STILLWATER – Oklahoma State has a new defensive coordinator -- former Auburn defensive coordinator and Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason. OSU head coach Mike Gundy made the announcement Wednesday.
Mason spent one season as the defensive coordinator at Auburn in 2021. He was the head coach at Vanderbilt from 2014-20 and was the defensive coordinator at Stanford from 2010-13.
“After meaningful discussions with Coach Gundy these past few weeks about his vision for the program, it became apparent that leading the defense for the Cowboys was the right fit for me,” Mason said. “I look forward to working with the student-athletes, coaches and staff as they continue to build a winning culture of success, inclusion and integrity on and off the field.”
Last season under Mason, the Tigers improved by 14.5% in third down defense from 2020 to move up 84 places in the final FBS rankings. Auburn also improved from the previous season in tackles for loss by 1.4 per game (up 65 places), rushing defense by 35 yards per game (up 33 places), first downs allowed by three per game (up 32 places), fourth down defense by 10% (up 21 places), sacks by .33 per game (up 13 places), scoring defense by three points per game (up 11 places), and total defense by 32 yards per game (up two places).
The 2021 Auburn defense also finished among the FBS leaders in blocked kicks (No. 10), fourth down defense (No. 13), defensive touchdowns (No. 13), tackles for loss (No. 17), scoring defense (No. 27), and rushing defense (No. 29).
Auburn’s defense last year did not allow a fourth quarter score in five of its six wins, held consecutive SEC opponents (Ole Miss and Texas A&M) without a passing touchdown for the first time since 2006, surrendered the fewest points in a two-game span (10 in the first two games) since 2007 and held six opponents under 100 yards rushing for the first time since 2010.
“Derek is a great addition to Oklahoma State football and to our culture,” Gundy said. “I’m looking forward to getting him over here and getting started as soon as possible.”
At Vanderbilt, Mason became the second head coach in program history to lead the school to multiple bowl appearances.
Mason spent four seasons with Stanford. He was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2011 after helping lead the program to a pair of Rose Bowl appearances and consecutive Pac-12 titles. Mason’s elite defensive units at Stanford ranked among the NCAA’s best in defensive efficiency for three consecutive seasons.
While facing seven ranked opponents in 2013, Stanford ranked third nationally in rushing defense (89.4 ypg), 10th in scoring defense (19.0 ppg) and 16th in total offense (343.1 ypg). Stanford was also one of only five teams to allow less than 100 rushing yards per game in 2013 and ranked fifth nationally with 44 sacks and seventh with 109 tackles for loss.
In 2012, Mason was a finalist for the Broyles Award, given annually to the nation’s top assistant coach.
Year By Year
Year School Position
1994 Mesa C.C. (Ariz.) Wide Receivers
1995-96 Weber State Wide Receivers
1997-98 Idaho State Running Backs
1999-01 Bucknell Defensive Backs
2002 Utah Wide Receivers/Special Teams Assistant
2003 Saint Mary’s (Calif.) Co-Defensive Coordinator/Assistant Head Coach
2004 New Mexico State Wide Receivers
2005-06 Ohio Wide Receivers
2007-09 Minnesota Vikings Assistant Defensive Backs
2010-13 Stanford Defensive Backs in 2010; Assoc. HC/Def. Coord. from 2011-13
2014-20 Vanderbilt Head Coach
2021 Auburn Defensive Coordinator
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