Oklahoma State Cowboys

Derek Mason Didn’t See Eye-to-Eye With Bryan Harsin Before His Exit From Auburn Program

Auburn is officially searching for its next head football coach as the eventuality of Bryan Harsin being fired finally came to pass on Monday.

Being such a high-profile job in the SEC, there will be several big-name candidates that will be linked to the job, but the process of hiring Harsin’s successor needs to be thorough so the Tigers don’t repeat their latest mistakes.


While Harsin was still in charge and even after his dismissal rumors and stories have come out of Auburn, Alabama, that point to the many reasons that Bryan Harsin needed to go. Perhaps one of the biggest reasons (outside of the internal investigation and all of its issues) was the 2021 offseason, in which Harsin fired offensive coordinator Mike Bobo and also let defensive coordinator Derek Mason exit for a job at Oklahoma State.

There have been deeply-seeded rumors that Harsin created a divisive culture amongst his players and staff, and that certainly seemed to be the case when Mason elected to leave Auburn and take a $400,000 pay cut to be the defensive coordinator in Stillwater.

A recent story by Alabama.com’s Nubyjas Wilborn described an incident that occurred between Mason and Harsin that arose during the Tigers’ search for a defensive line coach.


According to Wilborn, Mason and Harsin disagreed about the process of selecting the DL coach. Mason felt he should be in control of the process since the DL coach would answer directly to him. Harsin on the other hand felt that he should be the one making the call, as the head coach, and simply take Mason’s input on who it should be. Then, according to Wilborn’s sources, the conversation became a bit heated.

“Harsin and Mason had an interaction where Mason said ‘I’ve been a head coach in this league longer than you have.’ Harsin replied, ‘Oh, you mean at Vanderbilt?’ according to people familiar with the situation.”

Harsin managed to go 9-12 at Auburn, which is terrible by the Tigers’ standards, but with all of the negative press around him during his time there, is it actually that surprising? To me, it sounds like Derek Mason, and anyone else who could get out of Auburn, did the right thing.

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