Dooley hurried, but wants to stay put; First two hires are Joseph, Russell

Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley speaks during a press conference in the Peyton Manning Locker Room Complex at Neyland Stadium Friday, Jan. 15, 2010.

Photo by Adam Brimer

Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley speaks during a press conference in the Peyton Manning Locker Room Complex at Neyland Stadium Friday, Jan. 15, 2010.

Derek Dooley had only been in town for a few hours before concerns were raised about when he might want to leave.

Given the circumstances surrounding his hiring as the new football coach at Tennessee, he seemed to know the questions were coming.

Dooley gave his word to the fans and told athletic director Mike Hamilton that UT was where he wanted to be, and it seemed genuine. Just in case, Hamilton will surely be asking for it in writing after getting burned by Lane Kiffin and a relatively inexpensive buyout, though the Vols have not yet released what it might cost to get his replacement.

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Either way, Dooley has done his best to make it clear it shouldn't be an issue.

"I wish I could sit here and give you a one-liner that's going to convince 100 percent of the fans, but that's never going to happen," Dooley said. "All I can do is go to work and assure you that I love being where I am, and I'm not looking to leave.

"Knowing there's been a ton of coaches who have said the same thing and they've done it, I don't know how best to answer that question other than to tell you I've never been more excited about the future for my family and for a program and for living than I am right now."

That enthusiasm was exactly what the Vols needed after a bizarre couple days following Kiffin's stunning departure, and Dooley will personally need it as well with National Signing Day looming in two weeks and holes to fill on his staff.

He addressed the latter with his first two hires, picking up Louisiana Tech recruiting coordinator and secondary coach Terry Joseph and respected special teams coach Eric Russell from Texas Tech on Sunday to go with holdovers Jim Chaney, Lance Thompson and Willie Mack Garza. Dooley also has hit the ground running as a recruiter, and for the most part he appears to be holding together a highly rated class so far.

The empty spots on the staff, the short time before signing day and an already depleted roster made the situation he inherited look bleak at first, but obviously none of those things have given Dooley a second thought about leaving Louisiana Tech.

"What I don't want to do is form opinions with my ears on the status of our team, the personnel issues, who's good, who's bad," he said. "I would rather do the diligence of forging my own set of where we are, where we need to go and where I think we can be. I don't think that's something that's going to happen overnight.

"Evaluating your team takes time, too, and it starts in the offseason, our offseason program and spring practice, and ultimately you never get a true evaluation until you get under the lights. I think this is a work in progress, and I'm not concerned with any of the problems. I don't think there's a job out there that doesn't have problems or doesn't have concerns. I don't care how big it gets, that's part of the business. If you're worried about problems you're in the wrong profession."

That line of work generally includes a lot of moving, and as the Vols found out it doesn't always come with much warning.

After losing Kiffin so suddenly, some distrust was to be expected and it wasn't difficult to tie him to a hypothetical opening at Georgia at some point in the future. But alma mater or not, for now Dooley is focused on doing the job he was hired to do just three short days ago.

"We talked not only about the immediate circumstances we've gone through over the last week, we talked about what we want," Hamilton said. "This is a destination job. I said that Wednesday, I truly believe that, and I think Coach Dooley believes that.

"It's really for him to answer, but in our conversations, this is the place where he's familiar with this league, this is the top of the ladder as it relates to getting it done the right way and competing for championships. We talked about things like buyouts for leaving and that was never an issue because he said, 'This is where I want to be.' "

Hamilton will still be expecting some written confirmation.

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Comments » 122

CoverOrange writes:

Special Teams coach? YES!

Buyouts = salary.

gcscvol writes:

What say we all quit our whinning and get behind Coach Dooley GBO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Joevolsxtra writes:

Will Joseph be replacing Garza?

516milesfromUT writes:

For the future of Tennessee football
Under these difficult times
Coming together is critical
Kiffin boned us

Kiffin is gone now
In this dark hour Tennessee needs us
For all who bleed orange
For giving our all for Tennessee
It's inside of all us
Now and forever
!

skyhawk836 writes:

in response to Agent_Orange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I think it means crying while your winning.

dvhill100 writes:

I am encouraged he is having success with the recruiting class. He was certainly put into a very tough position, and seems to be making the best of it. I like what I see of him so far.

vol_in_bigten_land writes:

in response to 516milesfromUT:

For the future of Tennessee football
Under these difficult times
Coming together is critical
Kiffin boned us

Kiffin is gone now
In this dark hour Tennessee needs us
For all who bleed orange
For giving our all for Tennessee
It's inside of all us
Now and forever
!

