STILLWATER, Okla. — Oklahoma State added a top-tier defensive mind to their football staff Wednesday, announcing the hire of Derek Mason as the Cowboys' defensive coordinator.
Mason stepped down after one season as the defensive coordinator at Auburn.
“After meaningful discussions with Coach [Mike] 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.
“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 served as the head coach at Vanderbilt from 2014-20 and the defensive coordinator at Stanford from 2010-13.
His defense at Auburn improved by 14.5% in third down defense from 2020 to move up 84 places in the final FBS rankings. The Tigers also improved from the previous season in tackles for loss by 1.4 per game (up 65 places), rushing defense by 35 yards per game (up 33 places), first downs allowed by three per game (up 32 places), fourth down defense by 10% (up 21 places), sacks by .33 per game (up 13 places), scoring defense by three points per game (up 11 places) and total defense by 32 yards per game (up two places).
“Derek is a great addition to Oklahoma State football and to our culture,” Gundy said.
“I’m looking forward to getting him over here and getting started as soon as possible.”
OSU's previous defensive coordinator Jim Knowles left for the same position at Ohio State at the end of the 2021 regular season.
Knowles had led the Cowboys' defense since 2018, placing them among the nation’s best units in 2021, placing first in sacks (55) and tackles for loss (113), second in third-down defense (26.1 percent conversion rate), third in total defense (278.4 yards per game), fifth in rushing defense (92.1 yards per game) and eighth in points per game (16.8).
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