Derek Mason

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Not to be confused with Derrick Mason.
Derek Mason
Sport(s) Football
Current position
Title Head Coach
Team Vanderbilt
Conference SEC
Record 3–9
Biographical details
Born Phoenix, Arizona
Playing career
1989–1992 Northern Arizona
Position(s) Cornerback
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
San Diego Mesa (WR)
Weber St. (WR)
Idaho St. (RB)
Bucknell (DB)
Utah (WR/ST)
St. Mary's (AHC/Co-DC)
New Mexico St. (WR)
Ohio (WR)
Minnesota Vikings (DB)
Stanford (DB)
Stanford (AHC/Co-DC/DB)
Stanford (AHC/DC)
Head coaching record
Overall 3–9

Derek Mason is an American football coach and former player. He currently is the head coach at Vanderbilt University.

Early life and playing career[edit]

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.[1]

Coaching career[edit]

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.[1] 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.[1] In 2013, the defensive coordinator position was endowed and named the Willie Shaw Director of Defense.[1]


On January 17, 2014, Vanderbilt hired Mason as its new head football coach, succeeding James Franklin.[2] With the hire, Vanderbilt is the first and only school in the 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.[3] The Commodores struggled offensively for much of the season. Vanderbilt did not score an offensive TD for nine quarters and was the last D1 team to reach the end zone on offense.[4]

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 will call the defensive plays himself.

Head coaching record[edit]

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
Vanderbilt Commodores (Southeastern Conference) (2014–present)
2014 Vanderbilt 3–9 0–8 7th (Eastern)
2015 Vanderbilt 0–0 0–0 (Eastern)
Vanderbilt: 3–9 0–8
Total: 3–9
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title
Indicates Bowl Coalition, Bowl Alliance, BCS, or CFP / New Years' Six bowl.
#Rankings from final Coaches Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.


Mason and his wife, Leighanne, have two daughters.[1]