BREAKING: Vanderbilt fires head football coach Derek Mason, Todd Fitch to serve as interim head coach

Derek Mason amassed a 27-55 record in seven years at the helm of the program.


Hunter Long

Head Coach Derek Mason addresses Malcolm Turner’s announcement in his Tuesday press conference. (Hustler Multimedia/Hunter Long)

Simon Gibbs, Sports Editor

Editor’s Note: This article was last updated on Sunday, Nov. 29 at 6:18 p.m. CT to include a statement from Derek Mason.

Vanderbilt fired head football coach Derek Mason on Sunday, the university confirmed in a press release.

First-year offensive coordinator Todd Fitch will take over as interim head coach while the university conducts a search for a new head coach.

Mason amassed a 27-55 overall record in seven years at the helm of the program and the Commodores were 0-8 to-date in 2020. They have two games remaining this season against Georgia and Tennessee.

“On behalf of the entire Vanderbilt community, I want to extend my deepest gratitude to Coach Mason for his many years of dedication and service leading our football program,” athletics director Candice Storey Lee said in the press release. “Derek cares deeply about the student-athletes under his charge. His tenure at Vanderbilt will be remembered for his steadfast commitment to our student-athletes, not only on the field, but in the classroom and as young people.”

Mason, formerly the defensive coordinator at Stanford University, was hired in 2014 to succeed James Franklin. He became the second head coach in program history to clinch two bowl games, and his 27 wins make him the sixth-winningest Vanderbilt head football coach.

“While this was a difficult decision, but I know this change is necessary,” Lee said. “We wish Derek and his entire family the best.”

Mason tweeted a statement 18 minutes after the university press release expressing gratitude for his time on campus.

“I am blessed to have worked alongside and and built relationships with some of the finest and most dedicated coaches, staff and faculty in the nation,” the statement reads in part. “It has truly been my honor to have been given the opportunity to teach, mentor, champion and coach hundreds of Vanderbilt young men and one courageous female.”

This story will be updated as more information becomes available to The Hustler.