Report: Harsin staffs up at Auburn, hires Mike Bobo as offensive coordinator and Derek Mason as defensive coordinator
Auburn University head football coach Bryan Harsin has reportedly selected his top assistants for his first season on The Plains.
Derek Mason, formerly the head coach of Vanderbilt, will be the Tigers’ new defensive coordinator. Mike Bobo, previously the offensive coordinator for South Carolina, will have that same position at Auburn.
Mason, 51, is coming to Auburn after six years as the head coach of the Commodores; he was previously the defensive coordinator at Stanford.
Bobo, 46, spent five years as the head coach of Colorado State before leading the Gamecocks’ offense in 2020.
News of Mason’s hiring was first reported by Alabama Media Group, and the website FootballScoop published the first definitive report of Bobo coming to Auburn.
Derek Mason is Vanderbilt’s second-winningest coach in the program’s history and produced defenses that earned praise from close observers of the sport.
National outlets reported that multiple high-profile programs had a strong interest in Mason as DC. He was let go during the 2020 season after his team did not secure a win through their first eight games.
Before his time in Nashville, Mason was hired on to Jim Harbaugh’s staff as the defensive backs coach at Stanford. He ascended the ranks among Cardinal coaches to become the defensive coordinator there in 2011.
For his work on the 2012 season, Mason was named a finalist for the Broyles Award, given annually to college football’s best assistant coach. He was hired to lead Vanderbilt’s program in January 2014.
During much of his tenure as the head coach of the Commodores, Mason often assumed many of the responsibilities normally delegated to a defensive coordinator, in many years calling plays himself on Saturdays in the fall.
After his dismissal from Colorado State, Bobo was hired under former South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp in 2019.
Bobo was named South Carolina’s interim head coach and led the team for their last three games after the program fired Muschamp. The program ultimately installed Shane Beamer as Muschamp’s replacement.
ESPN reported Thursday that Bobo’s offensive line coach Will Friend will move with Bobo to Auburn, where he will have the same title he did at South Carolina.
Prior to his time at Colorado State, Bobo spent 15 years on the staff at Georgia, ascending to the role of offensive coordinator from 2007 – 2014 under then-head coach Mark Richt.
Bobo was a finalist for the Broyles Award for best college assistant coach in 2012 — the same year as Mason was a finalist for the same honor.
The two men are expected to receive an official announcement from Auburn University officials in the coming days.