Derek Mason Completes His Staff

Derek Mason has finally put the finishing touches on his second staff at Vanderbilt. After a debut season where the wheels fell off early, like opening night early, sweeping changes had to come to prevent a disenfranchised crowd falling away. Instead Mason has made a number of intriguing hires, none more so that the head coach himself taking on the role of defensive coordinator.

The final piece of the puzzle toward improving on the 3-9 debacle that was the 2014 season was hiring a new wide receiver coach. The man selected for the task of upgrading the Vandy wide out corps is former Dartmouth assistant and ex-NFLer Cortez Hankton. Hankton is making the move from the same position with the Big Green, a school who went 20-10 over the last three seasons with him holding the wide receiver coaching position. It is the latest in an impressive rise for Hankton who got the job at Dartmouth after working for just three months as a volunteer assistant at Central Florida.

As a pro Hankton was, is we are honest, a bit of a journeyman. He played for six seasons in the league, making appearances for Jacksonville, Minnesota, and Tampa Bay. He also spent three years after the NFL playing the UFL, the highlight of which was being nominated for offensive player of the year while playing for the amazingly named Florida Tuskers.

It has been proven time after time, however, that you do not have to be an All Pro caliber player to be an outstanding coach. What you need is a capacity to teach, a never ending work ethic, and an ability to form relationships with players, recruits, and the other coaches. If Mason’s words to ESPN are anything to go by then Hankton fits in perfectly with the rest of the hires that were made over the winter.

“All these guys have one thing in common. They embody my vision for Vanderbilt football,” Mason told ESPN.com on Monday. “I can already see the changes paying dividends. It’s never easy when you make changes, but what you have to look at is the program and what it looks like moving forward. It didn’t look like good football last season.”

Only time will tell if this staff is right for the ‘Dores. Mason though has made it very clear that he is going to give this team every chance to succeed in 2015 and beyond.

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