Priceless!

KCHS63 writes:

Austin, Georgia is not Derek Dooley's alma mater. That would be the University of Virginia. I went to graduate school at Emory University, but my alma mater is the University of Tennessee.

volfaninohio writes:

in response to gcscvol:

What say we all quit our whinning and get behind Coach Dooley GBO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Agreed. Enough already. He's the coach. He knows what the SEC and UT is about and if you look at the teams he had at La. Tech. and the schedule he played you may just be impressed to know his team Avg. PPG. for 2009 was almost 30. Throw out the W. Ky. game in 2009 and we didn't do that against some of the same teams. Let's back the man. GO VOLS!!!

asleep#212036 writes:

in response to skyhawk836:

I think it means crying while your winning.

I live in Alabama, and believe me, Auburn fans invented it.

asleep#212036 writes:

in response to KCHS63:

Austin, Georgia is not Derek Dooley's alma mater. That would be the University of Virginia. I went to graduate school at Emory University, but my alma mater is the University of Tennessee.

Man that stinks! I went to David Lipscomb and graduate school at UT - can't I be a Vol? I sure tell people I am! Go Vols!!!

steamboatticket#484773 writes:

in response to 516milesfromUT:

For the future of Tennessee football
Under these difficult times
Coming together is critical
Kiffin boned us

Kiffin is gone now
In this dark hour Tennessee needs us
For all who bleed orange
For giving our all for Tennessee
It's inside of all us
Now and forever
!

If I may speak for all Tennessee beloveds, Orange celestials, and even our SEC cousins with less bright light than our own, I say amen to that Brother 516miles.

jlovevols writes:

in response to KCHS63:

Austin, Georgia is not Derek Dooley's alma mater. That would be the University of Virginia. I went to graduate school at Emory University, but my alma mater is the University of Tennessee.

Exactly. While he has ties to UGA through his dad & being a grad assistant there, his alma mater is UVA.

jlovevols writes:

in response to asleep#212036:

Man that stinks! I went to David Lipscomb and graduate school at UT - can't I be a Vol? I sure tell people I am! Go Vols!!!

You're guilty by affiliation. Thus, you're a Vol. Good to have you on board. Go Vols!

radiomafia#577548 writes:

Garza is the most impressive of all the assistants, Hardesty and BB are proof, and look at his success at Auburn with Cadillac and Brown. $100,000 a year, what a bargain!

EPK writes:

in response to 516milesfromUT:

For the future of Tennessee football
Under these difficult times
Coming together is critical
Kiffin boned us

Kiffin is gone now
In this dark hour Tennessee needs us
For all who bleed orange
For giving our all for Tennessee
It's inside of all us
Now and forever
!

I'm going to puke.

shopsports#273141 writes:

Obviously Austin Ward and Dave Hooker are working this evening and don't have enough to do so they thought they would see how stupid they could sound.

asleep#212036 writes:

in response to jlovevols:

You're guilty by affiliation. Thus, you're a Vol. Good to have you on board. Go Vols!

Good, I've been claiming a Volunteer heritage since 1986! If you said no, I was going to have to sell a whole bunch of orange clothing. You know how hard it is to sell anything orange in Alabama?

steamboatticket#484773 writes:

in response to skyhawk836:

I think it means crying while your winning.

While winning...whinning? Yes, I do believe that skyhawk has solved that mystery.

ad8657 writes:

From what I've read & heard about the direction Kiffin had the program going in I'm glad he's gone. I didn't like him from day 1. Coach Dooley seems like he has the right attitude I hope he does well for his sake & his family's. We all know how UT fans can be. GO BIG ORANGE!!!

steamboatticket#484773 writes:

in response to EPK:

I'm going to puke.

Well you won't puke here. You'll go outside to puke, because you're a gentleman! And you respect our house.

mrvica#308650 writes:

in response to asleep#212036:

I live in Alabama, and believe me, Auburn fans invented it.

Either you don't live in Alabama or Alabama fans have fooled you into thinking they are Auburn fans. I have heard more whining from Alabama fans over the last 10 years than from Auburn fans over their entire history!

GreerVol22 writes:

specials teams? what's that? do we really need a coach for that?

kidding, smart guys do smart things...and don't brag about it. building trust one act at a time. Good move DD.

steamboatticket#484773 writes:

in response to asleep#212036:

I live in Alabama, and believe me, Auburn fans invented it.

Somebody should tell those barners to cut out their whinning. Maybe Coach Dooley will put a stop to it.

FWBVol writes:

First of all Mark Richt is still the head coach at Georgia and with the hire he made for a DC this week there's a good chance he'll be at UGA for a long time.

