Originally written November 18, 2012 on Fox Sports Tennessee:
Ncaa-football-oregon
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."
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Suspended KeiVarae Russell: Notre Dame becoming ridiculous

Antrel Rolle: Amukamara improved after losing virginity

High school football player dies after suffering head injury

Giants shut out Pirates, advance to NLDS

Cowboys' Spillman accused of rape at team hotel

Report: Patriots benched WR for mouthing off to coach

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Jose Bautista busts up reporter over Twitter

Sammy Watkins calls out EJ Manuel

Larry Donnell benches himself in fantasy, loses because of it

Josh Gordon says NFL’s drug policy is harrassment

Steve Smith: Ron Rivera hid in his office after cutting me

Rondo hoping for an opening night return from broken hand

WATCH: LeBron James makes one special Cavs fan’s night

10 most shocking developments so far in 2014 NFL season

WATCH: Matthew McConaughey gives pep talk to Longhorns

ESPN reporter announces she has breast cancer

Byron Scott explains why Kobe wouldn't make a good coach

Hibbert texts Duncan for advice on being like Spurs

Belichick repeats moving 'on to Cincinnati' during presser

Donald Sterling’s wife called the cops on V. Stiviano

WATCH: Mayweather shocked someone doesn’t know who he is

Who is the new face of MLB?

NHL 15 predicts the LA Kings win the Cup again

J.J. Watt buys his mom a new car for her birthday

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Amukamara better after lost virginity?

H.S. player dies after suffering head injury

Cowboys player accused of rape

Scott: Kobe would not be a good coach

Pats WR benched for mouthing off?

Sammy Watkins calls out EJ Manuel

Donnell benches himself in fantasy and loses

Gordon: Drug policy is harrassment

Who is the new face of baseball?

Steve Smith blasts Panthers coach, GM

What will the A’s look like in 2015?

All-Disappointment Team in MLB

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.