It took 56 hours, but Dooley's timeline to UT a longer journey

Tennessee coach Derek Dooley stands with his team just before a group photograph on media day. He’s the third head coach to pose for the team photo in as many years after a period in
which UT had only two head coaches in 32 years. The plan is for Dooley to be back in the team picture in 2011 and beyond.

Photo by Saul Young

Tennessee coach Derek Dooley stands with his team just before a group photograph on media day. He’s the third head coach to pose for the team photo in as many years after a period in which UT had only two head coaches in 32 years. The plan is for Dooley to be back in the team picture in 2011 and beyond.

Born: June 10, 1968, in Athens, Ga.

Parents: Vince and Barbara Dooley.

Wife: Dr. Allison Jeffers Dooley

Children: John Taylor, Peyton, Julianna.

High School: Clarke Central.

Education: Virginia, 1991; University of Georgia Law School, 1994.

Playing career: Receiver, Virginia 1987-90.

Law career: 1994-95, Atlanta, Nelson Mullins Riley and Scarbrough.

Assistant coaching career: Georgia, 1996, grad assistant; SMU 1997-99, wide receivers, co-recruiting coordinator; LSU, 2000-02, recruiting coordinator, tight ends; LSU, 2003, running backs, special teams; LSU, 2004, assistant head coach, running backs, special teams; Miami Dolphins, 2005-06, tight ends.

Head coaching career: Louisiana Tech, 2007-09 (17-20 overall).

Honors: Louisiana coach of the year 2008 (Louisiana Sportswriters Association),

Hired at Tennessee: Jan. 15, 2010.

The search for the University of Tennessee's next president has lumbered through task forces and committees for more than a year.

Last January, Mike Hamilton hired a football coach in 56 hours.

"There's a greater sense of urgency in athletics,'' said Hamilton, in his seventh year as UT's men's athletic director. "You're simply operating on a matter of hours.''

Which, considering the stakes, must give an athletic director pause - if not an ulcer.

So much is riding on a hurried decision to entrust UT's program to Derek Dooley, a relatively unknown coach from an off-the-beaten-path school: a multi-million-dollar enterprise; jobs and careers; the hopes and prayers of a fan base that has been rocked by turmoil.

Hamilton says now he was energized, not stressed, by the 56-hour crucible:

"Like I heard Derek say, every day is fourth-and-1 playing for a championship.''

Still, given the unusual circumstances, you can't help but wonder if you hired the right man to get the Vols back to playing for championships.

It might be a couple of years before Tennessee knows for certain. Hamilton, however, felt assured on the evening of July 9.

When news of football players involved in a bar brawl broke, Hamilton placed the dreaded call to his coach who was out of town vacationing.

"When he picked up the phone, he's already on the way home from vacation,'' Hamilton said. "That tells you something.''

Within hours of arriving in his office, Dooley had sorted out the stories, dealt the punishment and addressed the fan base through a hastily called news conference.

"That,'' said Hamilton, "was the first true crisis moment where I had a chance to be behind the scenes with Derek.

"In my mind, he passed with flying colors.''

His mother thought so, too.

"He's extremely organized and extremely disciplined like his dad,'' said Barbara Dooley.

"I wouldn't have expected (Derek) to have handled it any other way. That's how you build a team.''

Tennessee, in fact, is in the unfamiliar position of needing to build not only a team for the 2010 season but also to rebuild a program for the future.

Born between the hedges

UT fans didn't know a whole lot about the 41-year-old coach who was introduced to them last winter. He'd worked for Nick Saban. He'd run his own program at only one place, Louisiana Tech.

But the fact that he grew up in the household of Vince Dooley, the iconic Georgia Bulldogs coach, they could relate to that.

Derek was born in 1968, four years after his dad began a 25-year run (1964-88) as Georgia's coach. The baby of the Dooley brood, Derek came of age observing a father who was not only the head coach but the athletic director (from 1979-2004).

"I was able to watch someone who was in charge of a program, who had to make a hundred decisions every day,'' said Dooley.

"Now I wasn't sitting there taking notes. But it's no different than any child watching their father. It just becomes part of you.''

Dooley's Time: So much is riding on a hurried decision to entrust Tennessee’s football program to Derek Dooley, a relatively unknown coach from an off-the-beaten-path school.

Photo by Don Wood // Buy this photo

Dooley's Time: So much is riding on a hurried decision to entrust Tennessee’s football program to Derek Dooley, a relatively unknown coach from an off-the-beaten-path school.

This particular father won 201 games. He won a national championship in 1980 and was named national coach of the year.

He won six SEC titles, was seven times SEC coach of the year, took the Bulldogs to 20 bowl games, developed a Heisman Trophy winner and was president of the American Football Coaches Association.

And Derek Dooley absorbed it all.

"I had a rule the kids had to be a certain age before they came on the sidelines,'' Vince Dooley said, "but when you're the baby, mamas tend to throw out those rules. So she maneuvered a way to get him down there a lot earlier than the others got down there.''