And, as others have posted, Derek Dooley graduated from UVA not UGA.

I'm sure Georgia will always hold a special place in Derek's heart, but while it is purely speculation on my part, I can't see why he would go to Georgia. No matter how well he did at Georgia he would always be compared to his dad and those 200 wins, six SEC titles and 1980 National Championship.

Tennessee is the place Derek Dooley can be Derek Dooley with only minimal comparisons to Vince in ths eame way it would have been more difficult for Peyton Manning at Ole Miss with all the comparisons to Archie.

Another thing to consider too is whether or not his wife wants to practice medicine. Knoxville would be a perfect place for her to set up a practice or join an existing one and achieve some of her professional goals.

REVOL writes:

in response to radiomafia#577548:

Garza is the most impressive of all the assistants, Hardesty and BB are proof, and look at his success at Auburn with Cadillac and Brown. $100,000 a year, what a bargain!

Garza is the defensive backs coach not running backs coach.

xxeman#277723 writes:

Dooley got his BS and played at U of VA, his law degree at GA. I would think he considers UVA his alma mater. Most people don't realize it but Vince Dooley, his dad, played at & is an Auburn grad yet he carved his niche at GA. Our Dooley also seems to be on his own track so I would think he is likely to see UT as a destination. Plus his wife probably wants to develop & maintain her medical practice.
Not really concerned with him being a hopper. Just hope he delivers.

rockytopatl writes:

in response to KCHS63:

Austin, Georgia is not Derek Dooley's alma mater. That would be the University of Virginia. I went to graduate school at Emory University, but my alma mater is the University of Tennessee.

Austin may not have any degrees and may be baffled by the concept of having more than one, much less which one counts as the alma mater!

radiomafia#577548 writes:

in response to REVOL:

Garza is the defensive backs coach not running backs coach.

sorry Gran not Garza. Kiffin ran him off before leaving, now at FSU. Gran was the primary recruiter on four of last year's blue chips, and was a factor in landing Bryce Brown.

lowman4vols writes:

in response to long_vol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

He is being retained on the staff. He is a Tennessee Alum.

Claudia4Vols writes:

in response to coedmeyer:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

thank you for sayig this .... i totaly agree... hes there for us .. let us b there for him ... welcome to our big orange family CDD and Family we welcome u home

OrangePsyched writes:

I really don't think the apple falls too far from the tree. I think Derek if he is successful will carve his own niche here for quite a while. I don't think he is anything like the carpetbagger that just passed thru. The way things are falling I think the recuits sense the same. With luck this could still be a top ten signing class. Here's to a long run of success on Rocky Top coach!

stayingorange writes:

in response to radiomafia#577548:

Garza is the most impressive of all the assistants, Hardesty and BB are proof, and look at his success at Auburn with Cadillac and Brown. $100,000 a year, what a bargain!

RB coach was Gran not Garza. Garza is the man who made our DBs so good.

steamboatticket#484773 writes:

Hey, has anybody heard from the Witch Doc? Maybe we should check the hospital...and the jailhouse...and the Mouse's Ear.

stayingorange writes:

in response to long_vol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Good question. He was a Vol long before he was hired so I hope he stays.

Titan_VOL79 writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

in response to 516milesfromUT:

For the future of Tennessee football
Under these difficult times
Coming together is critical
Kiffin boned us

Kiffin is gone now
In this dark hour Tennessee needs us
For all who bleed orange
For giving our all for Tennessee
It's inside of all us
Now and forever
!

I agree completely, but when i read it at first, I though you were trying to write a Haiku or something.

ARMY_VOL writes:

in response to asleep#212036:

Good, I've been claiming a Volunteer heritage since 1986! If you said no, I was going to have to sell a whole bunch of orange clothing. You know how hard it is to sell anything orange in Alabama?

Yikes, I'm really screwed. I grew up in Bluff City, Tn--A lifelong Tennessee fan. However, I had a scholarship to Mercer University in Macon, Ga, so that's my alma mater. There's actually a T-shirt in the Mercer U bookstore that says..."Mercer U football...undefeated since 1942." That was the last year Mercer had a football team. Cool history though...The University of Georgia player its first ever football game against Mercer in 1892. Ga Tech played its first ever game against Mercer the same year. Completely Irrelevant. Question: Can I still be a Tennessee fan? : )

joshvols writes:

Aaron Ausmus is an outstanding strength coach. i'm looking forward to seeing what kind of offensive coaches are coming. what about a bio on these two new coaches? age, experience, etc.? im excited to see what dooley and co. can come up with between now and signing day.

