Record at Vanderbilt/Overall: 24-38
Bowl appearances: 2
Three straight wins over Tennessee football is enough to make Derek Mason a contender for the greatest Vanderbilt Commodores head coach in modern history. If you look at our list, Mason, Jeremy Pruitt, Matt Luke and Chad Morris are all interchangeable within the bottom tier. However, Mason’s two bowl appearances as an SEC head coach place him above the other three.
Sure, Mason has not yet had a winning season. In fact, all six of his seasons in Vandy have been losing seasons. But we have to point out that we are still talking about Vanderbilt. Even if Bobby Johnson and James Franklin did some impressive things, we are weighing the program as a whole, and doing that puts Mason ahead of the other three guys.
This year, though, with Kyle Shurmur gone, Mason is in danger of falling even further down the list. The wheels could come off of Vanderbilt this year. But one thing that sticks out with Mason is how clutch he is with his back against the wall. The two wins over UT to reach a bowl is one piece of evidence for that, but he also had an overtime win over the Ole Miss Rebels last year to get there.