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OSU Defensive Coordinator Derek Mason set to take Sabbatical From Coaching in College

OSU will be replacing its DC for a second straight year.

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Devin Wilber/PFB

Derek Mason appears to be a one-and-done at Oklahoma State serving as the team’s defensive coordinator. Mason announced on social media on Thursday that he will be taking a sabbatical from coaching in college following the expiration of his contract with OSU, which was just a one-year deal. Mason says he made the decision because of the non-stop grind of the last few decades.

“After 30 consecutive seasons in the great game of football, I have decided to take a sabbatical from coaching in college,” he said. “I look forward to spending time with my family to rest and reflect on opportunities within in the game I love.

“I have been blessed during my tenure at Oklahoma State to work alongside Coach Gundy,” he continued. “His leadership and consistency are unmatched in the profession.”

Mike Gundy also issued a statement Thursday morning thanking Mason for his service.

“Oklahoma State football and I appreciate what Derek Mason and his family have brought to our team/culture,” said Gundy. “The positive effect he’s had on our players, staff and program has been awesome. I know it was a tough decision, but life is bigger than football. We wish him and his family the best and they are always welcome back in Stillwater!”

Mason’s move to step away from the game means Gundy and OSU will have to hire a defensive coordinator for the second time in as many offseasons. OSU lost long-time DC Jim Knowles last offseason to Ohio State after the Buckeyes ponied up big time to lure him to Columbus.

OSU finished the season 7-6 but on a sour note after falling in five of its last six games of the season. Mason coordinated a defense that ranked 115th (out of 131) in total defense and eighth out of 10 Big 12 teams on the season, giving up 435.7 yards per game. On a points-per-play basis OSU’s defense was marginally better, ranking sixth out of 10 Big 12 teams and 73rd nationally. Compared to the last few seasons under Knowles it was a step back but historically it falls right around average from where OSU’s defense has fared in the Gundy era.

YearPoints/playNatl rank
20220.39273
20210.27110
20200.31727
20190.38157
20180.43083
20170.38463
20160.35849
20150.39774
20140.41183
20130.2813
20120.37151
20110.31126
20100.31328
20090.31531
20080.39874
20070.41882
20060.39482
20050.461106

Gundy hired Mason at OSU on Jan. 26, 2022, so the announcement from Mason comes effectively as a public two-week notice of his imminent dip out of town. Mason previously served for a brief stint as the Auburn DC — also for one year — after serving from 2014-2020 as the Vanderbilt head coach.

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