NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Vanderbilt University has fired head football coach Derek Mason, Athletics Director Candice Storey Lee announced on Sunday.
Mason became Vanderbilt’s 28th head coach in 2014 after serving as Stanford’s associate head coach and defensive coordinator.
“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,” Lee said in a news 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.”
"It is with gratitude that I have served as the head football coach at Vanderbilt University, a world-class institution, for the past seven years. I am blessed to have worked alongside and built relationships with some of the finest and most dedicated coaches, staff and faculty in the nation. 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," Mason said in a statement posted on Twitter.
Offensive coordinator Todd Fitch will serve as interim head coach until a replacement is named.
Mason is just the second Vanderbilt coach to lead teams to postseason bowls and is the first Commodores coach to beat Tennessee in three consecutive meetings. Mason is the sixth-winningest coach in program history with a 27-55 overall record.
Vanderbilt has lost all eight games this season, including a 41-0 setback on Saturday at Missouri where Sarah Fuller became the first female to play in a Power 5 conference game.
“While this was a difficult decision, but I know this change is necessary,” Lee said. “We wish Derek and his entire family the best.”
The search for a new head coach will begin immediately.
Vanderbilt plays at Georgia on Saturday. The Commodores game against Tennessee originally set for Saturday was postponed.