Derek Mason to return as coach in 2020 despite Vanderbilt's 2-8 record

Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason will return for a seventh season in 2020, athletic director Malcolm Turner announced Tuesday.

The Commodores are just 2-8 this fall, leading to speculation about a possible coaching change. But Turner said that Mason has his "full support" as the school tries to enhance facilities and other support areas for the program.

"I want to make it very clear that Derek Mason will be our head football coach moving forward," Turner wrote on Twitter. "Coach Mason has my full support and I am committed to working with him to ensure our football program has the necessary resources and support to succeed. We are in the midst of developing a new and robust athletic strategic plan with the vision to put the football program and all of our varsity sports in a position to win on and off the field of play.

"Coach Mason is committed to leading Vanderbilt's football program the right way and we will move forward in that spirit together."

Mason is 26-46 at the school and 10-37 in SEC play. He has guided the Commodores to bowl appearances in two of the past three seasons and three consecutive victories against in-state rival Tennessee. But Mason never has had a winning season, and all of this season's team's losses are by 17 points or more, including a 34-10 loss to UNLV. He must beat East Tennessee or Tennessee to avoid his first 10-loss season at the school.

Vanderbilt gave Mason a three-year contract extension in 2017. Mason received another extension in February, although terms were not released.

Turner, a first-year athletic director who previously served as president of the NBA G League, told The Tennessean that the season has been disappointing but that a coaching change wouldn't solve bigger issues with the program. Vanderbilt is hoping to start a capital campaign to upgrade Vanderbilt Stadium, which hasn't been renovated since 1981.

"We have had 50 years of routine kick-the-can coaching changes without accompanying the fundamental underlying change," Turner told the newspaper. "And out of respect for those who truly support Vanderbilt football and with the focus on building a successful and sustainable football program, this is a cycle that we really need to break."