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Oklahoma State hires Derek Mason as defensive coordinator

The former Vanderbilt HC and Stanford DC is coming to Stillwater in what many say is a splash hire.

NCAA Football: Auburn Spring Game John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Gundy has found his replacement for Jim Knowles as Oklahoma State’s defensive coordinator.

The school announced on Wednesday the hire of former Auburn defensive coordinator Derek Mason. This move has been speculated to be in the works for a few days now and it is now official.

Mason’s Auburn defense improved in most metrics last season compared to 2020. The Tigers were notably improved in third and fourth down defense, rushing defense and tackles for loss, all while playing in arguably the toughest division in college football. Auburn ranked No. 29 in the nation in rushing defense and improved to No. 61 in total defense.

Of course, Mason spent just one season at Auburn. While the defensive marks were improved, they likely could have been better if Mason had more time there. Mason is regarded as one of the best defensive minds in college football. Prior to his one season at Auburn, he was the head coach at Vanderbilt from 2014-2020 and defensive coordinator at Stanford from 2010-2013.

Terms of the contract are currently unknown, but it is speculated OSU made a significant investment by bringing in a coordinator of Mason’s caliber. Mason made $1.5 million as Auburn’s defensive coordinator last season. Mason joins Kasey Dunn to pair as one of the only African-American coordinator duos in the country.