Looking back from the desk in his office at the Neyland Thompson Sports Center, Derek Dooley sees that he picked up plenty.

There was the big picture: the philosophy of winning and winning big.

And how to go about it:

"Setting a real high standard on everything you do,'' Dooley said, "and everybody in the whole program. Not accepting substandard performance in any way.

"I think I took the intangible of how a team competes. Nobody ever said my father was an Xs-and-Os genius, but they always hated to play his teams.

"I watched him with the media. He was always very gracious and respectful and honest.

"And when things were bad he didn't go in the tank. And when things were good he never got too high.

"There are just so many things you need from this chair.''

Talent evaluation being one of them.

Derek set a record for attending Georgia football camps but when he became a recruitable athlete at Clarke Central High School, his father had to make a tough call.

"Ray Goff, who was my recruiting coordinator, wanted me to sign Derek,'' Vince said. "Derek was what you call a possession receiver, which means you were smart but didn't have a great deal of speed.

"I didn't want to coach a possession receiver who was my son.''

Princeton recruited young Dooley and his dad was pulling for an Ivy League education. Derek, however, wanted to play in the big arena.

He walked on at Virginia.

"I'm proud of him,'' said Vince, "because he lettered all four years and was a starter. So he made the right choice.''

Derek enjoyed the big-time football experience. Just not the way it ended.

Virginia, in 1990, played its way to the Sugar Bowl - against Tennessee.

Dooley, however, pulled a hamstring four days before the game. He watched the Vols' come-from-behind 23-22 win in street clothes.

"That was a real hard thing because it was my last game as a player,'' he said, "and I knew I wasn't going pro.''

A verdict overturned

He still didn't know what he was going to do so he enrolled in law school at Georgia.

"I never planned on being a lawyer, but something pulled me in,'' he said.

Perhaps it was the competitive nature of the courtroom. Like football, there was a contest with a clear winner and loser.

He was on the moot-court team. It was, in its way, the next-best thing to suiting up in a stadium.

"We went to competitions and when you won, you had that feeling of victory,'' he said.

"And when you lost, you were sitting there saying, 'Man, I screwed that up, I screwed this up. I'm learning from it.'"

He landed a plum job with a big firm in downtown Atlanta, specializing in civil litigation. As a beginner, much of his work was in a law library rather than the courtroom.

"My personality is very aggressive,'' Dooley said. "I thought in the first six months on the job I was ready to try a $100 million case.

Tennessee coach Derek Dooley says high expectations are the key to re-establishing a program shaken by two
coaching changes in just over a year.

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess // Buy this photo

Tennessee coach Derek Dooley says high expectations are the key to re-establishing a program shaken by two coaching changes in just over a year.

"I wasn't scared. I didn't know what I was doing but I didn't care. I wanted to play. Like playing in a game.''

Alongside his physician wife Allison, Dooley the attorney appeared set for the good life in Atlanta. Not so fast.

There came a point, about a year in, where Dooley began to realize law might not be his calling.

"I loved the 20 percent,'' he said, "and probably wasn't getting much back from the 80 percent.''

New career, new mentor

On the last day of the 1995 college football season, Dooley's unrest crystallized. By the time he watched Nebraska hammer Florida in the national championship game he had pretty much determined to quit law and go into coaching.

It wasn't a popular decision in the Dooley family.

"I did everything in my power to keep all of them (her children) away from coaching,'' Barbara Dooley said. "It is a very, very hard life for everybody.''

Vince, by then retired from coaching but still Georgia's AD, mounted a brief resistance.

"I started to argue,'' he recalled, "but they teach 'em to argue in law school.

"Plus, he was on the debate team, so I lost the argument in 10 seconds.''

Derek's entry was a grad-assistant post at Georgia in 1996, after which he got hired at Southern Methodist in '97.

Three years later he landed an interview with Nick Saban, who had taken the LSU job.

"I didn't know who Nick Saban was, to be frank with you,'' Dooley said.

He did recognize an opportunity to jump into college football at its highest level.

"He never hired young coaches,'' Dooley said. "You'd have to ask him why he hired me.

"I could tell right away he was going to be very demanding, and that's what I wanted. I knew he was a very intelligent Xs-and-Os guy and that's what I wanted.''

After a five-hour conversation, Saban said, "Nice to meet you,'' and it was over.

"I was like, 'What does that mean?'" Dooley said. "I thought, 'I guess that's done.'"

It wasn't. Saban hired this young coach and they were together five years at LSU and two more with the Miami Dolphins.

The 2003 season produced a national championship win over Oklahoma. But you won't see Dooley sporting a gaudy championship ring. It stays at home.

"I've never put it on,'' he said. "That's not my deal.

"I don't coach to wear a ring or to hold up the crystal ball. Certainly, that's what you're trying to do, but you're on to the next thing.''

If not the bling, Dooley brings the wisdom of that championship with him to his new job.

"You know what good looks like,'' he said. "I think that's very important.

