Derek Mason showed strong improvement in 2016 by carrying Vanderbilt to a 6-6 record with wins over Tennessee, Ole Miss, and Georgia. Naturally, that’s made him a hot name when it comes to coaching rumors.
So when his name popped up in the list of potential candidates to replace the recently-fired Sonny Dykes at California, Mason moved quickly to put out the flames.
Regarding Cal rumors....to my team, our fans & #GoldRush17, I'm firmly Anchored Down in Nashville. Let's Ride!— Derek Mason (@CoachDerekMason) January 11, 2017
The Golden Bears’ putrid defense made Mason a logical target of rumors. He made his name as a defensive coordinator with Stanford, regularly shutting down high powered offenses like Oregon’s en route to three straight BCS Bowl appearances. His work in Nashville helped make the Commodores a top 25 defense in 2015 and has groomed Zach Cunningham into a consensus All-American and likely first-round draft pick this spring.
But Mason made it clear he has no intention of leaving Vanderbilt — although it wouldn’t be the first time a VU coach denied relocation rumors before jumping ship. Mason’s predecessor, James Franklin, told his players he would be staying with the program in the days before accepting Penn State’s top position. While Mason and Franklin are very different people, it’s still tough to be completely trustful when it comes to the college football coaching carousel.
Besides, everyone knows that Cal job was meant for Chip Kelly, anyway.