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Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated
Mike McDaniel

Middle Tennessee Hires Former SEC Head Coach

Middle Tennessee has tabbed Derek Mason as the school’s new head coach, the program announced on Wednesday. 

“I am excited to be the 15th head coach at MTSU,” Mason said in a statement. “This is an emotional moment for me. This is the house that Rick Stockstill built and he left good bones and a strong foundation. He did a lot to raise and encourage these young men and help them take the journey. …I can’t wait to get started.”

Derek Mason returns to the state of Tennessee as a head coach after leaving Vanderbilt in 2020.

Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman/USA TODAY NETWORK

Mason spent the 2023 season out of football, but has served as defensive coordinator at Stanford, Auburn and, most recently, at Oklahoma State. But perhaps more importantly to the Middle Tennessee job, Mason spent seven seasons as Vanderbilt’s head coach from 2014-20, where he went 27–55 with one of the toughest programs in the Power 5.

Vanderbilt resides about 40 miles from Middle Tennessee’s campus, which allows Mason to hit the ground running and reestablish relationships with the Tennessee high schools that he developed when he led the Commodores program.

Mason signed a five-year contract with the Blue Raiders and takes over for longtime coach Rick Stockstill after the school parted ways with him last month. Stockstill spent 18 years in Murfreesboro, where he went 113–111 as the coach.

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