The Derek Mason era came to a somewhat unexpected end on Sunday, at least from a timing perspective. Vanderbilt athletic director Candice Storey Lee announced via Twitter that Mason has been fired, and a search for the Commodores’ next head coach will commence. Offensive coordinator Todd Fitch will serve as the interim head coach in the meantime.
“We are parting ways with head coach Derek Mason,” Lee wrote on Twitter. “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.
“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. This was a difficult decision, but I know this change is necessary. We wish Derek and his entire family the best.”
Vanderbilt Athletics wrote in a release that the search for a next head coach will begin immediately. There isn’t much time, as the early signing period for football starts on Dec. 16. The Commodores have made inroads on the recruiting trail with a No. 46 ranking nationally for 2021 according to the 247Sports Composite, and moving quickly could help retain as many recruits as possible. Here’s a look at some potential options.