Derek Dooley's personal report card has been released.
In Improving Academics of a Football Team, the new Tennessee coach apparently passed with flying colors at his last stop.
According to new personalized Academic Progress Rates broken down by individual coach instead of program, Dooley's score at Louisiana Tech improved in each of his three seasons and was always at least even with the national average prior to taking over the Vols in January. And though a coach's score isn't directly tied to scholarship penalties for a program and it doesn't provide any tangible reward, either, it does provide some evidence that Dooley's emphasis on areas away from the field isn't just talk.
"I think it's a good thing to identify the coaches, yeah, I do," Dooley said. "But what's important to realize about the numbers is that it's all relative to the situation you take over. Every school is different, too. You have to take those factors into consideration. You can't compare the head coach at Navy's APR with the head coach at San Jose State's APR. I'm not trying to demean San Jose State, but that's the only thing I caution people on.
"Also you need to look at where the program was when they arrived and then which way did it go over time. If it was good when they arrived and it stayed good, not necessarily having to improve, then that's good. If it was really bad when they arrived and it showed improvement, then that's good - even though the numbers may be low."
Dooley inherited some numbers that weren't great when he arrived at Louisiana Tech, but they were up across the board by the time he left the program for UT.
Over three years, the team's cumulative grade-point average went from 2.66 to 2.85, and the multi-year APR overall improved from 916 to 939 during the same period. Overall, Dooley posted personal APRs of 939 and consecutive marks of 946 with a program that certainly didn't have much of a reputation in the classroom when he arrived.
"When we got there it was a real bad academic culture," Dooley said. "It was a culture of poor grades, it was a culture of noncompliance, it was a culture of not going to class. We put in new academic accountability policies, we had great, tremendous support from the coaches being very involved.
"We didn't have all these things we have at Tennessee. We had one person, I hired her - in fact my first hire as head coach was somebody in charge of academic support for the football team. They didn't have one."
Dooley has a much larger staff at his disposal now, and he's inheriting a multi-year APR with the Vols that's higher than the one he left at Louisiana Tech.
And thanks to the new report cards, it will be easier now to track his progress with UT - or that of his rivals.
"If somebody has really bad APR, that's what everybody is going to say," Dooley said. "What I'm concerned about is - I can already see the newspaper story - this coach has this number, that coach has this number and this coach is better than that coach. I mean, come on."