Vanderbilt Hires Derek Mason as Commodores’ 28th Head Football CoachBy Staff Reporter
Derek Mason, 44-year-old Stanford defensive coordinator, has been roped in for the position of head football coach at Vanderbilt. Mason succeeds James Franklin, who left for Penn State Jan. 11.
"I am so excited to be at Vanderbilt," Mason, regarded as one of the nation's top coordinators, said. "This university combines the best of what's good about college athletics and academics. We expect to be competitive and look forward to competing for an SEC East crown."
Commodore, the Vanderbilt athletic team, recorded consecutive nine-win seasons and ranked in the Top 25 for the first time in the program's history. Last season, the team posted 9-4 and a 41-24 triumph over Houston in the BBVA Compass Bowl.
David Williams II, Vanderbilt's athletic director said that after consulting with experts and making 'in-house' evaluations, Mason rightly fit in.
Nicholas S. Zeppos, Vanderbilt chancellor, hopes that new coach will build on the momentum (on and off the field) of his predecessors that has taken Vanderbilt football to great heights.
"He embodies integrity, strategic thinking and a demonstrated commitment to success. He understands the important role that athletics plays in the life of a vibrant university, and that outstanding scholarly pursuits and top-notch sports are integral parts of the Vanderbilt experience," Zeppos said in a statement.
Mason, defensive coordinator at Stanford since 2011, led the Cardinal to Rose Bowl appearances in 2013 and 2014 and consecutive Pac-12 titles.
The team was listed among the NCAA national Top 15 in defensive competence for three consecutive years. Under Mason's tutelage, the defense unit was ranked third in the NCAA in rushing defense (89.4 yards), 10th in scoring defense (19.0 points) and 16th in total offense (343.1 yards).
They also fared well in numerous categories, including scoring defense and total defense in Pac-12.
The athletes were also equally intelligent 'off the field.' They recorded a graduation rate of 95 percent.
"I am very excited for Derek; this is a great opportunity for he and his wife, Leighanne," said Stanford coach David Shaw. "Derek is a great teacher and motivator, but more importantly he is a man of high character. We wish him success," ESPN reports.