Derek Mason

Date: Friday, January 27th
Lecture Topic: “Eliminating Explosive Offensive Plays”

Derek Mason enters his third season in charge of the Commodores with the program headed in the right direction, on and off the field.

In 2015, Mason demonstrated his skills as one of the college football's leading defensive minds by becoming his own defensive coordinator. The results were staggering – Vanderbilt's defense ranked among the nation's most improved, finishing among the NCAA Top 30 in scoring defense, total defense, first downs allowed, red zone defense and third-down efficiency.

The Herd coach was named the 2014 Conference USA Coach of the Year in voting by his peers. During his coaching career, Holliday has coached in 23 bowl games, three national championship games and coached 12 players that have gone on to the National Football League. He has also coached five All-Americans.

• Mason was defensive coordinator at Stanford since 2011, helping take the Cardinal to Rose Bowl appearances in 2013 and 2014, and consecutive Pac-12 titles with one of the nation's top defensive units. Under Mason, the Cardinal ranked among the NCAA national Top 15 in defensive efficiency for three consecutive years.

• In 2012, Mason was a finalist for the Broyles Award, given annually to the nation's top assistant coach, after directing a defense that ranks among the best in the nation and finest in Stanford history. The 2012 unit broke Stanford's single season record for quarterback sacks and topped the Pac-12 in numerous categories, including scoring defense and total defense, helping the Cardinal to a 11-2 season capped off with a Rose Bowl crown. Mason's leadership paved the way to a historic defensive output in 2012, breaking Stanford's single-season sacks record (57) and pacing the Pac-12 in scoring defense (17.2 points), total defense (336.2 yards) and rushing defense (97.0 yards). In 11 of 14 games in 2012, Stanford held its opponent to 20 or fewer points, including a 14-point effort in the overtime win at top-ranked Oregon, who led the FBS with a 54.8 scoring average.

• Prior to his arrival in Palo Alto, Mason served as an assistant defensive backs coach for the Minnesota Vikings from 2007 to 2009, playing a vital role in the team ranking sixth in total defense in 2008 and 2009 as the Vikings won NFC North titles each season.

• Before joining the Vikings, Mason tutored wide receivers at Ohio University under head coach Frank Solich, helping the Bobcats improve from 4-7 in 2005 to a 9-5 campaign the following year that ended with an appearance in the GMAC Bowl. Mason spent the 2004 season as the wide receivers coach at New Mexico State, where he helped the Aggies lead the conference in passing.

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