Artist plans to re-paint Vandy coach Derek Mason’s image on mural

Artist plans to re-paint Vandy coach Derek Mason's image on mural (Image 1)

A local artist who painted new Vanderbilt football coach Derek Mason's face on an iconic mural near campus says he plans to redo it.

The decision comes after hundreds of students and fans signed a petition asking him to.

Muralist Mike Cooper told News 2 he “wants to get it right” and plans to repaint the image in the next week or two.

“It's not really an accurate portrayal of Coach Mason.  The artist did a great job with the other coaches and we just feel like if you're going to have a representation to the public of our coach then it should be an accurate portrayal,” Vanderbilt quarterback Joshua Grady told News 2.  

Grady started circulating the petition on campus Friday and collected 200 signatures within the first hour.

Cooper painted Mason's image in February shortly after former coach James Franklin left Vanderbilt University to coach at Penn State.

“I feel like it was just a mistake.  I don't feel like the artist meant to portray him like that,” said Grady.

Cooper has been painting coaches' faces on the mural on the side of the building located at the corner of 28th Avenue and West End for many years.

Vanderbilt University does not own the building and did not commission the artist.

He told News 2, “This is the first time I've ever had to paint a portrait without meeting the coach.”

Cooper said he was given a headshot of Mason before painting his image on the building.

Vanderbilt University did not want to comment on the mural.

Grady told News 2 he has not talked to his coach about it.  “He's got more important things to handle, so I haven't brought it to him. I don't know how he feels,” he said.

Cooper hopes to get a chance to meet with Mason in person before repainting the coach's portrait.

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