"And you learn how to manage your personality and your players' personality in that kind of venue. Because it's different.''

Surprisingly, Dooley doesn't hold that BCS win over the Sooners as the defining moment of his LSU tenure.

'A great victory'

That distinction goes to a night Tennessee fans recall as one of their most bitter disappointments - the 2001 SEC Championship Game.

"Probably the greatest victory I've ever been a part of at any level,'' said Dooley, "peewee, high school, playing in college, (assistant) coaching or head coach.''

UT, fresh off a stunning win at Florida, was ranked No. 2 and had only to beat LSU to play for the national title in the Rose Bowl.

Saban's second LSU team had "back-doored" into the title game and was a distinct underdog.

The Vols led 17-10 at the half and had nearly hit a TD bomb just before time ran out. LSU had already lost its starting quarterback and tailback to injuries.

"Nothing was going right,'' said Dooley. "I remember walking to the locker room saying, 'I don't know if we can even keep this game close.'"

The second half wasn't close. LSU dominated and won 31-20.

"You could feel the shift in momentum,'' Dooley said, "and to watch our kids start to believe they can do it, I've never had a feeling like that.

"That's what makes great victories.''

Tennessee coach Derek Dooley poses with his wife Allison and children, from left, Peyton, Julianna and John Taylor.

Photo by Adam Brimer // Buy this photo

Tennessee coach Derek Dooley poses with his wife Allison and children, from left, Peyton, Julianna and John Taylor.

His own man

When Saban left the Dolphins to take over at Alabama in 2007, Dooley had the opportunity to follow.

But Vince and Barbara's youngest son has repeatedly indicated he is his own man. He turned down an Ivy League education to walk on at Virginia. He quit a lucrative law career for an entry-level coaching gig.

And rather than board the luxury liner Alabama he was ready to captain his own ship, even if it was small and would plow choppy seas.

Louisiana Tech gave him that opening. In three seasons he went 17-20, shouldering the double load as athletic director.

At a school that faces an average road trip of 1,700 miles in the Western Athletic Conference, perhaps progress could be measured closer to home:

In 2007 the Bulldogs went to LSU and got drilled 58-10. Dooley was embarrassed. In 2009, Tech went back to Tiger Stadium, led at the half and lost 24-16.

His 2008 team went 8-5, beating Mississippi State and then Northern Illinois in the Independence Bowl.

It was enough to get him an interview for the Auburn job (that Gene Chizik got) and in consideration at Mississippi State (which hired Dan Mullen).

Tennessee, too, was hiring a coach in 2008, but it is not believed Dooley ever got a real look.

But when Hamilton needed a coach in a hurry last January - an awkward time in the hiring cycle - Dooley was suddenly more appealing.

He and Hamilton huddled for two hours on a Thursday morning. They got back together on Friday and by that evening, Dooley was in Knoxville sporting an orange tie and avowing General Neyland's game maxims.

"He's 10 times more prepared for this than I was when I got to Georgia,'' Vince Dooley said.

"First of all he's 10 years older than I was (41 compared to 31) and has a much broader experience.

"He had the good fortune to be around a good program at Georgia. My daddy was an electrician.''

Tennessee in a tempest

Tennessee boasts a proud tradition but the current team is battered by the winds of change. The roster is short 15 or so players due to departures from back-to-back coaching changes.

"The attrition,'' Dooley said, "you can sugar-coat it all you want but that was a devastating blow.''

The players who stuck around have been through a revolving door of leadership.

For 32 years UT had only two football coaches, Johnny Majors and Phillip Fulmer. Now, three coaches in a span of 15 months.

"You might as well throw away all the cliche, politically correct answers,'' said senior Nick Reveiz. "It's been hard.

"It's something that I've sat in bed some nights wondering why.''

Dooley is attuned to their confusion.

"Every team,'' he said, "adopts some personalities of their head coach and here's a team that's had three in three years.

"When you don't understand what the expectations are ... it takes a couple of years to get the engine going.''

The transition from Kiffin is especially pronounced. A consummate detail man, Dooley has been involved in every aspect of revamping the program's internal structure.

"The philosophy is so different (from Kiffin's) it's almost like starting from scratch,'' he said.

In Kiffin, Hamilton went for a fresh approach to the long-standing status quo. Perhaps, in retrospect, Kiffin was too fresh.

In choosing Dooley, Hamilton admits he was "hypersensitive to fit.''

Fit translates to stability and Tennessee needs stability. It needs patience, too.

Vince Dooley knows a thing or two about evaluating football teams.

"I see where Tennessee is picked second to last in the East and that's probably very realistic,'' he said. "I think the talent is short, really short, and the schedule is demanding.

"I think he's got a real tough rebuilding job.''

If Hamilton hired the right guy and if the current climate will allow him time, Dooley hopes one day to recapture the exhilaration he experienced in the 2001 SEC Championship Game.

Only this time, Tennessee will feel it with him.

Seven months in, on the verge of the season-opener, Dooley more than ever appreciates the scope of the challenge he has taken on.

