Blog Entry

Derek Dooley expected to be named Tennessee coach

Posted on: January 15, 2010 1:10 pm
Edited on: January 15, 2010 3:15 pm

Indications are that Derek Dooley will be named the next coach at Tennessee.

A person intimately involved in the search told Dooley was "a great hire," Friday afternoon although no formal announcement had been made. At least three other outlets had reported that Dooley was expected to be Tennessee's choice. Knoxville radio station WNML first reported that Dooley was the choice at about noon ET. reported that Tennessee AD Mike Hamilton would interview current assistant Kippy Brown at 1 p.m. ET.

Dooley apparently did not tell his Louisiana Tech staff of his departure but reportedly cancelled player meetings to travel from Ruston, La. to Knoxville. The son of legendary Georgia coach Vince Dooley has a 17-20 in three seasons as head coach at Louisiana Tech.

As recently as Thursday night, Tennessee officials met with Utah coach Kyle Whittingham in Salt Lake City according to the Salt Lake City Tribune. Whittingham turned down a job offer according to the newspaper. Earlier this week, reported that Tennessee had offered Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp $3 million per season. Duke coach David Cutcliffe said Friday he was staying at the school.

Dooley is a former walk-on receiver at Virginia who earned a scholarship in his second season. He went to earn his law degree from Georgia in 1994. He practiced law for two years in Atlanta before getting into coaching.

His coaching career started with Georgia in 1996 as a grad assistant under Jim Donnan. From there he went to SMU to three years before joining LSU in 2000. That’s where his career took off. Dooley coached tight ends, running backs, special teams and was the recruiting coordinator under Nicks Saban from 2000-2004

Dooley then followed Saban to the Miami Dolphins. In 2007, he was hired by Louisiana Tech. Dooley seemingly comes highly recommended by Nick Saban and Muschamp. All three were on the staff together at LSU.

Muschamp reportedly recommended Dooley to Tennessee after he was pursued by Vols AD Mike Hamilton. Dooley had recommended by Muschamp and Kirby Smart to Saban at LSU. Smart is now the Alabama defensive coordinator under Saban.

As LSU’s recruiting coordinator, Dooley helped LSU land the No. 1-ranked recruiting classes in 2001 and 2003. 

Dooley is expected to inherit the majority of Lane Kiffin's former staff. It was Cutcliffe's unwillingness to do so that kept the Duke coach and former Tennessee assistant from progressing further in talks with Hamilton.

The leftover members of Kiffin's are still recruiting, according to one of those coaches. Coach or no coach, Tennessee is expected to have a group of recruits in this weekend for official visits.



Since: Dec 20, 2007
Posted on: January 15, 2010 2:54 pm

Derek Dooley expected to be named Tennessee coach

So, in his first year he was 8-5, but just 17-20 in his three years.  He actually digressed over the final two years, going a combined 9-15.  That's a BIG red flag.  This does seem like a desperation hire, and UT was desperate with recruits opening things back up and with national signing day less than a month away.  Not exactly the same thing, but similar to the coaching search for Arizona basketball, when they were publicly turned down by several high-profile coaches.  Dooley may be successful at UT, but there aren't many signs indicating that he will.

Since: May 21, 2009
Posted on: January 15, 2010 2:48 pm

Tennessee football will be at level of Vandy

for many years to come.....Just one less team UF has to worry about b/c a good season for now on will be 7-5.....That will be a success and most likely we will be seeing seasons like 5-7 or 6-6 or worse on average....Goodbye for good Vols....well at least for the next 5+ years


Since: Nov 4, 2007
Posted on: January 15, 2010 2:38 pm

Derek Dooley expected to be named Tennessee coach

Priscilla Presely was Elvis's wife, not his daughter.

Since: Sep 25, 2006
Posted on: January 15, 2010 2:35 pm

Derek Dooley seems to be the choice at Tennessee

Was he really the best available?  This just seems to make no sense.  Desperation time.  They need to fire the AD at UT and bring in Phil Fulmer.  Let him restore UT.  17-20 in the WAC is awful. 

Since: Jan 6, 2010
Posted on: January 15, 2010 2:32 pm

Derek Dooley seems to be the choice at Tennessee

Oh, no!  My dad used to sing this song all the time.  I hadn't thought of it in years!  Now it is forever associated with Rocky Top!

Since: Sep 9, 2006
Posted on: January 15, 2010 2:29 pm

Derek Dooley seems to be the choice at Tennessee

Wow this is eerily similar to Mike Shula...somehow gets a free pass since he's the son of a legend.

Since: Dec 4, 2007
Posted on: January 15, 2010 2:27 pm

Derek Dooley seems to be the choice at Tennessee

Reports from Salt Lake City indicate that Kyle Whittingham was interviewed and offered the job last night and declined this morning.  If that's true, you can't blame UT for not going after a really strong candidate.

Since: Oct 20, 2006
Posted on: January 15, 2010 2:23 pm

Derek Dooley seems to be the choice at Tennessee

Bruce Pearl was not an unknown when he was hired.  He had a winning record and took the kids that Bo Ryan recruited to UWM to the tournament for two years oh and actually won in the tournament.  Oh did I mention he also had a winning record?  I would be very upset if I was a Tennessee fan.  It seems like you settled, and for a school that I consider rich with tradition that is too bad. 

Since: Oct 6, 2006
Posted on: January 15, 2010 2:23 pm

Derek Dooley seems to be the choice at Tennessee

My bad for screwing up the pop culture, but the point is made.  Kiffin was famous for his father and unproven.  Dooley is famous for his dad, yet also unproven.

The disappointing thing is that UT had always been a place for coaches to prove themselves, yet as a GA, a position coach, or a coordinator.  Now it is a destination that coaches seek to prove a HC.  Sad.

Since: Jan 11, 2007
Posted on: January 15, 2010 2:18 pm

Derek Dooley seems to be the choice at Tennessee

How many big names turned down this job? Its really sad, I remember when UT was a rival of the Gators.  Now they are just the red-headed step child of the SEC. Good luck UT with this desperate attempt to find a coach.  By the way, have you seen the Gator recruiting class this year.  Thanks Lame!

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