Blog Entry

Breaking down the Tennessee search

Posted on: January 15, 2010 6:53 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2010 12:33 pm

Tennessee fancies itself a top 10 program in the best of times. In the worst of times, it just landed the coach of the team that tied for fifth in the WAC.

That’s one way to look at the hiring of Derek Dooley on Friday at Tennessee.

Rocky Flop? 

Here’s another, a formal list of names that I’m told were on the Tennessee list:

Will Muschamp, Texas defensive coordinator – Apparently turned down a $3 million-a-year offer.

Jon Gruden, Monday Night Football – What job doesn’t he apply for?

Troy Calhoun, Air Force – Happy at Air Force. Can do better if he aspires to return to the NFL.

Randy Edsall, UConn – A great coach who would be out of his element in Knoxville.

Lovie Smith, Chicago Bears – May be fired by the Bears. Apparently was a Tennessee assistant way back.

Kyle Whittingham, Utah – Turned down an offer Thursday night.

Doug Marrone, Syracuse – One year for the still-rebuilding Orange.

Gary Patterson, TCU – No way.

Kippy Brown, Tennessee assistant -- Interviewed on Friday. Apparently didn't do well.

Al Temple, Temple – A late well-respected addition.

Phil Fulmer, former Tennessee coach – Might have been AD and coach by Monday if the search dragged on.

A list of names that should have been considered

Mike Stoops, Arizona – Tennessee is into famous surnames lately. There is no more respected name in the sport right now than Stoops. Arizona is beginning to turn around.

Bobby Petrino, Arkansas – Hey, he lasted as many games with the Falcons as Kiffin did with the Vols, 13.

Tommy Bowden, former Clemson coach – Duh. Why wouldn’t you call this guy?

Rich Rodriguez, Michigan – Please tell me he wouldn’t take Mike Hamilton’s call. Then please tell me he wouldn’t take the job, if offered.

Chip Kelly, Oregon  – If you’re a top 10 program don’t you have to at least see if he’s interested?


Since: Jul 12, 2009
Posted on: January 15, 2010 10:52 pm

Breaking down the Tennessee search

I agree that UT should have at keast contacted Stoops and Bowden. Also, Terry Bowden(former Auburn coach, who has made no secret that he would like to return to NCAAF if offered the right job) would have been nice. However, Dooley has the name pedigree; he has done a good job at a school with limited facilities and appeal, as both coach and AD. He is smart, having been a lawyer for a time. Give the man a chance, Vol Nation. His charisma and integrity might just be the salve needed for a program smarting from the damage done by the sleazy Kiffin. At least things can't get much worse.

Since: Sep 6, 2009
Posted on: January 15, 2010 10:14 pm

Breaking down the Tennessee search

Mike Hamilton's abortion of a coaching search makes Alabama's AD Mal Moore's last 4 coaching searches look respectable.

Since: Mar 20, 2008
Posted on: January 15, 2010 9:49 pm

Breaking down the Tennessee search

I just watched the press conference that introduced Coach Dooley.  He gave me the impression that he is a charasmatic, intelligent, respectable man that may indeed be the type of coach UT needed after the brashness that was Kiffin.  Time will tell, I suppose. 

Since: May 24, 2008
Posted on: January 15, 2010 9:02 pm

Breaking down the Tennessee search

Some things to take into consideration in regards to the search for the new  UT football coach:
1.) Money. Yes, Muschamp was offered a lot of it, but UT might not have a lot of it to spend. The university got a mere $800,000 in the Kiffin buyout. Assistant coaches are on the books for more than $2 million over the next couple of years and UT fans didn't flock to Neyland Stadium last year. Attendence was less than 100,000 for the first time in more than a decade, which means UT sports had to go out of a lot of people's budgets. Hamilton had to shop wisely and be frugal.

2.) Appearance. Kiffin and Orgeron showed the sleazy side of college athletics. It's fine to change jobs, everyone in America should have that opportunity, but to change and then tell 18-year-olds not to attend a university because you aren't going to be there is more than unethical, it's obscene. It's easy to understand why many other coaches across the country did not want to follow the path opened by Kiffin et al. Hiring Patrino would have been even more sleazy than Kiffin's departure. At least Kiffin left for a job he wanted.

3.) Restrictions. And not the type dealt by the NCAA. Because of the contractual agreements with members of Kiffin's remaining staff, it was reported the coach that came to Knoxville would have to work with those remaining and not bring his own people. It could be a reason many of those discussed and/or interviewed declined the job.

Placing these and other aspects into the equation, Hamilton might have done as well as can be expected. Many in Knoxville want him gone because they feel it is his fault athletes get arrested and their beloved team doesn't fulfill their desires by thrashing Alabama, Florida and Kentucky everytime they meet them on the field/court. Let these people continue to scream their unhappiness about sports. It would be much better if they would scream about failing academics in the state of Tennessee.

Since: Sep 28, 2006
Posted on: January 15, 2010 8:59 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Sep 6, 2009
Posted on: January 15, 2010 8:54 pm

Breaking down the Tennessee search

Honestly I think that all this talk about worst pick and all that reminds me of a team southwest of knoxville that BOOOED their new coach and look where they went 8-5 and a bowl win and currently have a top 10 class...that man was had a losing record as well.  In fairness to Dooley he didn't have the resources or the facilities at La Tech to get quality recruits in Ruston.  He has shown in the past that he has the ability to recruit as a recruiting coordinator at LSU for 4 years with 2 #1 classes. So I think that everyone should give the man a chance before they write him off as a failure and before they write UT off as well!

Since: Sep 19, 2006
Posted on: January 15, 2010 8:26 pm

Breaking down the Tennessee search

Lots of blatant "guesses" on your "formal list of names," and yet you leave off David Cutcliffe - who was definitely offered.

Since: Mar 20, 2008
Posted on: January 15, 2010 8:01 pm

Breaking down the Tennessee search

This has definitely been one of the most forgetable weeks for Tennessee football that I have seen in all the years I have followed the program.  Tstunner of the coaching staff leaving, followed by the panic driven search from an A.D. that appears to have no real ability to manage a hotdog stand, much less a college atheletic department.  The hiring of Dooley, on the surface, looks like a pathetic last straw.  Perhaps the high school coaches in the Knoxville area turned down the job too but didn't get the press coverage.  I hope I am wrong.  I hope Dooley shocks the world and at least gets the program competative in the SEC, but I wont bet my check on it.  How does a 4-8 record in the WAC equate to an SEC job?  The lower tier football schools select coaches better than that!  I would have preferred them wait and go with what we had instead of this.  Oh well, Jim Haslam signs the checks, so I guess the rest of the Vol Nation will just have to deal with it.  For what its worth, good luck Coach Dooley!      

Since: Nov 28, 2006
Posted on: January 15, 2010 7:58 pm

Breaking down the Tennessee search

You forgot to mention Cutcliffe here!

Since: Sep 20, 2009
Posted on: January 15, 2010 7:25 pm

Breaking down the Tennessee search

Mike Hamilton is a chump Fulmer to Kiffin to Dooley!!!  Wrong way!!!! Up is the direction we need to go, not down!! YOUR FIRED CHUMP!!!  You're the one who fired Fulmer and hired Kiffin, so ultimately it's your fault ___HOLE!!!!!

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or