He didn't expect to see his roster shrink so drastically in that interim, but he is undaunted.

"There's no doubt we can re-establish what made this place great,'' he said. "There's nothing that tells me we're not going to get Tennessee where it needs to be.

"In many ways I feel better than I did when I took the job, I do, that we can get there.

"But I also know that there are a lot of things that can't get changed immediately and that's going to be the real challenge.''

The challenge was launched in a whirlwind of 56 hours.

To see it through will take infinitely longer.

Mike Strange may be reached at strangem@knoxnews.com or 865-342-6276.

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Comments » 57

rockytopatl writes:

Dooley is a lucky guy to have this opportunity. As many have pointed out, his head coaching record isn't exactly sterling. He needs to make the most of this, because if he fails here, there won't be a second chance at another big school.

I think he will succeed -- if Vol fans give him time. It's going to take awhile to turn this program around.

KC_Vol writes:

Nice article. If he can get the job done, I could see Dooley being the head coach here for 15 - 20 years. He definitely fits the culture of Knoxville.

The1 writes:

Dooley is a smart guy and a hard worker - what else do we need? Fulmer was a good-hearted guy, but not such a hard worker and probably not too smart. Kiffin was smart and worked hard, but is selfish and childish. I feel good about Dooley. We'll get our share of wins with Dooley at the helm.

Mule_Days_King writes:

Nice article, Mike.

Take_Back_Knoxville writes:

Of course it's all about the competition on the field but I think we will all be pleased with our new Coach. I have had the pleasure of being in the offices of the aforementioned 3 head coaches. Kiffin's office was cold and impersonal. Only daily items were lying around. Shoes, shirts, etc. No hints of any roots being laid down. Coach Dooley's is the exact opposite. Pictures of his family can be found throughout his office. The walls are actually decorated with memorabilia. It's obvious in hindsight that Kiffin never thought of this job as a destination job whereas Dooley is PROUD to be UTs coach. Who would you rather "Give your all for"? Go Vols and go to the game. Don't watch on TV. This team needs us badly.

VolGrad writes:

in response to rockytopatl:

Dooley is a lucky guy to have this opportunity. As many have pointed out, his head coaching record isn't exactly sterling. He needs to make the most of this, because if he fails here, there won't be a second chance at another big school.

I think he will succeed -- if Vol fans give him time. It's going to take awhile to turn this program around.

His coaching record is better than what you see at face value. Anyone who takes a few minutes to search out the archives for what happened during his third season at LaTech will realize that he did a good just to win 4 games. To summarize it, by the 4th game of the season, half of his starters were out to injuries. He lost some of his key skill players for the year to injuries. That adds a little context to his record which was on the up-swing prior to that 3rd season. Add to that, by the LSU game late in final season, his injury-riddled team gave the Tigers all they wanted, leading through most of the first three quarters.

Go Vols!!!

Observer43 writes:

in response to Mule_Days_King:

Nice article, Mike.

Agreed good article! Good Journalistic work. Only time will tell how things turn out, but we are behing you Coach!

FWBVol writes:

I don't think CDD's record at La. Tech is a true indication of how good of a football coach he is and will be for Tennessee.

If you look at his pedigree it is equal or better than Kiffin's. Saban vs. Pete Carroll as a coaching mentor, I'd give a slight edge to Saban because he has won in the SEC and the Big 10. Vince Dooley vs. Monte Kiffin, my edge to Vince Dooley because he was a head coach for so many years and was a winner as a head coach. Monte might be a legend as a D-coordinator, but his defenses have only helped a team to one Super Bowl.

It will take a few years to get back where we need to be competing with Georgia and Florida for the SEC East, but I'm convinced CDD is the man to get us back to that level.

Fans nned to be patient and remember the slide didn't happen overnight, and the rebuilding won't be accomplished overnight either.

ncvol17 writes:

got this off the internet. only 4 W's, c'mon:
Derek Dooley, Tennessee: It could be a rough couple of years for the son of legendary Georgia coach Vince Dooley. The Vols' recruiting dipped during former coach Phillip Fulmer's latter years, and several members of Kiffin's touted 2009 class that played as true freshmen last season have already been dismissed or transferred. Running backs Tauren Poole and David Oku are potential stars, but juco quarterback Matt Simms will be playing behind nearly an all-new offensive line, while the D-line and secondary are severely depleted. Predicted record: 4-8.

Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010...

ncvol17 writes:

in response to The1:

Dooley is a smart guy and a hard worker - what else do we need? Fulmer was a good-hearted guy, but not such a hard worker and probably not too smart. Kiffin was smart and worked hard, but is selfish and childish. I feel good about Dooley. We'll get our share of wins with Dooley at the helm.