JohnnyVol writes:

I was born in Jefferson City. I lived in White Pine when I was young. My grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and dad live in Jefferson City, Knoxville (Halls), Dandridge, Strawberry Plains, and Morristown. My great granparents farmed land in Sevierville that is now a golf course.

I currently live in Middle Georgia, and never attended UT. However, I love the Vols. I was born and bred orange. Quite frankly...regardless of what anyone says...I am a Vol. I have defended the Vols deep in the heart of Bulldog country for many years. I am a Vol.

By the way...I feel pretty good about DD. We'll see how successful he will be.

Puffey writes:

Woody Widenhiefer for defensive coordinator. he'd come and it would be fun to see Woody Ball.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to radiomafia#577548:

Garza is the most impressive of all the assistants, Hardesty and BB are proof, and look at his success at Auburn with Cadillac and Brown. $100,000 a year, what a bargain!

Uh, no, that was Eddie Gran who was the RB coach. He was out the door even before Kiffin left. Garza is the defensive backfield coach. I think he did a pretty good job with that group, though. We still need an RB coach.

FatherVol writes:

in response to steamboatticket#484773:

Hey, has anybody heard from the Witch Doc? Maybe we should check the hospital...and the jailhouse...and the Mouse's Ear.

The Doctor is out of town for a few days and incommunicado.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to radiomafia#577548:

sorry Gran not Garza. Kiffin ran him off before leaving, now at FSU. Gran was the primary recruiter on four of last year's blue chips, and was a factor in landing Bryce Brown.

Sorry to pile on! Figured it was just a "slip of the keyboard". BTW, I don't know the whole story, but I REALLY hated to see Gran go for the reasons you mentioned.

And, FWIW, it is good for practically all of us to realize that, no matter how much we care, few of us indeed are in a position to EVER know all the dynamics involved in hiring and retaining coaches. That is all we NEED to know to show us that a little humility is called for in making statements on here about what OUGHT to happen or SHOULD have happened with coaches. We are of course entitled to our opinions, but you know what they say about opinions!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to ARMY_VOL:

Yikes, I'm really screwed. I grew up in Bluff City, Tn--A lifelong Tennessee fan. However, I had a scholarship to Mercer University in Macon, Ga, so that's my alma mater. There's actually a T-shirt in the Mercer U bookstore that says..."Mercer U football...undefeated since 1942." That was the last year Mercer had a football team. Cool history though...The University of Georgia player its first ever football game against Mercer in 1892. Ga Tech played its first ever game against Mercer the same year. Completely Irrelevant. Question: Can I still be a Tennessee fan? : )

Any fan of sufficient taste and discrimination to name HIMSELF a VOL fan is welcome in the Big Orange Nation!

britt writes:

in response to long_vol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Aaron Ausmus is a UT grad i believe. Dont worry about him. Hes all Vol

VolFaninDC writes:

in response to asleep#212036:

Man that stinks! I went to David Lipscomb and graduate school at UT - can't I be a Vol? I sure tell people I am! Go Vols!!!

Being a Vol is all about heart. My mother never went to college, but I can tell you she is as big a Vol as they come!

VolFaninDC writes:

in response to xxeman#277723:

Dooley got his BS and played at U of VA, his law degree at GA. I would think he considers UVA his alma mater. Most people don't realize it but Vince Dooley, his dad, played at & is an Auburn grad yet he carved his niche at GA. Our Dooley also seems to be on his own track so I would think he is likely to see UT as a destination. Plus his wife probably wants to develop & maintain her medical practice.
Not really concerned with him being a hopper. Just hope he delivers.

Agree 100%. Also, remember that Urban Meyer played for Cincinnati. That didn't in the least tempt him from leaving Florida for there, or crushing them in the Sugar Bowl for that matter. And Pat Dye was a UGA grad and that didn't stop him from trying to and beating them at Auburn. Lastly, the jerk that is head coach as South Cal now is a Fresno State grad, and he just attached himself to a program he considers good.

volschick22 writes:

in response to radiomafia#577548:

Garza is the most impressive of all the assistants, Hardesty and BB are proof, and look at his success at Auburn with Cadillac and Brown. $100,000 a year, what a bargain!

Aren't u thinking of Eddie Gran who has left for Florida State?

pikavol writes:

I drank the kool-aid... but I NEVER liked being called "USC East".

We Are Tennessee. We Are The Vol Navy. We Are The Big Orange. We Are Not A Pac 10 Wannabe..

Good Luck, Coach Dooley!

Hess Hall, b*tches!

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