Vanderbilt Football: Commodores Hire Stanford DC Derek Mason to Replace James Franklin

Stanford DC Derek Mason to Be the Next Head Coach of Vanderbilt

1/18/14 in NCAAF   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

James Franklin did a phenomenal job of turning around the Vanderbilt football program, leading his team to two consecutive nine-win seasons in his second and third years on the job, a mark that the program had not reached since 1915.

Of course, when a coach performs that well at a historically mediocre football program, the big schools start to take notice. For Franklin, it was Penn State that came knocking, and the three-year Vanderbilt head coach bolted for Happy Valley.

April 13, 2013; Stanford, CA, USA; Stanford Cardinal defensive coordinator Derek Mason looks on during the Cardinal & White spring game at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY SportsLooking to keep up its newfound success, Vanderbilt was targeting a new bright mind to lead its program. Reports suggest that their search ended on Friday, as it has found its new head coach; Shannon Terry of 247Sports has reported that Stanford co-defensive coordinator Derek Mason will be the next head coach of the Vanderbilt football team.

For those wondering, no, this is not Derrick Mason, former NFL wide receiver. This Mason was the defensive backs coach for the Minnesota Vikings from 2007-09, then went to Stanford in 2010 to fill the same position. In 2011, he was promoted to associate head coach and co-defensive coordinator. Since taking on a bigger role on the coaching staff, Stanford's defense has ranked 30th, 10th, and 11th among FBS teams in points allowed.

Interestingly, Vanderbilt reportedly offered the job to Pep Hamilton - offensive coordinator of the Indianapolis Colts - before offering it to Mason. Hamilton and Mason were on the same staff for three years at Stanford, as Hamilton served as the wide receivers coach in 2010 and the offensive coordinator in 2011 and 2012. Hamilton turned down the job to stick in Indy calling plays for franchise quarterback Andrew Luck - not a bad decision to stay put for a little while, if you ask me.

It is unclear when Vanderbilt will actually make this announcement, as Mason is going in for a second interview on Friday, but that is thought to be more of a formality than anything. Sources have told 247Sports that Mason will eventually be named head coach. The hiring of Mason will make Vanderbilt the first football program in the SEC to have multiple minority head coaches in school history.
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