When Jim Knowles left Oklahoma State to go to Ohio State, there was a lot to worry about in Stillwater. Despite winning the Fiesta Bowl and ending the season on a high note, fans were still concerned about who would replace the outstanding defensive coordinator.
The search is now over because Oklahoma State has hired former Auburn defensive coordinator Derek Mason to be in charge of the Cowboys defense, as reported by PokesReport and others.
Derek was spotted in Stillwater last week, and on Friday afternoon, this photo came out which shows Mike Gundy waiting on the arrival of Derek Mason at the airport.
Mason, 52, was the Auburn defensive coordinator for the 2021 season. Auburn ranked 61st nationally in total defense in 2021, giving up 373.8 yards per game. The Tigers ranked 27th nationally in scoring defense, giving up only 21.8 points a game, which was the third-best in the SEC.
Before his lone season at Auburn, Mason was the head coach at Vanderbilt for seven seasons, with a 27-55 record. While Vanderbilt was his only stop as a head coach, Mason did have previous stops with the Minnesota Vikings, Stanford, Ohio, New Mexico State and Utah as an assistant.
Prior to his head coaching job at Vanderbilt, he was the co-defensive coordinator in 2011 when Stanford and Oklahoma State played in the Fiesta Bowl. Mason was the sole defensive coordinator for the Cardinal for the 2012 and 2013 seasons. He was also a finalist for the Broyles Award back in 2012.
The good news is that despite a few key pieces leaving the defense, Oklahoma State still has plenty of talent on that side of the ball. Derek Mason will have some good players to work with as the Cowboys look to keep the defense stout for years to come.