It's 2010 w/ the future ahead of us all as fans. Go CDD and bring us back to glory but CPF 'not smart'? Cripes, look at the record.Look at the Decade of Dominance. Look at his 1990's recruits. What is your opinion of Majors, an also ran? Let's hope CDD brings us another run like CPF gave us and then even better..

rockytopatl writes:

in response to VolGrad:

His coaching record is better than what you see at face value. Anyone who takes a few minutes to search out the archives for what happened during his third season at LaTech will realize that he did a good just to win 4 games. To summarize it, by the 4th game of the season, half of his starters were out to injuries. He lost some of his key skill players for the year to injuries. That adds a little context to his record which was on the up-swing prior to that 3rd season. Add to that, by the LSU game late in final season, his injury-riddled team gave the Tigers all they wanted, leading through most of the first three quarters.

Go Vols!!!

All this is true, but the bottom line is 17-20. How many guys (other than one guy we won't name) get a premier job like Tennessee with a losing head coaching record?

VOL03_NC writes:

Timing is everything. CDD would not have been so easily accepted, had Lame not provided his influences to the program and the SEC as a whole.
CDD has all the potential necessary to be the next great coach of UT. It will take time to get his new program to translate on the field.

new_era_vol writes:

in response to FWBVol:

I don't think CDD's record at La. Tech is a true indication of how good of a football coach he is and will be for Tennessee.

If you look at his pedigree it is equal or better than Kiffin's. Saban vs. Pete Carroll as a coaching mentor, I'd give a slight edge to Saban because he has won in the SEC and the Big 10. Vince Dooley vs. Monte Kiffin, my edge to Vince Dooley because he was a head coach for so many years and was a winner as a head coach. Monte might be a legend as a D-coordinator, but his defenses have only helped a team to one Super Bowl.

It will take a few years to get back where we need to be competing with Georgia and Florida for the SEC East, but I'm convinced CDD is the man to get us back to that level.

Fans nned to be patient and remember the slide didn't happen overnight, and the rebuilding won't be accomplished overnight either.

good post, but I think we will be better than expected. If we stay healthy, sky is the limit.

Mule_Days_King writes:

in response to ncvol17:

got this off the internet. only 4 W's, c'mon:
Derek Dooley, Tennessee: It could be a rough couple of years for the son of legendary Georgia coach Vince Dooley. The Vols' recruiting dipped during former coach Phillip Fulmer's latter years, and several members of Kiffin's touted 2009 class that played as true freshmen last season have already been dismissed or transferred. Running backs Tauren Poole and David Oku are potential stars, but juco quarterback Matt Simms will be playing behind nearly an all-new offensive line, while the D-line and secondary are severely depleted. Predicted record: 4-8.

Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010...

I bet it took this amateur putz about 10 seconds to write the article. How much research does it take to state the obvious about the depth at both lines, SI? Lazy journalism at its finest.

VolGrad writes:

in response to rockytopatl:

All this is true, but the bottom line is 17-20. How many guys (other than one guy we won't name) get a premier job like Tennessee with a losing head coaching record?

Bottom line. What is "the bottom line" without proper context? Not much. You could hire a coach with a better record that wouldn't be half the man Dooley is, but if he's got a better record... that is your "bottom line?" Good luck with that. C'mon, you're smarter than that.

Here's a "bottom line" that much more clearly demonstrates the kind of coach DD is: In his first game versus the LSU Tigers, his LaTech players got "handled." The next time they played LSU, despite all the injuries to his starters, they almost beat the LSU squad. That shows me the influence he was able to have on that team. That shows me the kind of leadership he was able to foster among the guys he'd recruited to LaTech. That tells me a lot more about how successful this coach is going to be than merely his wins and losses outside of proper context. Most coaches would not have taken on the LaTech job at the time he got it. There is a whole lot more to this story than a 17-20 record. Those who see that whole story see something much better than 17-20 coming from Mr. Dooley over the next 3 seasons here in BOC.

Go Vols!!!

UTByrd writes:

in response to VolGrad:

His coaching record is better than what you see at face value. Anyone who takes a few minutes to search out the archives for what happened during his third season at LaTech will realize that he did a good just to win 4 games. To summarize it, by the 4th game of the season, half of his starters were out to injuries. He lost some of his key skill players for the year to injuries. That adds a little context to his record which was on the up-swing prior to that 3rd season. Add to that, by the LSU game late in final season, his injury-riddled team gave the Tigers all they wanted, leading through most of the first three quarters.

Go Vols!!!

Thanks for the insight. Very nice addition to the actual article. It is just another reason to justify the good feelings I have about Coach Dooley, and the staff he's put together.
His persona emanates integrity, confidence, and intelligence. He leads by example by working as hard or harder than anyone in the whole organization. Good times will be here soon, perhaps as long as 3 years.
Go VOLS!!!!!

rockytopatl writes:

in response to VolGrad:

Bottom line. What is "the bottom line" without proper context? Not much. You could hire a coach with a better record that wouldn't be half the man Dooley is, but if he's got a better record... that is your "bottom line?" Good luck with that. C'mon, you're smarter than that.

