Fans Hold Impromptu Rally To Welcome New Football Coach
by Aundrea Cline-Thomas
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Fans gathered again at Vanderbilt's Star Walk earlier Saturday morning, but this time it was to welcome new head football coach Derek Mason.
"I told somebody last week that our former coach, Coach Franklin, he wasn't the only coach in the country and that everybody would see that pretty soon," Vanderbilt alum Todd Jenkins said. "And we think we made an upgrade."
"I'm excited," fan Jim Lawson said. "I think he's going to take us to a different level."
Fans, the University band and cheerleaders flanked Derek Mason as he entered the Athletics building for a press conference that officially introduced him to the community.
"He's just a great young coach. I mean he's worked his way through the coaching ranks," Jenkins said about why he thinks Mason is a good fit. "You can see what he's done at Stanford. (The) defense was just awesome."
Mason's new playbook has to address the exodus of many recruits after news of James Franklin's departure. Oakland High School standout Emmanuel Smith from Murfreesboro is one of the few in his class that's remained committed to becoming a ‘Dore.
"I just wanted to wait and see…how everything plays out instead of making an irrational decision on de-committing and trying to open (it) up to everybody else," Smith explained about his decision to stay. "I just wanted to wait and get to meet the coach and talk to him."
It's good news for fans that are watching, waiting and have big goals for the future.
"I hope to see our team grow and we'll go to big places," Vanderbilt senior Erin Cirioli said. "Hopefully (we'll have) an SEC East title soon."