Rumors of a contract extension for Vanderbilt Commodores head coach Derek Mason have been flying since about the time Vanderbilt beat Tennessee on Thanksgiving weekend. On Tuesday, Vanderbilt made it official per Adam Sparks of the Tennessean.
Mason signed a three-year contract extension through 2021, which extends his current deal which was set to expire in 2018. The deal reportedly will increase Mason’s annual base salary (which was $2.5 million in 2015, per tax records), and also Mason was able to negotiate an increased recruiting budget to pay for more recruiting trips to the West Coast and the middle of the Pacific.
For much of the fan base, the jury is still out on Mason, who’s 13-24 in three years in Nashville. That might make the extension a tough pill to swallow for some fans, but as always with coaching contracts, the key number isn’t the number of years but the buyout — which hasn’t been disclosed. An extension through 2021 that allows Vanderbilt to make a change after 2018 or 2019 for a reasonable sum actually isn’t a problem; that might actually be less of a problem than a one- or two-year extension with a huge buyout. So, my opinion on this has entirely to do with how much risk Vanderbilt is assuming for a coach who is still relatively unproven.