34–31. Vanderbilt had been outscored 10–78 in the two games prior to the win. The Commodores struggled offensively for much of the season. Vanderbilt did not score an offensive touchdown for nine quarters and was the last Division I team to reach the end zone on offense.
After a disappointing first season in Nashville, Mason fired both his offensive and defensive coordinators. He hired Andy Ludwig, formerly the offensive coordinator at Wisconsin, to run the offense. Mason decided to call the defensive plays himself.
His second season saw moderate growth for Vanderbilt, culminating in a 4–8 record with numerous firsts for the young head coach. Mason earned his first win against an SEC opponent (against Missouri) and his first win while on the road (at Middle Tennessee State University). The team was praised for a nationally respected defensive scheme, but the Commodores were unable to perform equally well with their offensive or special team capabilities.
Mason continued his role as head coach and defensive coordinator in his third season at Vanderbilt, leading the Commodores to a 6–6 (3–5 SEC) record in 2016, earning bowl eligibility for the first time as a head coach. Mason won his first SEC road game on October 15 at Georgia by the final score of 17–16. The Commodores nearly picked up another road win against a ranked conference opponent on November 5 at Auburn, losing 23–16 after throwing a late interception at the opponents' 30 yard line in the final minute.
After a disappointing loss to Missouri the next week, the Commodores needed to beat both Ole Miss and Tennessee at home in the team's final two games of the season to assure themselves of bowl eligibility, though they would have still reached a bowl with a 5–7 record based on a high Academic Performance Rating (APR), which determines the bowl eligibility of five win teams for open bowl slots. APR became a non-factor as the Commodores upset both Ole Miss and Tennessee at home in back-to-back games to end the regular season with a 6–6 record on the strength of 3 conference wins. Vandy scored a combined 83 points in the two wins as the offense came alive late in the season. Mason's dancing on the sideline and post-game celebration after defeating Tennessee were widely shared on Twitter and ESPN.
Under Mason, redshirt junior linebacker Zach Cunningham became a national finalist for the Butkus Award, given to the nation's best collegiate linebacker.
Year four for Mason was a disappointing regression. Despite an historic 3–0 start, including defeating a then 18th ranked Kansas State at home in week 3and ending a five-year losing streak of opening games since 2012, the Commodores finished 5–7 and were unable to play in a bowl game despite APR. Derek Mason was unable to answer the Alabama Crimson Tide in week 4, and experienced a five-game losing streak until hosting Western Kentucky in week 10. However, despite their lackluster performance, Vanderbilt was able to defeat the University of Tennessee, ensuring the Volunteers first ever 8 loss season.
The 2018 season began with Mason considered on the hot seat, one of 10 coaches identified by ESPN to be facing this challenge.He is the first Vanderbilt football coach to beat the Tennessee Volunteers three years in a row since Dan McGugin did it in 1926, 1925, and 1924.
Mason helped the program make history in 2020 by introducing Sarah Fuller, the school's women's soccer goalkeeper, into a November 28 game against Missouri. Fuller was the first woman to play in a game for a Power Five conference team, kicking off the second half, although Fuller never got a chance to kick a field goal or an extra point that day with Vanderbilt falling to Missouri 41–0 and 0–8 on the season. Fuller's appearance was not enough to offset seven consecutive seasons with a losing record, and the next day Mason was fired. (Fuller did convert two extra points during her next appearance, at home against Tennessee on December 12.)
On January 7, 2021, former Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason was hired as the Tigers’ defensive coordinator.
Mason and his wife, LeighAnne, have two daughters, Sydney and Makenzie. Makenzie is a lacrosse player for the University of Florida.
|Vanderbilt Commodores (Southeastern Conference)(2014–2020)|
|2016||Vanderbilt||6–7||3–5||T–5th (Eastern)||L Independence|
|2018||Vanderbilt||6–7||3–5||6th (Eastern)||L Texas|
|Vanderbilt:||27–55||10–46||*Fired after 8 games.|
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The Vanderbilt Commodores football program represents Vanderbilt University in the sport of American football. The Commodores compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the East Division of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). They are led by head coach Clark Lea. Vanderbilt plays their home games at Vanderbilt Stadium, located on the university's Nashville, Tennessee campus.
