Found November 19, 2012 on
Fox Sports South:
The four-year rule was never official. It was never written or codified in any meaningful way. It was just one of those understandings. A new college football coach needed some time to recruit and develop his players and reshape the culture of a program in his own image.
The rule of thumb was always four years. By then seniors would have played every college down under one coachs leadership, and boosters would have a good idea what sort of man they had on their hands.
Win in four or hit the door, was the saying back in the day.
Now its Win in one or you might be done.
That is a bit of an exaggeration, but no one doubts that the grace period for new coaches has grown precipitously shorter over the years.
Derek Dooley is just the latest example. Forget the mess Dooley inherited after Lane Kiffins inglorious single season in Knoxville, and forget the facilities upgrades Tennessee needed in order for the Vols to compete in the high-stakes SEC recruiting wars (upgrades that were just completed this year). You can even forget the injuries that led to a disappointing sophomore season for the young head coach. Dooley didnt get the wins, so he was shown the door before the end of year three.
Joker Phillips also lasted less than three at Kentucky.
John L. Smith will in all likelihood be out at Arkansas in one, and at least one more SEC change is possible by seasons end.
This year the average tenure of an SEC coach was 4.8 years with Mark Richt and Gary Pinkel skewing the average upward with 11-year stints at Georgia and Missouri. Next year, if nothing else changes, that average will drop to 4.6.
That puts the SEC in the middle of the major conferences when it comes to coaching tenures.
The Big 12 leads with an average of 8.5 years, but Mack Brown and Bob Stoops push that number northward. The Big East is the worst with an average tenure of only 2.4 years, while conferences like the ACC are one Frank Beamer retirement away from plummeting near the bottom of the pile.
The reasons are simple.
College football has become, in some cases, a nine-figure investment for athletic departments and the donors that keep them afloat. Head coaching salaries stretch upwards of 100 times the medium household income in the United States, which means that performance is expected much quicker than in the old days when the coach at Notre Dame couldnt make more than the college president, who was a priest.
Now, Nick Sabans compensation package is worth 45 million over eight years. As long as Alabama wins championships, its worth it. But the moment the Tide falls below eight wins a season, you can bet that somebody is going to run the numbers.
The other reason for the shortened working life of a head coach is the success others have had in a relatively short period of time.
James Franklin will lead former cellar-dweller Vanderbilt to its second consecutive bowl game and could potentially give the Commodores their first nine-win season.
Kevin Sumlin could win 11 in his debut at Texas A&M.
And SEC rookie Hugh Freeze, while still one win away from bowl eligibility at Ole Miss, has injected enthusiasm and optimism into a program that had neither one short year ago.
Whoever takes over at Tennessee will no doubt have a lot of support and a wonderful honeymoon. The same will be true at Kentucky and Arkansas.
But if recently history is a guide, the good-feeling grace period wont last long. It rarely does. Wins are the only job security.
BEST OF MAXIM
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee has fired football coach Derek Dooley after he posted losing seasons in each of his three years.
The 44-year-old Dooley posted a 15-21 record that sorely lacked quality wins over conference foes. Dooley was 4-19 in Southeastern Conference games and 0-15 against Top 25 teams. Tennessee is 1-14 in the SEC over the last two years.
Tennessee (4-7, 0-7...
Toby Johnson is one of the top defensive JUCO prospects in the country, and even though the highly-sought after defensive tackle had his season shortened by a torn ACL, he continues to be coveted by more than a few Division I programs—one of which is the University of Georgia. While the Bulldogs have made it known to Johnson that their interest in him is high—injury or no injury—Johnson...
The Derek Dooley era at Tennessee is over. The school fired Dooley from his job as Volunteers head football coach on Sunday, one day after losing to Vanderbilt. The school plans a press conference at 2:00 pm ET about the move.
Dooley was 4-7 in 2012, with 0 wins in the SEC. He was 15-21 overall in his three years as Vols' HC, and 4-19 in conference play. He won't be coaching ...
Covering Dixie Like Mildew
Eight is Enough.
The SEC names Texas A&M starting quarterback Johnny Manziel freshman of the week for the eighth time this season. (The Bryan-College Station Eagle)
Taking a stance?
Manziel leads Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o in USA Today's latest survey of 37 Heisman Trophy voters.
Brother Can You Spare a Dime?
Tennessee has fired football coach Derek Dooley after he posted
losing seasons in each of his three years.
In a move that surprised few around college football, Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart announced Sunday that Derek Dooley has been fired as the Vols head football coach. Dooley will not coach Tennessee’s final game of the season Saturday against Kentucky.
Hart and the Tennessee athletic department sent out a release Sunday morning which said the following:
Covering Dixie Like Mildew
There's a possibility, but no chance.
Pat Dooley looks at Florida's chances at playing for the BCS title. And stop giggling. (The Gainesville Sun)
Dig Your Own Hole.
The Tennessee athletic department is suspending $6 million in financial contributions to the school's academic scholarships and programs in order to deal with budget...
There could be a bidding war for the services of “that guy,” Jon Gruden.
The Monday Night Football color man is the top pick for the head coaching vacancy at Tennessee according to Jason LaCanfora of CBS Sports. Tennessee fired their head coach, Derek Dooley, on Sunday. Arkansas is also interested in the former Raiders and Buccaneers coach. Current Razorbacks’ head coach, John...
If you had Duke head football David Cutcliffe in your pool for who Tennessee will pick to replace Derek Dooley you can forget about it. Cutcliffe has announced he's staying at Duke for at least another year.
"After leading Duke to its first bowl berth since 1994, coach David Cutcliffe isn’t going anywhere.
"I can tell you right now that I'm going to be coaching...
Just Les Miles speaking in tounges
Things went HAM Saturday night in college football [SBNation]
The SEC Championship game is the title game play-in at this point [AJC]
Vandy drops anchor (see what I did there) on Tennessee [Anchor of Gold]
That’ll be all for Derek Dooley [UTSports]
A proper ode to the end of Dooley [EDSBS]
Tennessee chancellor Jimmy Cheek announced that the school would reinvest $18 million in the athletic department over the next three years, giving the department a much-needed boost in funds as the school transitions to a new coaching staff.
Before the reinvestment, the $18 million was earmarked for the academic scholarships, fellowships and programs.
Cheek emphasized that Tennessee...