Auburn hires former Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason as defensive coordinator

Nick Bromberg
·2 min read

Derek Mason is staying in the SEC.

The former Vanderbilt head coach will be Auburn’s defensive coordinator, the school announced Thursday evening. Mason will work for new Tigers head coach Bryan Harsin, who was hired after a lengthy search that came after Gus Malzahn’s firing.

“Derek Mason is one of the best defensive minds in college football and his track record speaks for itself,” Harsin said in a statement. “I’ve always admired his ability to prepare his defenses and his approach with players on and off the field is outstanding. Having experience as a head coach in the Southeastern Conference is invaluable and he will bring a lot to our program. We’re fired up to have Coach Mason join the Auburn family.”

Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason walks on the field before the start of an NCAA college football game against LSU Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Derek Mason will stay in the SEC in 2021. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Vanderbilt struggled after Mason was hired to succeed James Franklin at Vanderbilt. The Commodores were 27-55 in his seven seasons and went to just two bowl games. Both of them were losses.

Mason was a defensive coordinator at Stanford before he was hired at Vanderbilt. The Commodores let him go after going 0-8 in an 0-9 season.

“Auburn University is a special place with special people, and I’ve witnessed this in my time in the SEC,” Mason said. “I admire the school, the facilities, the traditions and the uniqueness of the community.”

Mike Bobo will be Auburn offensive coordinator

Both of Harsin’s coordinators will have significant SEC experience. Auburn announced earlier Thursday that South Carolina offensive coordinator Mike Bobo would be the Tigers’ new offensive coordinator. He replaces former Arkansas coach Chad Morris in that role.

“I’ve wanted to work with Mike now for quite some time as he complements the many things we want to do with our offense,” Harsin said. “We are going to be very versatile in what we do and Mike’s offensive background speaks for itself. I’m really excited to combine forces with Mike as we create the Auburn offense, a high-powered, attacking and physical unit that will come at you in many ways.”

Bobo was hired by Will Muschamp to be South Carolina’s offensive coordinator in 2020. He then became the Gamecocks’ interim coach after Muschamp was fired after seven games into the season.

The former Georgia quarterback was an offensive coordinator with the Bulldogs before he was hired as the head coach at Colorado State. Bobo spent five seasons with the Rams and had a career record of 28-35 at CSU. USC was 0-3 in Bobo’s time as interim head coach in 2020.

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