Derek Mason named head coach at Middle Tennessee

Middle Tennessee named Derek Mason as its 15th head football coach in the program’s history on Wednesday.

Mason was signed to a five-year contract. Terms of the deal were not disclosed by the Blue Raiders.

Mason, 54, takes over in place of Rick Stockstill, who was fired on Nov. 27 after 18 seasons at the school. The Blue Raiders finished 4-8 this season and were 113-111 in his tenure with 10 bowl appearances (4-6 record).

“This is an emotional moment for me,” Mason said in a release by the school. “This is the house that Rick Stockstill built and he left good bones and a strong foundation. He did a lot to raise and encourage these young men and help them take the journey. Now, that responsibility has been passed down to me. It’s about winning and making sure we can do everything we can to resource our student athletes in a way to make them successful both on and off the field.

“It’s been an exhausting journey, but I appreciate Dr. (Sidney A.) McPhee and (athletic director) Chris Massaro for giving me this opportunity. Now we have to attack the challenge of Conference USA and I can’t wait to get started.”

Massaro was quick to welcome Mason, who spent seven seasons as head coach of Vanderbilt (2014-20). He also has been a defensive coordinator at Stanford, Auburn and Oklahoma State.

“We are ecstatic to welcome Coach Derek Mason to Middle Tennessee and the Blue Raider football program,” Massaro said. “With his experience as a head coach, his reputation for coaching fast, aggressive defenses, his strong reputation as a recruiter, and deep connections in college football to formulate an outstanding staff, Coach Mason’s vision for MTSU football fits exactly what we were looking for during our interview process. Coach Mason is no stranger to the mid-state community and we expect his connections to allow him and his staff to hit the ground running as our 15th head football coach.”

Mason served as an analyst for the SEC Network in 2023.