After seven seasons, Vanderbilt is moving on from football coach Derek Mason.

The school announced its decision Monday, and, although the decision may have been met with mild surprise, it wasn’t unprecedented. The firing was actually the second to happen in the Southeastern Conference this season, after South Carolina moved on from Will Muschamp on Nov. 15.

Mason finished his spell in Nashville with a 27-55 record. The Commodores made two bowl appearances in his tenure, losing both. He never notched a winning season.

Presumably, Vanderbilt’s 12-game SEC losing streak, as well as its 0-8 record this season, were a large factor in the decision, but Mason’s tenure wrapped up with a 41-0 trouncing by Missouri on Saturday. With that, he joins a contingent of former SEC coaches with one thing in common — they were fired after losing to the Tigers.

Since 2017, three different SEC head coaches have lost their jobs after a loss to Missouri.

Other than Mason, former Arkansas coach Bret Bielema was the most recent firing. He was fired just seconds after his Razorbacks lost 48-45 to Missouri in 2017 in Fayetteville.

Bielema finished 29-34 at Arkansas, with a 1-3 record against the Tigers.

That same month, Tennessee decided to move on from coach Butch Jones, whose team lost 50-17 in Columbia a day before his firing was announced. Jones was 34-27 in four years in Knoxville, with a 2-3 record against MU.

Missouri has also found itself going up against interim head coaches just as many times since 2016, as three different head coaches have been fired ahead of their program’s matchup with the Tigers.

Most notable is Les Miles, who was fired from LSU in 2016. Missouri traveled to Baton Rouge six days after he was let go but couldn’t pull out a win, losing 42-7 to a team helmed by interim coach Ed Orgeron, who would earn the permanent LSU job and go on to win a national championship.

In 2017, Florida and coach Jim McElwain agreed to part ways Oct. 28. Six days later, Missouri found itself going up against interim coach Randy Shannon. This time, the Tigers pulled out a 45-16 win in Columbia. The victory was part of Missouri’s regular-season-ending five-game win streak that year.

Last, of course, is Muschamp, who was fired six days before the Tigers were to play South Carolina in November. Eliah Drinkwitz and the Tigers found a way to win in an ugly game against interim coach Mike Bobo and the Gamecocks.

Looking ahead, Missouri doesn’t play another coach this season who appears to be on the hot seat. Still, it’s certainly been an odd coincidence to see the SEC’s coaching carousel operate adjacent to Missouri’s performance these last few years.

  • I'm a sports reporter, covering the 2020 Missouri football program. Give me your comic book recommendations. You can reach me at acole@mail.missouri.edu, or in the newsroom at 882-5720. He/Him

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