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Derek Mason, Kasey Dunn Mentioned as Possible Candidates at Arizona State

ASU parted ways with Herm Edwards and is looking for his successor.

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Devin Wilber/PFB

Arizona State and head football coach Herm Edwards parted ways over the weekend, one week after Oklahoma State bludgeoned them in a 34-17 beatdown. But OSU’s gain could wind up being OSU’s loss.

Both the Cowboys’ coordinators — defensive coordinator Derek Mason and offensive coordinator Kasey Dunn — have in the aftermath of Edwards’ firing been mentioned as possible candidates to succeed Edwards in the desert. Mason has head coaching experience and was at one time considered a candidate at ASU when there was a vacancy. Dunn does not have head coaching experience, though Mike Gundy has hyped up his play-caller as someone who has a future as a head coach.

“Dunn is going to be a head coach, if he chooses to,” Gundy said earlier this season. “Dunn eventually, I think, he’s ready to be a coordinator in the NFL. You’re seeing college coaches go in the NFL or coordinators, you know the (Kliff) Kingsburrys and those guys, and the NFL game is now running college plays. [Dunn is] probably ready to do that now if somebody chooses to — and he’s ready to be a head coach.”

Both mentions of Mason and Dunn as candidates came in The Athletic, albeit from different writers. Mason’s name first popped on Sunday in a column from Chris Vannini. Here’s what he wrote:

Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Derek Mason was in the mix for this job the last time it opened. If Anderson makes the hire, Mason could get another look. Mason, a Phoenix native and Northern Arizona alum, went 27-55 in six-plus seasons at Vanderbilt. Mason and Oklahoma State beat Arizona State 34-17 in Week 2

Dunn’s name surfaced on Monday from plugged-in national reporter Bruce Feldman. Dunn was the last name mentioned, but a mention nonetheless.

Kasey Dunn, Oklahoma State OC: He’s been a fixture on an OSU coaching staff that has seen a lot of assistants come and go since he arrived in 2011. He has developed a lot of terrific receivers in his career and was promoted to OC in 2020. He helped Oklahoma State lead the Big 12 in first downs in 2021. The 53-year-old Californian has worked in the NFL and all over the country and his unit is currently the No. 5 scoring team in the country.

Both OSU’s coordinators landing at ASU feels like a pretty low probability, especially in the middle of the season, but when a name gets mentioned on this list it’s not a coincidence. Agents are heavily involved in these processes and more often than not, there’s smoke to it.

That said, Mason has spoke glowingly of his time at OSU since arriving to take over the defense from Jim Knowles as he tries to reinvent himself. It’s hard to imagine he’s completely repaired his coaching reputation just yet (especially the way the defense has had some shaky moments the first month). Dunn on the other hand seems like he could be a viable candidate. He’s been at OSU since 2011 and is the architect thus far this season of one of the most explosive offenses in college football.

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