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Tony Franklin is a retired American football coach, most recently serving as the offensive coordinator for the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders of Conference USA after making a move from the same position with the California Golden Bears. He announced his retirement on soon after the new year in 2021, following the completion of a challenging 2020 season.
The 2008 Vanderbilt Commodores football team represented Vanderbilt University during the 2008–09 college football season. The team's head coach was Bobby Johnson, who served his seventh season in the position. The Commodores played their six home games at Vanderbilt Stadium at Dudley Field in Nashville, Tennessee. This was Vanderbilt's first 5-0 start since 1943. The season saw Vandy reach a bowl game for the first time since 1982, and also end a streak of 26 straight losing seasons.
The 2008 Music City Bowl was the eleventh edition of the college football bowl game played at LP Field in Nashville, Tennessee. The game started at 2:30 pm US CST on Wednesday, December 31, 2008. The game, telecast on ESPN, pitted the Vanderbilt Commodores against the Boston College Eagles. The Commodores, playing near their Nashville campus, won 16–14, earned their first bowl win in exactly 53 years, and completed their first winning season since 1982. Sponsored by Gaylord Hotels, it was officially named the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl.
Robert Alan Johnson is a retired American football coach and former player. He was most recently the head football coach at Vanderbilt University, a position he held from the 2002 season until his retirement in 2010. In December 2001, Johnson became the Commodores' head coach, after leading Furman University to the NCAA Division I-AA national championship game. He coached the Paladins between 1994 and 2001, leading the team to a 60–36 overall record during his eight years. Prior to his hiring at Furman, Johnson was the defensive coordinator for the Clemson Tigers. In 2008, Johnson led Vanderbilt to its first winning season since 1982. His team went 7–6 with a 16–14 win over Boston College in the Music City Bowl, Vanderbilt's first bowl victory since 1955 and only their second in school history at the time.
James Geoffrey Franklin is an American football coach and former player. He is the head football coach at Penn State University. Franklin served as the head football coach at Vanderbilt University from 2011 to 2013 before going to Penn State.
Robbie Caldwell is an American football coach, and currently serves as the offensive line coach for Clemson University. Caldwell was formerly the head coach of the Vanderbilt Commodores football team. He has also been an assistant coach at Furman University, North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Vanderbilt University. On February 2, 2011 Clemson University named Caldwell offensive line coach to replace the retiring Brad Scott.
The 2011 Vanderbilt Commodores football team represented Vanderbilt University during the 2011 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The Commodores played their seven home games at Vanderbilt Stadium at Dudley Field in Nashville, Tennessee, which has been Vanderbilt football's home stadium since 1922. The team's head coach was James Franklin, who was in his first year at Vanderbilt. Hired at Vanderbilt on December 17, 2010, he was previously the offensive coordinator and "head coach in waiting" at the University of Maryland. Vanderbilt has been a member of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) since the league's inception in 1932, and has participated in the conference's Eastern Division since its formation for the 1992 season. Vanderbilt completed the 2011 regular season with an overall record of 6–6 and a mark of 2–6 in conference play, finishing in a tie with Kentucky for fourth place in the SEC East. They were invited to the Liberty Bowl where they were defeated by Cincinnati 24–31 to finish the season 6–7. 2011. The seniors of the 2011 Vanderbilt football team became the first class in program history to qualify for two bowl games while at the school. Vanderbilt had only been to bowls in 1955 VS Auburn, 1974 VS Texas Tech, 1982 VS Air Force, and 2008 VS Boston College.
