Found November 18, 2012 on
Fox Sports Tennessee:
To the surprise of exactly no one, Derek Dooley's tenure at Tennessee didn't make it to Thanksgiving.
Given the embarrassing 41-18 rout the Volunteers suffered at the hands of Vanderbilt, a lot of Tennessee fans figured he wouldn't make the bus ride home.
Dooley could see it was inevitable. Winless in the SEC and assured of his third straight losing season a first for Tennessee since William Howard Taft was President the desperation on his face as quarterback Tyler Bray threw one miscue after another in Nashville was evident, as was the look of depressed resignation when the Commodores put the game out of hand.
Many Vanderbilt fans hadn't gotten home from their celebration party when the news of Dooley's firing broke.
"Derek and I met early this morning, and I informed him that I believed a change in leadership, despite the positive contributions he has made to the overall health of the program, was in the best long-term interests of Tennessee football," Vols athletic director Dave Hart said through a written statement. "We will immediately begin the search for the best possible candidate to assume this leadership role."
Dooley's fate seemed sealed after losing to Missouri in overtime, although two wins against Vandy and Kentucky might have extended his tenure, at least for awhile.
He had certainly been given the benefit of every doubt. Tennessee was a mess when Dooley arrived. The firing of Phil Fulmer still sparked passionate debate among the Vols faithful, and the Lane Kiffin fiasco was like a blow to the head.
But the young new coach offered promise. He was polished, professional, and possessed a boot-strap work ethic and inspirational demeanor. He had worked for Nick Saban, which is like being trained at the feet of Zeus in the SEC. And he also sprang from legendary stock.
Father Vince Dooley was a conspicuous presence at many of his son's games, often standing in the back of the room during press conferences studying stat sheets as if they were the Rosetta stone. The elder Dooley even wore orange, a visual affront to those Georgia fans who still viewed the Dooleys as one step removed from royalty.
Derek Dooley was given a lot of leeway in his first couple of seasons at Tennessee. The Kiffin hangover lingered through the first year. The second year, injuries and a brutal accident of scheduling left the Vols reeling.
But the third year was to be the charm. The freshmen first coached by Dooley were juniors now, including Bray who was mentioned in the same sentence with the word "Heisman" in and around Knoxville. A wide-open passing game was supposed to put incredible numbers on the board for the Vols, and a vastly improved defense would lead to a wealth of wins. Plus, Tennessee had constructed one of the most post athletic centers in the nation to attract and retain the nations best recruits.
An opening victory against North Carolina State in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic only heightened expectations.
But then losses to Florida, Georgia, Mississippi State, Alabama and South Carolina in a five-week stretch deflated it all, and sent Vol fans over the edge.
Throw in the fact that Hart didn't hire Dooley, and the outcome was evident for all to see. The Vandy loss simply expedited the timing.
"I am sorry we could not generate enough wins to create hope for a brighter future," Dooley said through a statement of his own. "Although progress was not reflected in our record, I am proud of the strides we made to strengthen the foundation for future success in all areas of the program. During the last 34 months, I've given my all for Tennessee, and our family appreciates all this University and the Knoxville community has given us."
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AROUND THE WEB
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...
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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 ...
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By Anthony Caruso III
The Capital Sports Report
Owner/Managing Editor/Sr. Writer
Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley has been fired, effective immediately. Derek Dooley
The school announced this morning that they have fired Dooley after 2 1/2 seasons. He had the school’s longest run of consecutive losing seasons in over a century.
He will receive a $5 million dollar buyout from...
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:
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.
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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.
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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]