Tweets by @StanfordSports

79-77 is your final from Provo after a furious comeback falls barely short at the end. Card get No. 9 Texas in Austin next. Tough draw.: 2 days ago, Stanford Daily Sport
Card looked sloppy and lost at times, but this team's resiliency is really something else. Just won't go away easily.: 2 days ago, Stanford Daily Sport
Stanford and Randle got the looks that they wanted at the end, and the shots just didn't fall. That happens, not much you can do about that.: 2 days ago, Stanford Daily Sport
Card get the ball back down 79-77 with 4.8 to go, and Randle misses the buzzer-beater. BYU wins by that final score.: 2 days ago, Stanford Daily Sport
Randle misses the long 3 on a clean look. Stanford will get the ball back with a chance.: 2 days ago, Stanford Daily Sport
Travel. Stanford down 2, gets the ball back and can kill the clock.: 2 days ago, Stanford Daily Sport
Randle with the clutch 3! We have a two-point game, 79-77 with just under a minute to go. ESPNU. Don't miss this ending.: 2 days ago, Stanford Daily Sport
Two forced turnovers later, it's back to a 77-72 game. Stanford doing whatever it can to stick around.: 2 days ago, Stanford Daily Sport
Stanford playing sloppy ball, BYU playing clean, foul-free ball on the other end. It's 72-59 Cougars, who have opened it up with 5 to play.: 2 days ago, Stanford Daily Sport

Defensive coordinator Derek Mason named head coach at Vanderbilt

Stanford’s Willie Shaw Director of Defense Derek Mason has left the Cardinal to become the next head coach at Vanderbilt.

Leading up to the Rose Bowl Game, Mason said he was contacted about head coach openings at Army and Connecticut but turned their inquiries down, stating that he wanted to stay at Stanford until the right job opened up for him.

Stanford defensive coordinator Derek Mason (above) will leave the Farm to become the next head coach at Vanderbilt, according to multiple sources. (Don Feria/

Stanford defensive coordinator Derek Mason (above) has left the Farm to become the head coach at Vanderbilt. (Don Feria/

“It’s got to be the right job,” Mason said at a press conference in late December. “David [Shaw] had his one right job, and it was Stanford. And I have mine. That’s between me and my wife, and it’s a ways away.”

Mason found that right job at Vanderbilt.

“I am so excited to be at Vanderbilt,” Mason said. “This university combines the best of what’s good about college athletics and academics. We expect to be competitive and look forward to competing for an SEC East crown.”

Vanderbilt is the second high-profile job that Mason interviewed for last week. When former Louisville head coach Charlie Strong left to become the head coach at Texas, Mason interviewed to replace him. Then, when former Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin left for Penn State, Mason immediately became a top candidate to lead the Commodores.

Mason’s success with leading the Cardinal defense over the past three seasons, in addition to his personality that fits recruiting perfectly, was enough to overcome his relative lack of experience.

Mason, a graduate of Northern Arizona, spent the first 13 seasons of his coaching career at non-AQ schools. Then, after a three-year stint in the NFL with the Minnesota, Mason came to Stanford, where he was the secondary coach in 2010 and then the defensive coordinator from 2011 to 2013.

Under Mason, the Stanford defense improved dramatically. In 2011, his defense finished in the top 15 in defensive efficiency. In 2012, opponent scoring dropped from 21.9 points per game to 17.2 points per game, and the Cardinal led the nation in sacks. That defensive improvement was enough to lead the Cardinal to a Pac-12 title and Rose Bowl win, even with Stanford’s offensive output dropping from 43.2 to 27.9 points per game over that same stretch.

In 2013, propelled by fifth-year seniors Shayne Skov, Trent Murphy and Ben Gardner, the defense was stout yet again, allowing only 19 points per game, good for 10th in the FBS. The Cardinal was even better against the run, allowing 89.4 yards per game, the third-best total in the nation, on an average of 2.9 yards per carry.

Mason’s departure adds to serious concerns about the future of the Cardinal defense. Five of Stanford’s most decorated starters — Gardner, Murphy, Skov, fifth-year senior defensive end Josh Mauro and senior free safety Ed Reynolds — are headed to the NFL Draft, leaving many holes for younger players to fill. Stanford, in part thanks to Mason’s recruiting, has the talent to replace those seniors, but without Mason’s guidance, those ascents just became more difficult.

There is no word yet on how Stanford head coach David Shaw plans to replace Mason on his staff. Shaw has an abundance of experienced coaches on the defensive side of the ball should he decide to replace Mason internally. One of his current defensive assistants, legendary defensive line coach Randy Hart, was defensive coordinator at Washington from 1995 to 1998. Outside linebackers coach Lance Anderson, who also serves as admissions liaison, is rumored to be the top candidate with his experience on defense and reputation as being one of the nation’s top recruiters.

Inside linebackers coach David Kotulski, who was a defensive coordinator at five different stops in his career over the 21-year period directly preceding his arrival at Stanford in 2012, might have been a candidate, but has reported that Kotulski will join Mason at Vanderbilt as defensive coordinator there.

Even if Shaw does not hire internally, keeping Anderson and Hart will be a critical task for Shaw and whomever he picks as Mason’s replacement over the coming weeks. With National Signing Day less than three weeks away, look for the Cardinal to act quickly.

Contact Sam Fisher at

About Sam Fisher

Sam Fisher is the managing editor of sports for The Stanford Daily's Vol. 244. Sam also does play-by-play for KZSU's coverage of Stanford football, Stanford baseball and Stanford women's basketball. In 2013, Sam co-authored "Rags to Roses: The Rise of Stanford Football," with Joseph Beyda and George Chen.