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Middle Tennessee hires former Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason as football coach

Derek Mason

Derek Mason, the former Vanderbilt head football coach speaks during a public press conference announcing him as the new MTSU head football replacing former MTSU head football coach Rick Stockstill, on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023, during a press conference in the Student Union Building on campus.

HELEN COMER/The Daily News Journal/HELEN COMER/The Daily News Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Middle Tennessee has hired former Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason as the 15th head coach in the Blue Raiders’ history.

“It is my job and my responsibility to help move the legacy forward,” Mason said at a news conference.

Middle Tennessee signed Mason to a five-year contract. He spent this season working for the SEC Network as an analyst. He was defensive coordinator at Oklahoma State in 2022 and had the same job at Auburn in 2021.

Mason coached Vanderbilt between 2014 and 2020, becoming the second coach in the Southeastern Conference program’s history to earn multiple bowl berths. He won six games in 2016 with SEC wins over Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee. and also won six games in 2018, including a third straight over in-state rival Tennessee.

He also was defensive coordinator at Stanford.

Mason replaces Rick Stockstill, who was fired Nov. 27 after 18 seasons at Middle Tennessee.

Athletic director Chris Massaro cited Mason’s experience as a head coach, coaching aggressive defenses and deep ties to college football for this hire.

“Mason’s vision for MTSU football fits exactly what we were looking for during our interview process,” Massaro said. “Coach Mason is no stranger to the mid-state community and we expect his connections to allow him and his staff to hit the ground running as our 15th head football coach.”