Here's a "bottom line" that much more clearly demonstrates the kind of coach DD is: In his first game versus the LSU Tigers, his LaTech players got "handled." The next time they played LSU, despite all the injuries to his starters, they almost beat the LSU squad. That shows me the influence he was able to have on that team. That shows me the kind of leadership he was able to foster among the guys he'd recruited to LaTech. That tells me a lot more about how successful this coach is going to be than merely his wins and losses outside of proper context. Most coaches would not have taken on the LaTech job at the time he got it. There is a whole lot more to this story than a 17-20 record. Those who see that whole story see something much better than 17-20 coming from Mr. Dooley over the next 3 seasons here in BOC.

Go Vols!!!

We'll see how good a coach he is pretty soon.

OrangePsyched writes:

Very good article with much insight into the man CDD. I really believe that he is here for the long haul and will turn this program around quicker than people think. He spent his life around football...has the genes and lasted longer than anyone with Saban. I think that we got the total package in coaching. Starting to get my game face on. ROCKY TOP!

murrayvol writes:

in response to ncvol17:

got this off the internet. only 4 W's, c'mon:
Derek Dooley, Tennessee: It could be a rough couple of years for the son of legendary Georgia coach Vince Dooley. The Vols' recruiting dipped during former coach Phillip Fulmer's latter years, and several members of Kiffin's touted 2009 class that played as true freshmen last season have already been dismissed or transferred. Running backs Tauren Poole and David Oku are potential stars, but juco quarterback Matt Simms will be playing behind nearly an all-new offensive line, while the D-line and secondary are severely depleted. Predicted record: 4-8.

Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010...

Thanks but I don't want to read anymore.

murrayvol writes:

Excellent article Mike.....coulda done without the reprise of 2001 SECCG when the 8 year train wreck started.

jimvolfan writes:

My take on Coach Dooley: The man has come into hostile territory and taken charge. He hasn't shot himself in the foot, he hasn't let his mouth write checks his tail can't cash. He has been well spoken and polite. In essence, everything that his predecessor was not. I gave his predecessor little thought, never did care for the man. I'm encouraged by everything that I learn about Coach Dooley. Lets get behind this team and encourage them to live the 10 Maxims. GO BIG ORANGE!!!!!!!

shulessjo writes:

just a feeling....Dooley is the right guy.

vols16#567738 writes:

Thanks Mike, excellent column. Please keep them coming.

VolsINFan writes:

I must admit that I didn't think that the new coach would be Derek Dooley, but each time I read something new about the man, I am more impressed. 17-20 doesn't matter to me as much as some. Lets give the man our support, and with the support of UT resources, I am convinced he will win a ton of games at Tennessee.

Go Vols!

CCLC writes:

in response to VolGrad:

Bottom line. What is "the bottom line" without proper context? Not much. You could hire a coach with a better record that wouldn't be half the man Dooley is, but if he's got a better record... that is your "bottom line?" Good luck with that. C'mon, you're smarter than that.

Here's a "bottom line" that much more clearly demonstrates the kind of coach DD is: In his first game versus the LSU Tigers, his LaTech players got "handled." The next time they played LSU, despite all the injuries to his starters, they almost beat the LSU squad. That shows me the influence he was able to have on that team. That shows me the kind of leadership he was able to foster among the guys he'd recruited to LaTech. That tells me a lot more about how successful this coach is going to be than merely his wins and losses outside of proper context. Most coaches would not have taken on the LaTech job at the time he got it. There is a whole lot more to this story than a 17-20 record. Those who see that whole story see something much better than 17-20 coming from Mr. Dooley over the next 3 seasons here in BOC.

Go Vols!!!

....and after all he is from Athens!

Mule_Days_King writes:

in response to CCLC:

....and after all he is from Athens!

His success will be in spite of his birthplace.

jawbreaker writes:

I am in full support of CDD, but the "photo" of CDD in the margin by Don Wood doesn't do the man justice. Kind of makes the coach look like he's on medication, and retaining water...and the photo is for sale!

FearTheVols1252 writes:

in response to rockytopatl:

All this is true, but the bottom line is 17-20. How many guys (other than one guy we won't name) get a premier job like Tennessee with a losing head coaching record?

As I recall Gene Chizik was 5-19 at Iowa St before landing a job at Auburn. He went 8-5 in his first season in the SEC, which isn't too bad all things considered. He looks primed to have another decent year. It just goes to show that the right fit, with the right staff, and the right resources can equate to wins. The more I hear about Dooley, the more I think he was the right man for the job.

Madkels writes:

in response to murrayvol:

Excellent article Mike.....coulda done without the reprise of 2001 SECCG when the 8 year train wreck started.

Agreed. That night, walking into the Ga. Dome, many Vol fans were holding rose stems. I told my wife that this was a bad omen since everyone was assuming we had won before the game was played. Hardest loss I ever attended.

murrayvol writes:

in response to Madkels:

Agreed. That night, walking into the Ga. Dome, many Vol fans were holding rose stems. I told my wife that this was a bad omen since everyone was assuming we had won before the game was played. Hardest loss I ever attended.

No doubt. Right up there with the 9-6 nightmare vs Bama.

