Vanderbilt has found its replacement for departed coach James Franklin. The Commodores announced former Stanford defensive coordinator Derek Mason as the program's new head coach on Friday night.
The news was first reported Friday by Shannon Terry of 247Sports.com.
Since Franklin left Nashville to take over at Penn State last Saturday, Mason had been rumored as a candidate for the Vanderbilt job. According to Terry, the Cardinal assistant was the Commodores' top target in its search.
Sources tell @247Sports that Derek Mason was the first choice of Williams and the committee.
— Shannon B. Terry (@sbterry247) January 17, 2014
Vanderbilt will formally introduce Mason at a press conference on Saturday morning. In a statement, Mason said he is excited to contend in the SEC and continue the resurgence of the Commodores.
"I am so excited to be at Vanderbilt," Mason said. "This university combines the best of what's good about college athletics and academics. We expect to be competitive and look forward to competing for an SEC East crown."
Mason spent the past four seasons at Stanford, including the past three as the Cardinal's defensive coordinator. In 2013, his defense finished first in the Pac-12 in scoring defense and second in total defense. Mason leaves Stanford coming off two consecutive Pac-12 titles with one of the nation's most efficient defenses.
Other names reportedly in the running for the Vanderbilt job were Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris, St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton. But Vanderbilt athletic director David Williams said the Commodores found the right man for the job.
"We are very pleased with our search. It was evident that the football world is aware of the tremendous progress our program has made and that was reflected by the deep pool of talent that showed an interest in our position," Williams said. "We talked to outside experts and did our own evaluations and the person that always seemed to be in the spotlight was the same person that was at the top of our list and that was Derek Mason. "We are so excited to be introducing him as our head football coach because we are confident he can build upon our successes on and off the field and that he will take us to the next level. Derek will be an asset to our university."