The 2011 Southeastern Conference football season began on Thursday, September 1, 2011 with Kentucky taking on Western Kentucky on ESPNU. The season concluded on January 9, 2012 as the Alabama Crimson Tide shut out LSU Tigers, 21–0 in the Allstate BCS National Championship Game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans to claim their 14th national championship in school history. It was also the final season for the SEC before Texas A&M and Missouri joined the conference from the Big 12 the following season.
The 2012 Vanderbilt Commodores football team represented Vanderbilt University during the 2012 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The Commodores played their six home games at Vanderbilt Stadium at Dudley Field in Nashville, Tennessee, which has been Vanderbilt football's home stadium since 1922. The team's head coach was James Franklin, who is in his second year at Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt has been a member of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) since the league's inception in 1932, and has participated in the conference's Eastern Division since its formation for the 1992 season. On November 11, 2012 Vandy became bowl eligible in back to back years for the first time in its 123-year football history. This was the first time since 1935 that Vandy won five SEC games in a year and the first time in 30 years that they won at home against Tennessee. Vanderbilt finished the year with the longest current SEC winning streak. For the first time since 1948, Vanderbilt finished the season with a top 25 ranking.
The 2014 Vanderbilt Commodores football team represented Vanderbilt University during the 2014 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The Commodores played their eight home games at Vanderbilt Stadium at Dudley Field in Nashville, Tennessee, which has been Vanderbilt football's home stadium since 1922. Derek Mason took over the helm as Vanderbilt's new head coach. They were members of the Eastern Division of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). They finished the season 3–9, 0–8 in SEC play to finish in last place in the Eastern Division.
The 2015 Vanderbilt Commodores football team represented Vanderbilt University during the 2015 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The Commodores played their home games at Vanderbilt Stadium at Dudley Field in Nashville, Tennessee, which has been Vanderbilt football's home stadium since 1922. Derek Mason coached the Commodores for his second year. They are members of the Eastern Division of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). The Commodores finished with a losing record for the second year in a row with an overall record of 4–8 and 2–6 in SEC play.
The 2015 Georgia Bulldogs football team represented the University of Georgia in the 2015 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The Bulldogs played their home games at Sanford Stadium. They were members of the Eastern Division of the Southeastern Conference. This was head coach Mark Richt's 15th and final season leading the program. Richt was relieved of his duties at the end of the regular season. Richt was originally slated to remain head coach for the team's bowl game, but he was replaced after he reached an agreement to become head coach of the Miami Hurricanes football team. Wide receivers coach Bryan McClendon was named interim head coach for the TaxSlayer Bowl against Penn State.
The 2016 Vanderbilt Commodores football team represented Vanderbilt University during the 2016 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The Commodores played their home games at Vanderbilt Stadium at Dudley Field in Nashville, Tennessee and competed in the Eastern Division of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). They were led by third-year head coach Derek Mason. This was Vanderbilt's 126th season of college football. They finished the season 6–7, 3–5 in SEC play to finish in a tie for fifth place in the Eastern Division. They were invited to the Independence Bowl where they lost to NC State.
The Vanderbilt Commodores football team represents Vanderbilt University in the sport of American football.
The 2019 Vanderbilt Commodores football team represented Vanderbilt University in the 2019 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The Commodores played their home games at Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee, and competed in the Eastern Division of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). They were led by sixth-year head coach Derek Mason.
The 2020 Vanderbilt Commodores football team represented Vanderbilt University in the 2020 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The Commodores played their home games at Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee, and competed in the Eastern Division of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). They were led by interim head coach Todd Fitch, who replaced Derek Mason after his firing on November 29, 2020. On December 14, 2020, Clark Lea was hired as head coach.
Frank Maile is an American football coach who is currently the defensive line coach and assistant head coach at Boise State University. He served as the interim head coach for Utah State for their bowl game against North Texas in 2018, as well as in 2020 when Gary Andersen was fired.