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Vanderbilt fires head football coach

Vanderbilt University has fired head football coach Derek Mason, Vice Chancellor for Athletics and University Affairs AD Candice Lee announced Sunday.
FILE - In this Oct. 31, 2020, file photo, Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason looks on from the...
FILE - In this Oct. 31, 2020, file photo, Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason looks on from the sideline during an NCAA college football game against Mississippi in Nashville, Tenn. Vanderbilt women's soccer goalkeeper Sarah Fuller has practiced with the football team, and coach Derek Mason says she's an option at kicker Saturday against Missouri. (AP Photo/Wade Payne, File)(Wade Payne | AP)
Published: Nov. 29, 2020 at 2:45 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -Vanderbilt University has fired head football coach Derek Mason, Vice Chancellor for Athletics and University Affairs AD Candice Lee announced Sunday.

According to the university, Offensive Coordinator Todd Fitch will serve as interim head coach until a replacement for Mason is named.

“On behalf of the entire Vanderbilt community, I want to extend my deepest gratitude to Coach Mason for his many years of dedication and service leading our football program,” Lee said. “Derek cares deeply about the student-athletes under his charge. His tenure at Vanderbilt will be remembered for his steadfast commitment to our student-athletes, not only on the field, but in the classroom and as young people.”

Mason became Vanderbilt’s 28th head coach in 2014 and was the second coach in the school’s history to lead two Commodore teams to postseason bowls.

“While this was a difficult decision, but I know this change is necessary. We wish Derek and his entire family the best,” said Lee.

“It is with gratitude that I have served as the head football coach at Vanderbilt University, a world-class institution for the past seven years,” said Mason. “I am blessed to have worked alongside and built relationships with some of the finest and most dedicated coaches, staff and faculty in the nation. It has truly been my honor to have been given the opportunity to teach, mentor, champion and coach hundreds of Vanderbilt young men and one courageous female. I am confident that our current student-athletes and their families are in good hands with Chancellor Diermeier and Director of Athletics Candice Lee and will continue to rise to today’s challenges with integrity and character. From the entire Mason family including my beautiful wife LeighAnne and our incredible daughters Mackenzie and Sydney, we thank the Nashville community and Commodore Nation for consistently embracing us with your kindness, friendship and warmth.”

Vanderbilt says the search for a new head coach will begin immediately.

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