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Middle Tennessee hires Derek Mason as head coach

Middle Tennessee introduced its first new head coach in 18 years Wednesday at its press conference.

NCAA Football: Missouri at Vanderbilt Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time in 18 seasons, the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders held an introductory press conference for a head coach.

Middle Tennessee parted ways with longtime head coach Rick Stockstill on Nov. 27, who manned the sidelines for nearly two decades in Murfreesboro, TN, compiling a 113-111 record with four bowl wins.

Stockstill’s successor was officially named Wednesday. Middle Tennessee hired Derek Mason, who most notably served as Vanderbilt’s head coach from 2014-20 and held defensive coordinator gigs at Auburn and Oklahoma State across the past three seasons. He agreed to a 5-year deal with the Blue Raiders, per The Action Network’s Brett McMurphy.

Mason returns to the familiar state of Tennessee — the only state where he previously held FBS head coaching duties. He will be just the third head coach since the Blue Raiders joined the FBS in 1999, following in the footsteps of Andy McCollum and Stockstill.

Mason owns a career head coaching record of 27-55, leading Vanderbilt to an Independence Bowl appearance in 2016 and a Texas Bowl appearance in 2018. Prior to his 7-year stint at Vanderbilt, Mason served as the defensive coordinator on BCS-bound Stanford teams. He returned to a defensive coordinator role after his firing from Vanderbilt, leading Auburn to the 27th ranked scoring defense in 2021 and Oklahoma State to the 9th ranked scoring defense in 2022.

Middle Tennessee is one of two CUSA schools to make a head coaching change since the conclusion of the regular season, along with UTEP.

The Mason era in Murfreesboro officially launches Aug. 31, 2024 when Middle Tennessee hosts FCS program Tennessee Tech at Johnny “Red” Floyd Stadium.