lacrosse-women-d1 flag

Chris Harry | Floria Athletics | September 28, 2017

Derek Mason, daughter Makenzie share bond in college sports

  Makenzie Mason will be with the Gators women's lacrosse team when Vandy, Derek Mason will play at Florida.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Makenzie Mason won't be at Steve Spurrier-Florida Field on Saturday. Instead, she'll be with her Florida lacrosse teammates for a fall tournament at Maryland. Her family, though, will be well represented at the "Swamp," minus the Gator allegiances. 

Until lacrosse season, that is. 

Mason, a 5-3 freshman defender, is the daughter of Vanderbilt football coach Derek Mason, whose Commodores (3-1, 0-1) take on the No. 20 Gators (2-1, 2-0) in a Southeastern Conference East Division game this weekend. 

"Obviously, it's a very unique situation," Makenzie said. "It's also very cool and definitely very awkward." 

Maybe it's better she won't be in the stadium. 

"She's a Gator," her father said. "She loves Dad dearly, but when she signed to go to the University of Florida that's who she committed to. That's the way her dad raised her. I'm good with that. She just knows that when she comes back to the house she better not have on any Gator gear."

Makenzie played soccer and basketball growing up and was pretty good at both. Once she got to high school, though, she'd grown a little weary of the two sports and was looking for something new. Something different. 

"[And it's] something that he couldn't tell me how to do or correct me on," she added, candidly. 

Amy Bokker, Stanford lacrosse's head coach, who happened to be a neighbor of the Mason family at the time, introduced Makenzie to lacrosse. Turned out, she was really, really good at it. Meanwhile, her father, one of the brightest defensive minds in all of college football, had no clue how to use a lacrosse stick, much less attacking the crease or breaking a team's ride. 

FLORIDA VOLLEYBALL: Gators claim No. 1 ranking for the first time in seven years

In other words, it was a perfect fit. 

"He just sits in the stands now and is very quiet," she said. "I appreciate that." 

Next spring, dad will be sitting in the stands and watching his daughter play in person. The Gators and Commodores are the only SEC teams that have lacrosse programs. UF and Vandy are scheduled to play in 2018. That game will be a big deal and not just because of the family ties. 

Turns out, Vanderbilt didn't even recruit Makenzie Mason. 

"He'll be sitting on the Florida side that day, definitely," she said. "He won't be wearing anything that says 'Florida' or 'Gators,' but he will wear something that says 'Florida Lacrosse.' He'll be good with that." 

2019 SEC football schedule: Game times, TV channels for every week

The 2019 SEC football season is through Week 12 and goes through the SEC Championship Game on December 7. Get the full schedule, including TV channels, here.
READ MORE

College volleyball rankings: Texas stays on top, Stanford rises to No. 4, two newcomers enter Power 10 rankings

Stanford moves up to No. 4 in NCAA.com's power 10 rankings, following the return of Kathryn Plummer this past week. Texas stays on top, and Washington and Florida move into the top 10.
READ MORE

College basketball: 9 sophomores who could make a big impact this upcoming season

These are the sophomores who could become household names by the end of the college basketball season.
READ MORE

Subscribe To Email Updates

Enter your information to receive emails about offers, promotions from NCAA.com and our partners