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ESPN: Vanderbilt, Derek Mason Negotiating Contract Extension

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The move comes just days after Vanderbilt beat Tennessee to finish 6-6 and ensure a bowl bid in Mason’s third year.

NCAA Football: Tennessee at Vanderbilt Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

So, time to answer the question that was on everyone’s mind...

This seemed like a fait accompli after the last two weeks, as the Commodores beat Ole Miss and Tennessee to finish the season at 6-6 and ensure the eighth bowl bid in program history. As a private university, Vanderbilt isn’t required to release the terms of its coaches’ contracts (and generally doesn’t, as a matter of course) but it was widely assumed that Mason had only a year or two at most left on his original contract with the university, and also widely assumed that he was the lowest-paid head football coach in the Southeastern Conference. We can’t verify either of those things, but if Vanderbilt is negotiating an extension for Mason, it suggests that the university is confident in him being the coach going forward and also may want to lock him up before other universities come calling.

That hasn’t happened yet, but if Vanderbilt improves even further in 2017 Mason will be a hot name in the coaching business, and a contract extension would make it more difficult for another school to hire him away.