Arizona State and head football coach Herm Edwards parted ways over the weekend, a week after Oklahoma State clubbed them 34-17. But OSU’s gain could end up being OSU’s loss.
Both Cowboys coordinators – defensive coordinator Derek Mason and offensive coordinator Kasey Dunn – were mentioned in the wake of Edwards’ firing as possible candidates to succeed Edwards in the desert. Mason has head coaching experience and was previously considered for ASU when there was a vacancy. Dunn has no experience as a head coach, although Mike Gundy introduced his interviewee as someone who has a future as a head coach.
“Dunn is going to be head coach, if he wants to,” Gundy said earlier this season. “Dunn finally, I think, he’s ready to be a coordinator in the NFL. You see college coaches go to the NFL or coordinators, you know the (Kliff) Kingsburrys and those guys, and the NFL game now has college games. [Dunn is] probably ready to do it now if anyone wants to – and he’s ready to be a head coach.
Both mentions of Mason and Dunn as candidates came in The Athletic, albeit from different writers. Mason’s name first appeared Sunday in a column by Chris Vannini. Here is what he wrote:
Oklahoma State Defensive Coordinator Derek Mason was in the mix for this job the last time it opened. If Anderson makes the hire, Mason might get another look. Mason, a Phoenix native and Northern Arizona alumnus, went 27-55 in more than six seasons at Vanderbilt. Mason and Oklahoma State defeated Arizona State 34-17 in Week 2
Dunn’s name surfaced on Monday by hip national reporter Bruce Feldman. Dunn was the last name mentioned, but a mention nonetheless.
Kasey Dunn, Oklahoma State OC: He is part of the OSU coaching staff that has seen many assistants come and go since joining in 2011. He has developed many terrific receivers during his career and was promoted to OC in 2020. He has helped Oklahoma State to lead the Big 12 in the first trials in 2021. The 53-year-old Californian has worked in the NFL and across the country and his unit is currently the No. 5 team in the country.
Both OSU coordinators landing at ASU seems like a pretty low probability, especially in the middle of the season, but when a name is mentioned on this list, it’s no coincidence. Agents are heavily involved in these processes and more often than not there is smoke.
That said, Mason has spoken enthusiastically about his time at OSU since arriving to take over Jim Knowles’ defense as he attempts to reinvent himself. It’s hard to imagine he’s fully repaired his reputation as a coach just yet (especially the way the defense had a tough time in the first month). Dunn, on the other hand, seems like a viable candidate. He’s been at OSU since 2011 and is the architect so far this season of one of college football’s most explosive offenses.