NCVOL09 writes:

I don't know if anyone else watched this yesterday...but this kid Justin Worley out of Rock Hill, SC was on fire yesterday 5 TD passes in under 5 minutes on a nationally televised game...and yes Derek Dooley did sign him, and oh darn he is only a 3 star it must be a bad recruit. BTW did I mention he did this against the number one player in the country on Defense, Jadaveon Clowney. http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2010...

92volalum writes:

in response to murrayvol:

No doubt. Right up there with the 9-6 nightmare vs Bama.

hey i was at the game also with my future wife and it almost made her not marry me...lol

I was so freaking mad on how fulmer and company froze up in the second half and chavis kept going to the zone on 3rd and long.......

what a nightmare!!!!!!!!!!!

Jesus1Family2Career3Vols4 writes:

I sure hope CDD can get it done! Anxious to see how we play come Sept. 11th against the defending PAC 10 Champs. I know we have a demanding SEC schedule, just as all ways, but that game against the Quack Attack is very winnable. Lets all hope for over 100,000 fans, high humidity and the 72 kids we currently have on scholarship are all ready to play. CDD sounds like a good hire; I sure hope he becomes a Great Hire for Hamilton!

How 'bout them Vols?

gatorhader writes:

in response to VolGrad:

Bottom line. What is "the bottom line" without proper context? Not much. You could hire a coach with a better record that wouldn't be half the man Dooley is, but if he's got a better record... that is your "bottom line?" Good luck with that. C'mon, you're smarter than that.

Here's a "bottom line" that much more clearly demonstrates the kind of coach DD is: In his first game versus the LSU Tigers, his LaTech players got "handled." The next time they played LSU, despite all the injuries to his starters, they almost beat the LSU squad. That shows me the influence he was able to have on that team. That shows me the kind of leadership he was able to foster among the guys he'd recruited to LaTech. That tells me a lot more about how successful this coach is going to be than merely his wins and losses outside of proper context. Most coaches would not have taken on the LaTech job at the time he got it. There is a whole lot more to this story than a 17-20 record. Those who see that whole story see something much better than 17-20 coming from Mr. Dooley over the next 3 seasons here in BOC.

Go Vols!!!

Agree...CDD has the foundation to establish a solid program.

GBO

TennVol01 writes:

Great article. It is good to learn more about the Coach. Love his quote: "Every day is fourth-and-1 playing for a championship."

Terrific attitude. Six days till kickoff....but who is counting?

johnlg00 writes:

in response to jawbreaker:

I am in full support of CDD, but the "photo" of CDD in the margin by Don Wood doesn't do the man justice. Kind of makes the coach look like he's on medication, and retaining water...and the photo is for sale!

Agreed! That is a "photo" of a mediocre drawing! Sheesh!

tnsportsman writes:

in response to FearTheVols1252:

As I recall Gene Chizik was 5-19 at Iowa St before landing a job at Auburn. He went 8-5 in his first season in the SEC, which isn't too bad all things considered. He looks primed to have another decent year. It just goes to show that the right fit, with the right staff, and the right resources can equate to wins. The more I hear about Dooley, the more I think he was the right man for the job.

You nailed it FearTheVols!

CDD and Staff has this team focused, in shape, bonded and on a mission. Yeah we are short players right now and the injuries will need to be limited.

IMO, CDD will have success this year with at least 8 wins just like Chizik did at Auburn. The main reason, we are The University of Tennessee and our history of success has been embraced by CCD and Staff! This goes a long way in the minds of the players that run through the T at Neyland!

ITS PREP WEEK FOR THE FIRST GAME, THE SEASON IS HERE, LETS GET IT UP VOLNATION!

GO VOLS, WE ARE UT!

VolsDoc81TX writes:

in response to jimvolfan:

My take on Coach Dooley: The man has come into hostile territory and taken charge. He hasn't shot himself in the foot, he hasn't let his mouth write checks his tail can't cash. He has been well spoken and polite. In essence, everything that his predecessor was not. I gave his predecessor little thought, never did care for the man. I'm encouraged by everything that I learn about Coach Dooley. Lets get behind this team and encourage them to live the 10 Maxims. GO BIG ORANGE!!!!!!!

What 10 Maxims are there? General Neyland had 7 football Maxims. There are 10 commandments.

I am not trying to be too much of an a@#, mainly curious.
Go Vols!

6MillionDollarPumpkin writes:

I think Dooley is a nice fit, but, he will only be measured in wins and losses. Lets all hope for the best.

VolsDoc81TX writes:

in response to Driving_Ms_Dooley:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

The 12th "man" are the fans. That is what you meant, right?

If not, Which player on defense, offense, and special teams is your pick for most important?

sorry, could not resist. Woke up on the sarcastic side of the bed this morning. :-)

I will be yelling so loudly that y'all may hear me from Texas!!

