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Vanderbilt hires Stanford defensive coordinator Derek Mason as head coach

Nick Bromberg
Dr. Saturday

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Derek Mason, Vanderbilt's new coach. (USA Today Sports Images)

Stanford defensive coordinator Derek Mason will be the next coach at Vanderbilt.

A press conference is expected Saturday.

Mason, 44, has been at Stanford for the past four seasons and the Cardinal's associate head coach and defensive coordinator for the past three, In 2013, Stanford was ninth in the country in scoring defense at 19 points per game. The Cardinal was also 10th in yards per play. In 2012, Stanford was 16th in total defense and 11th in scoring defense.

Mason will also become the fifth African-American coach in the SEC. He follows previous Vanderbilt coach James Franklin, who left for Penn State, Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin, former Kentucky coach Joker Phillips and former Mississippi State coach Sylvester Croom.

Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, a former Stanford assistant coach, was mentioned as a candidate for the position but reportedly withdrew from consideration on Friday.

Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer also interviewed with the school.

Mason will be tasked with sustaining the success that Franklin started at Vanderbilt. In Franklin's three years in charge, Vanderbilt was 24-15. In the previous 10 seasons, the team was 33-84.

He'll also have to keep a recruiting class together that has dwindled since Franklin's departure. Three Vanderbilt commitments have followed Franklin to Penn State.

With Missouri's emergence in the SEC East, the division is arguably tougher than it's ever been. But unless things go completely awry, Mason and Vanderbilt should be formidable in the near future. The Commodores may not be competing regularly for division titles, but it's not unreasonable to expect nine-win campaigns like Franklin's teams accomplished the past two seasons.

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Nick Bromberg is the assistant editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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