In a move that many Commodore fans have eagerly awaited, Vanderbilt University parted ways with head football coach, Derek Mason, on Sunday.
We are parting ways with head coach Derek Mason. 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.
— Candice Storey Lee (@VandyAD) November 29, 2020
This firing comes after Saturday’s 41-0 defeat on the road against the Missouri Tigers. Mason finishes his tenure at Vanderbilt with a 27-55 (10-46) record over a span of nearly seven years. The sixth-winningest coach in school history, Mason led Vandy to two bowl appearances (2016 & 2018) where the Commodores went 0-2.
With Mason out as head coach, offensive coordinator Todd Fitch will serve as the team’s interim head coach until the school finds a full-time replacement.
Vanderbilt fires Derek Mason. OC Todd Fitch will serve as interim coach
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) November 29, 2020
It is that time of the year in college football when the coaching carousel begins to spin, so let’s take a look at some of the potential options to replace Mason at Vanderbilt.
Will Healy – Head Coach of UNC at Charlotte
Healy (35) might be the early frontrunner to land the job at Vanderbilt. Healy spent two seasons at the helm of Austin Peay, where he won the OVC Coach of the Year and the Eddie Robinson Award for the FCS National Coach of the Year in 2017.
Will Healy would be PERFECT for #Vandy Football.
Has ALL the mid-state recruiting connections, has drug a program out of the ashes before. Energy. Passion.
If Vandy doesn’t get Healy NOW, the Tennessee native will have bigger opportunities
— Austin Stanley (@AustinStanley81) November 29, 2020
Healy’s first year as the head coach of Charlotte, he took the 49ers to their first ever winning season and bowl game. This season, Charlotte is 2-3. Vandy will undoubtedly be interested in Healy, but one has to wonder if the feeling is mutual.
Clark Lea – Defensive Coordinator at Notre Dame
Lea should also be near the top of Vanderbilt’s wish list this offseason. Lea was born in Nashville, Tennessee, and graduated from Vanderbilt University, where he also played football, in 2004. He has been in charge of the defense at Notre Dame since 2018 and, under his leadership, the undefeated Fighting Irish defense is near the top of the NCAA in nearly every category.
Notre Dame defensive coordinator Clark Lea played college football at Vanderbilt.
The rumors are going to be there. Just a heads up. https://t.co/3ypIeU0uxZ
— Notre Dame Recruiting (@NDrecruiting01) November 29, 2020
It is easy to connect the dots on this one, but is the Vanderbilt head coaching gig attractive enough for Lea to leave a perennial contender such as Notre Dame? Time will tell.
Jeff Fisher – Former NFL Head Coach
Fisher is the wild card name that will start to float around in the coming weeks. Fisher has been out of coaching since 2016, but is somebody that would like to get back in the game, even if at the college level. Fisher currently resides in Nashville and one could only imagine the staff he would be able to bring to West End.
— Chad Withrow (@withrowzone) November 29, 2020
Vanderbilt’s attendance figures have been laughable since James Franklin’s departure after the 2013 season. Who better to put butts in seats at Vanderbilt Stadium than the Fish? The 7-9 and 8-8 jokes are fun and all, but if Fisher could win six games at Vanderbilt for a few years, he could bolster his resume while also launching himself into the rarified air of coaches to take the Commodores bowling.
Featured image courtesy of Charlotte Photo