Vanderbilt Fires Football Coach Derek Mason

Vanderbilt University is now looking for a new football coach. On Sunday, the school announced it has parted ways with Derek Mason after being the head coach for seven seasons. This comes after the team made college football history as Sarah Fuller became the first female to play in a Power 5 game. Offensive coordinator Todd Fitch will serve as interim coach, and the school said the search for a new coach will start immediately.

"On behalf of the entire Vanderbilt community, I want to extend my deepest gratitude to Coach Mason for his many years of dedication and service leading our football program," Vanderbilt athletic director Candice Storey Lee said in a statement. "Derek cares deeply about the student-athletes under his charge. His tenure at Vanderbilt will be remembered for his steadfast commitment to our student-athletes, not only on the field, but in the classroom and as young people." Once the news was announced Mason went to social media to share his feelings about Vanderbilt.

"I am blessed to have worked alongside and built relationships with some of the finest and most dedicated coaches, staff and faculty in the nation," Mason wrote. It has truly been an honor to have been given the opportunity to teach, mentor, champion and coach hundreds of Vanderbilt young men and one courageous female."

Mason was hired by Vanderbilt in 2014 and became the school's 28th head football coach. Before joining the Commodores, Mason served as Stanford's associate head coach and defensive coordinator. This season, the team has struggled to find wins as they currently have a 0-8 record, but Mason did have success at Vanderbilt, becoming the second head coach in school history to lead two Commodore teams to postseason bowls. Mason was also the first Vanderbilt coach since the 1920s to defeat Tennessee in three consecutive seasons. In his seven seasons, Mason compiled a 27-55 record, the sixth-winningest coach in program history. In the last two seasons, Vanderbilt went 3-17 and 1-15 in the SEC. The team lost its share of players as at least seven opted out of the 2020 season with eight others transferring, according to ESPN.

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Mason, 51, was on Stanford's coaching staff from 2010-2013. He also spent three seasons on the Minnesota Vikings coaching staff as an assistant defensive backs coach. He also spent time at Ohio, New Mexico State, Utah, Weber State, St. Mary's and Idaho State.