Tennessee football welcomes an old foe to Neyland Stadium Saturday evening.
It isn’t the Vols opponent, the University of Texas-San Antonio. The Vols and Road Runners have never met on the gridiron.
It’s former Vanderbilt football coach Derek Mason. Mason is on the call for Tennessee’s non conference matchup against UTSA for the SEC Network alongside play-by-play man Dave Neal and sideline reporter Taylor Davis.
Mason joined the SEC Network entering the offseason to be a color commentator while he takes a coaching hiatus. The 53-year old Arizona native is out of coaching this fall for the first time since 1993 after spending the last two seasons as defensive coordinator at Auburn and Oklahoma State, respectively.
In the third week of his first season broadcasting, Mason travels to the school that was his biggest rival during his only head coaching job.
Mason left his perch as Stanford’s defensive coordinator to be Vanderbilt’s head coach in 2014 after James Franklin bolted for Penn State. The defensive coach spent seven seasons as the Commodores head coach leading them to a pair of bowl games and a 27-55 (10-46 SEC) record.
Ironically, the best feats of Mason’s Vanderbilt tenure came against Tennessee. Three of Mason’s 10 SEC wins came against Tennessee including a 2017 win in Knoxville which cemented Butch Jones’ final season as the worst in Tennessee history.
Mason went 3-4 against Tennessee during his Vanderbilt tenure before the Commodores fired him following the 2020 season.
Kickoff between Tennessee and UTSA is at 4 p.m. ET Saturday afternoon. The SEC Network is broadcasting the game.