On Sunday, Nov. 29th, Candice Storey Lee and the Vanderbilt Athletics Department announced the firing of Derek Mason as head coach of the football program.
The seemingly inevitable move came after Coach Mason led the Commodores to an 0-8 record versus Southeastern Conference opponents during the 2020 season, his seventh at Vanderbilt. His overall record was 27-55 (10-46 SEC). Despite some success during his tenure, it became clear Vanderbilt would have to make a change if they wished to return to relevance.
Although there have been more lows than highs recently, The Dore Report wishes Coach Mason the best and will always be grateful for his positive accomplishments, some of which are listed below:
- Record vs Tennessee: Derek Mason beat the Vols for three years straight (2016, 2017, 2018). He was 3-3 against Tennessee. Commodore fans will never forget Coach Mason dancing on the sidelines in 2016, celebrating a win that would prevent the Vols from playing in the Sugar Bowl.
- Bowl appearances: Derek Mason has led the Commodores to 2 bowl games under his direction. This is no small feat when considering Vanderbilt has only played in a meager total of 9 bowl games during its history. (2016 Independence bowl [L], 2018 Texas Bowl [L])
- Recruiting wins (247 Rankings): Coach Mason landed some major recruits during his tenure, including:
- 4* DL Nifae Lealao
- 4* OLB Josh Smith
- 4* DB Joejuan Williams (NE Patriots)
- 4* LB Alston Orji
- 4* WR Cam Johnson
- 4* QB Kyle Shurmur
- 4* S Emmanuel Smith
- 4* S Brendon Harris
- 3* Ath/S De’Rickey Wright
- 3* LB Salua Masina
- 3* S Donovan Kaufman
- 3* ILB Anfernee Orji
- 3* QB Mike Wright
- 3* QB Ken Seals.
(Additionally, Coach Mason and staff recently received a commitment from highly-touted four-star recruit, Marcus Bradley. Commodore Nation hopes he, and others from this current class, remain committed moving forward.)
- Players to the NFL: Under Derek Mason, many Commodores developed into legit NFL talents, including:
- DB Joejuan Williams (NE Patriots)
- DT Adam Butler (NE Patriots)
- RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn (TB Buccaneers)
- LB Zach Cunningham (HOU Texans)
- OL Justin Skule (SF 49ers)
- FB Khari Blasingame (TN Titans)
- LB Oren Burks (GB Packers)
- CB Tre Herndon (JAX Jaguars)
- OL Will Holden (BAL Ravens)*
- OL Spencer Pulley (NY Giants)
- WR Kalija Lipscomb (KC Chiefs/GB Packers)*
- TE Jared Pinkney (ATL Falcons)*
- WR Caleb Scott (GB Packers)*
- WR Trent Sherfield (AZ Cardinals)
- DL Stephen Weatherly (CAR Panthers)
(* indicates practice squad/practice squad/FA signing)
Although Coach Mason didn’t receive the necessary support from the University and administration to succeed while at Vanderbilt, Commodore Nation has hope that new leadership from Chancellor Daniel Deirmeier will allow for positive changes within the athletic department, facilitating tangible commitment for much-needed facility upgrades. This commitment will be instrumental for the future success of Commodore football, no matter who leads the program.
Stay tuned to The Dore Report for updates on the coaching search.