The day after National Signing Day is usually marked by coaches leaving for other jobs. And there’s been plenty of that today. But Vanderbilt has broken the other way.
Vanderbilt announced four new assistant coaches on Thursday, headlined by defensive coordinator Jason Tarver. He will be the first Commodore coach to hold that title in the Derek Mason era, as Mason served as his own coordinator for his first three seasons in Nashville. Vandy finished the 2017 campaign tied for 83rd nationally in yards per play and tied for 88th in scoring defense (31.3 points per game allowed) en route to a 5-7 season.
Tarver spent the past three seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, each of them in a different job. He was the Niners’ linebackers coach in 2015, outside linebackers coach in 2016 and a senior defensive assistant in 2017.
“Jason is as smart a football coach as I’ve had the chance to be around. We had a chance to work together at Stanford and had the chance to partner up and put together some pretty good defenses,” Mason said in a statement. “He makes complex football seem real easy. At this level you have to get it to the [student-athletes] fast, quick and have them believe it. His presence from the NFL will translate to where we’re at here at Vanderbilt. He’s extremely bright. He’s charismatic. His energy is going to be infectious for this group.”
Additionally, Vanderbilt hired Shawn Mennenga as special teams coordinator, Aaron Morehead as wide receivers coach and Terrence Brown as cornerbacks coach. Mennenga was the Cleveland Browns’ assistant special teams coach for the past seven seasons. Morehead was Texas A&M’s wide receivers coach for the past three campaigns, but was not retained by Jimbo Fisher and did not join Kevin Sumlin at Arizona. Brown was a graduate assistant at Washington for the past three seasons.