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Vanderbilt has hired Stanford defensive coordinator Derek Mason as its next football coach.

Donor and search committee member John Ingram confirmed Mason's hiring.

Ingram said Vanderbilt will make a formal announcement this afternoon and a press conference is likely for Saturday morning.

Mason said earlier today he was meeting with Vanderbilt via Skype this afternoon and hoped to be offered and accept the Commodores football coaching job shortly after that.

Mason, who spoke with The Tennessean shortly before 1 p.m., said he had been told he is one of two finalists for the job. He had not formally been offered the position at that time but he had been asked by Vanderbilt officials if he would be interested in the job.

Mason said he is still in Atlanta after interviewing with Vanderbilt officials Thursday at Parker Executive Search. He hopes to be in Nashville soon.

"Hopefully, if anything happens, I'll be there (in Nashville) quickly," Mason said. "I just know that hopefully sometime later today I'll hear some news. I'm just going through the process right now. I've got to meet with some people this afternoon via Skype and we'll see how this thing goes.

"I don't know exactly where they are in the process. All I've been told is I'm one of two candidates and they're still going through the process right now. I'll find out something later this afternoon after we meet in the teleconference with some officials, and from there they'll render a decision one way or the other.

"Hopefully, I'll know tonight. But it could drag on until the morning. I was told sometime in the next 24 to 48 hours I would find out something about getting the Vanderbilt job. For me, I'm just going through the process and doing what I need to do in terms of my duties at Stanford until I find out something."

Mason referred to Vanderbilt as "a great job."

"Who's not going to say yes? I'm very interested," Mason said. "I think it's a great opportunity to be in a place that does it right. James Franklin did a wonderful job of putting this program on the map. He made it relevant. That debt of gratitude is definitely owed to him.

"I saw it when Jim Harbaugh did the same thing (at Stanford). You like at guys like that for their vision, for their work, you see great things and then from there, you just look at what the program is. (Vanderbilt) is a program steeped in the right temperament, the right accruement for success.

"It plays in one of the best football conferences in the country, the SEC, and I think when you put those two together between the academics and the football accruement, I think it can be a winning combination."

Mason said he would put together a staff and work on the recruiting trail as immediate priorities. Vanderbilt has lost 10 of its 20 commitments since Franklin took the Penn State job on Saturday.

"It's got to be almost immediate," said Mason, who noted he is fighting a case of the flu. "It's got to be something that is there is no break, there is no time period. You're going to have to go 24 hours a day for the next two weeks to make sure you can get in homes and really solidify people's trust and respect just in terms of sending their child to your program.

"Players are resilient, but when it comes to parents, parents want to know in the aftermath of what's happened and where college football is today, they still want to know who that guy (the coach) is. They don't just want to send their child someplace. So with that being the case, we would have a lot of ground to cover. I believe, if given the opportunity, we'll push forward and make this thing happen."

Mason will replace Franklin, who left for the Penn State job after compiling a 24-15 record over three seasons in Nashville.

Mason, 44, will be the fifth African-American football head coach in Southeastern Conference history, joining Franklin, Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin, ex-Kentucky coach Joker Phillips and ex-Mississippi State coach and current Tennessee Titans running backs coach Sylvester Croom.

Mason was a coach of interest in the Army, Connecticut and Washington searches, but he told the San Jose Mercury News that he declined the chance to interview for several head coaching positions. He was also considered to be in the mix for the Louisville job.

"It's got to be the right job," he told the Mercury News a couple of weeks ago before the Rose Bowl. "(Coach) David (Shaw) had his one right job, and it was Stanford. And I have mine. That's between me and my wife, and it's a ways away."

A native of Phoenix and former Northern Arizona cornerback, Mason has never been a head coach nor has he ever coached in the South. He came to Stanford in 2010 as a defensive backs coach before being promoted to defensive coordinator and associate head coach under Shaw in 2011.

Mason was a finalist for the 2012 Broyles Award given to college football's top assistant coach. He is regarded as one of the top defensive minds in the game and directed the Pac-12's top-ranked scoring defense (19 points per game) and rushing defense (89.4 yards) in 2013. The Cardinal also led the Pac-12 in those categories in 2012, allowing 17.2 points and 97 rushing yards on average.

Stanford won the Pac-12 title in 2012 and 2013 en route to consecutive Rose Bowls and compiled a 46-8 record during Mason's four seasons in Palo Alto, Calif.

Mason had coaching stints with the Minnesota Vikings (defensive backs, 2007-09); Ohio University (wide receivers, 2005-06); New Mexico State (wide receivers, 2004); St. Mary's (co-defensive coordinator and associate head coach, 2003); Utah (wide receivers and special teams assistant, 2002); Bucknell (defensive backs, 1999-2001); Idaho State (running backs, 1997-98); Weber State (wide receivers, 1995-96); and San Diego Mesa College (wide receivers, 1994).

Mason has a wife, Leighanne, and two daughters, Makenzie and Sydney, according to his Stanford bio.

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