Vanderbilt has reportedly given head coach Derek Mason a contract extension after the Commodores went 6-7 and appeared in a bowl game in 2016.
Derek Mason is 13-24 overall and 5-19 in SEC play as the head of Vanderbilt. He’s also coming off of a 2016 season that saw the Commodores make a bowl game for the first time in his three-year tenure. For the powers-to-be in Nashville, that is enough for Mason to earn a contract extension, per Adam Sparks.
The Commodores won four out of the last six regular season games, including upsetting in-state rival Tennessee in the finale, to finally break through to the postseason under Mason. Records of 3-9 and 4-8 were tallied in the first two seasons under his watch after taking over for James Franklin, who left for the head coaching job at Penn State. Earlier this offseason, Mason’s name was floated as a potential candidate for the open Cal position following Sonny Dykes’ firing.
An improvement on offense was one of the key stories for Vanderbilt this past season, as running back Ralph Webb put the unit on his shoulders, rushing for 1,283 yards and 13 touchdowns along with Khari Blasingame’s 10 rushing touchdowns. Both backs will be returning next season, along with quarterback Kyle Shurmur.
On defense, the Commodores will have to find a replacement for All-American linebacker Zach Cunningham, who recorded 125 tackles, including 16.5 for a loss.
The season starts out with a tough non-conference road game for Mason and his team in September, as they travel to Murfreesboro, Tenn. to battle the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders, who went 8-5 this past year.