Go Vols!

daveman54 writes:

If you remember back when Coach Fulmer took over for Coach Majors when he had that heart trouble, nobody knew if Coach Fulmer would be any good and look what he did

VolsDoc81TX writes:

in response to The1:

Dooley is a smart guy and a hard worker - what else do we need? Fulmer was a good-hearted guy, but not such a hard worker and probably not too smart. Kiffin was smart and worked hard, but is selfish and childish. I feel good about Dooley. We'll get our share of wins with Dooley at the helm.

Are you friggin' kidding me?

Coach Fulmer was a former offensive lineman, (usually some of the smarter players on any team) was a great recruiter for many many years. I think that you are right that he let his heart over rule his brain in regards to some of his assistant coaches. He appeared to become complacent in his latter years. He made some bad choices and paid for them by losing his dream job...but he was a great coach for our school!

I think that coach Dooley will in time be another great coach for our school. No such thing as a "rough year or a down year" when you are truly a VOLUNTEER. I would rather lose every game as a Vol than be a fan of uf or vandy. Luckily for me none of that will ever happen. Of coach Dooley, one thing for sure, no need to make excuses for our head coach anymore.

That leads me to my last point. Kiffin and smart should never be used in the same sentence unless the word not is affiliated with smart. He is smart as in con man, not as in head coach. I believe that he was hired based on his falsehoods and the fact that he promised that he could bring his dad with him. In retrospect, his dad was not all that in college football defense...he could do wonders against the nfl packages, but not really against anything else. With basically the same players that were there the previous year under Coach Chavis, we dropped in all our defensive stats. His son the wonderkid was an awful OC. (He should have deferred the play calling to coach Chaney, that would have been smart) Who in the world would think that running up the middle on the goal line against the strength of the UCLA defense would work? He schemed a pedestrian gameplan against Bama and uf, but the defense kept us in both games. I was embarrassed all year by his antics. I was ecstatic within about 1 hour after he quit!

I have to say that the best thing that kiffin did for UT was to hire coaches Chaney and Thompson. I am very happy that they stayed.
I think that coach Dooley has made some great assistant coach hires. I do not predict outcomes for our upcoming season. As a true fan, I expect us to win every game, regardless of the other team. That is my definition of being a fan. I was at the Sugar Bowl when we beat Miami very soundly. That game to me is the epitome of being a Volunteer! No one gave us even a remote chance to even score on the mighty hurricanes much less win...

Finally, Coach Fulmer gave me one of my all-time favorite quotes, "We do not have to be the best team in the nation, just the best team on this field today!" Not word for word, but you get the drift. I went to college at UT when coach Majors was in charge, and I will never feel that the University of Tennessee is anything less than the greatest!

Sorry for the diatribe, be a Vol!
Go Big Orange!!

obama4ever writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Ayres_Hall writes:

Derek Dooley was at LA. Tech just three years yet he built a soild foundation on which the school's football program could compete against the likes of Boise State. To only see the won/loss record is not only nearsighted but also very shallow.

VolGrad writes:

in response to tnsportsman:

You nailed it FearTheVols!

CDD and Staff has this team focused, in shape, bonded and on a mission. Yeah we are short players right now and the injuries will need to be limited.

IMO, CDD will have success this year with at least 8 wins just like Chizik did at Auburn. The main reason, we are The University of Tennessee and our history of success has been embraced by CCD and Staff! This goes a long way in the minds of the players that run through the T at Neyland!

ITS PREP WEEK FOR THE FIRST GAME, THE SEASON IS HERE, LETS GET IT UP VOLNATION!

GO VOLS, WE ARE UT!

I feel like I just stepped into a prep rally or something....

:) GBO!

VolGrad writes:

in response to VolsDoc81TX:

What 10 Maxims are there? General Neyland had 7 football Maxims. There are 10 commandments.

I am not trying to be too much of an a@#, mainly curious.
Go Vols!

Hey, it's all good. :D

Go Vols!!!

VolGrad writes:

in response to DukeDeLuca:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I don't need him to feel sorry for me. I don't subscribe to his world, his perceptions or his newspaper.

:P GBO!

VolGrad writes:

in response to obama4ever:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You're a real piece of work, aren't you?

When you win your first debate, it will be interesting to see just how many of us are still posting on this site. Since you are an American, your right to complain, in any event, is guaranteed. But the way the economy is going in the here and now... should be your guide.

This isn't about "black and white." It is about the "Orange and White." It isn't about race; it is about allegiance. Go Vols!

GBO!

tnenglish1st writes:

Not a Hamilton fan... never will be. He got lucky with hiring Pearl. Or course Coach Pat was here before him & will be here long after. Coach Pat, Coach Majors, & Coach Fulmer all wore the orange & are easy to cheer for. The verdict is still out on Dooley the coach, but I am a fan of Dooley the man.

VolnPikwik writes:

in response to VolsDoc81TX:

What 10 Maxims are there? General Neyland had 7 football Maxims. There are 10 commandments.

I am not trying to be too much of an a@#, mainly curious.
Go Vols!

There are actually 38 maxims that Neyland had, according to Andy Kozar's book.

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