Derek Dooley Biography
When Lane Kiffin suddenly turned and left the University football program in a lurch, it was incumbent on the Vols to do a thorough yet expedient search for a replacement head football coach. It was important to the Vols that the new coach was someone with experience and a proven track record. However, in light of the stunning Kiffin departure, it was similarly important to UT that the new football coach was an up and comer, someone who had a bright future ahead of him, and someone who made it abundantly clear that being the University of Tennessee's head football coach was a privilege not to be taken lightly.
The Vols believe that they have found their man in Derek Dooley.
Dooley has spent pretty much his entire life in the Southeastern USA, and is certainly no stranger to SEC football. In fact, he is the son of the legendary Georgia Bulldog football coach -- Vince Dooley. [By the way, Vince says when UT and UGA play each other, he will root for UT as long as his son is the coach. I guess blood runs thicker than water....]
However, Derek's playing career was actually spent in the ACC, where he was a walk-on wide receiver at the University of Virginia. He played well enough to earn a scholarship in his sophomore season, and was part of one of the most successful eras in the history of Cavalier football, contributing to three bowl appearances while there.
After leaving school, he actually practiced law for a brief period of time. However, the desire to be a part of football never really left him, and in 1996, he began his coaching career with a brief stint as a graduate assistant with the University of Georgia. He then moved on to Southern Methodist University, where he spent time serving as a wide receivers coach and then eventually, the dual role of assistant recruiting coordinator. One of his biggest breaks eventually came in the year 2000. It was then that high profile head coach Nick Saban named him to serve as the LSU recruiting coordinator and tight ends coach, which he served as for two seasons before eventually moving over to coaching the running backs and special teams. He stayed at that position until Saban departed for the NFL in 2005.
However, his experience recruiting and coaching in the state of Louisiana paid further dividends, as in 2006, he was named the head coach at Louisiana Tech University. Louisiana Tech had never had much of a history in college football, in fact, the team was coming off one of the worst year's in the history of the program when Dooley was hired, finishing 3-10 overall. And while it was understood that Dooley would undoubtedly have things to learn on the fly, being a first year head coach, it was expected that he would be able to turn the program around relatively quickly.
After one season in which the team showed visible progress, going 5-7 and 4-4 in the WAC, it was is second season coaching the Bulldogs in which Dooley really made good on the faith that Louisiana Tech showed in him. It was during that season that Louisiana Tech went 8-5 overall and also managed a big bowl win in the Independence Bowl. It was a crowning achievement for Dooley at Louisiana Tech.
2009 marked somewhat of a step back for the program under Dooley, as the team only managed a 4-8 finish on the season.
It is clear in making this hire that the University of Tennessee was willing to roll the dice a little bit, as Dooley does not have the proven track record that would seemingly be necessary to coach in such a high profile position. However, the limited results to date do indicate that Dooley can make programs better. Dooley has stated he will bring integrity back to UT football after the scandals and turbulence of the Kiffin year. He'll also return Tennessee football traditions that had been de-emphasized by Lane Kiffin.
Certainly, the Vols are hoping that if Dooley is able to lead Tennessee back to its glory days, his appreciation for such an opportunity as they have given him will be shown in a commitment to remaining at the University for the long term.
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Alabama Coach -- Nick Saban Biography | Former Alabama Coach -- Bear Bryant Biography | Arkansas Coach -- Bobby Petrino Biography | Auburn Coach -- Gene Chizik Biography | Former Auburn Coach -- Tommy Tuberville Biography | Florida Coach -- Urban Meyer Biography | Georgia Coach -- Mark Richt Biography | Kentucky Coach -- Joker Phillips Biography | Former Kentucky Coach -- Rich Brooks Biography | LSU Coach -- Les Miles Biography | Mississippi State Coach -- Dan Mullen Biography | Former Mississippi State Coach -- Sylvester Croom Biography | Ole Miss Coach -- Houston Nutt Biography | Former Ole Miss Coach -- Ed Orgeron Biography | South Carolina Coach -- Steve Spurrier Biography | Former Tennessee Coach -- Lane Kiffin Biography | Former Tennessee Coach -- Phil Fulmer Biography | Vanderbilt Coach -- Robbie Caldwell Biography | Former Vanderbilt Coach -- Bobby Johnson Biography |
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