Oklahoma State hires former Auburn defensive coordinator Derek Mason

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Derek Mason is officially heading to Stillwater.

Days after stepping down from his position as Auburn's defensive coordinator on Saturday, Mason was announced as Oklahoma State's new defensive coordinator on Wednesday. He replaces Jim Knowles at Oklahoma State after Knowles left to become the new defensive coordinator at Ohio State.

Mason will be replaced by linebackers coach Jeff Schmedding at Auburn. He was with the Tigers for just one season after he was hired by coach Bryan Harsin after Harsin arrived at Auburn from Boise State.

"First and foremost, I want to thank Coach Mason for his leadership as our defensive coordinator this past season and wish nothing but the best for him on his next steps," Harsin said in a statement. "The decision to leave Auburn was not an easy one for him, and he will always be a part of the Auburn family."

"Coach Schmedding was at Coach Mason's side day after day getting our defense prepared and ready. He is a tremendous defensive coach, who has coordinated championship defenses and is a proven winner. I know our defense will take the next steps forward under Coach Schmedding's leadership."

Oklahoma State's defense was one of the best in the country in 2021. The Cowboys gave up 18 points per game and just 4.5 yards per play.

Auburn's defense, meanwhile, gave up under 22 points per game and 5.3 yards per play. The Tigers stumbled to the finish line with five consecutive losses after a 6-2 start. That streak included a 17-13 loss to Houston in the Birmingham Bowl and opposing teams scored more than 24 points just once in those five games.

"After meaningful discussions with Coach Gundy these past few weeks about his vision for the program, it became apparent that leading the defense for the Cowboys was the right fit for me," Mason said in an Oklahoma State statement. "I look forward to working with the student-athletes, coaches and staff as they continue to build a winning culture of success, inclusion and integrity on and off the field."

Mason's departure came after Harsin fired offensive coordinator Mike Bobo at the end of the regular season. Bobo, the former coach at Colorado State, came to Auburn from South Carolina and also spent just one season with the Tigers. Bobo's replacement is former Seattle Seahawks assistant Austin Davis and the Tigers have added former Texas A&M QB Zach Calzada in the transfer portal this offseason.

Mason was 27-55 in nearly seven full seasons at Vanderbilt from 2014-20. He replaced James Franklin at Vanderbilt and came to Nashville from Stanford, where he had been an assistant coach for four seasons.

BIRMINGHAM, AL - DECEMBER 28: Auburn Tigers defensive coordinator Derek Mason watches warm ups before the TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl between the Houston Cougars and the Auburn Tigers on December 28, 2021 at Protective Stadium in Birmingham, Alabama.  (Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Derek Mason is the new defensive coordinator at Oklahoma State after spending one season at Auburn. (Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
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