Lott finds way to 'dream job' with Vols

Former DB will help UT players grow off the field

Tennessee quarterback Casey Clausen, left, and defensive back Andre Lott leave the field following their 35-24 win over Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2001. With the win, Tennessee became the first team to win seven straight games over the Crimson Tide. By that season, the orange 'Power T' was back on the white pants, and the adidas and NCAA logos had taken spots on the shoulders.

Photo by Mark Humphrey, Associated Press

Tennessee quarterback Casey Clausen, left, and defensive back Andre Lott leave the field following their 35-24 win over Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2001. With the win, Tennessee became the first team to win seven straight games over the Crimson Tide. By that season, the orange "Power T" was back on the white pants, and the adidas and NCAA logos had taken spots on the shoulders.

Andre Lott already signed his autographs with his new title.

Now the former Tennessee defensive back can add Vol for Life to his business cards as well.

The latest addition to coach Derek Dooley's staff has spent the last few years trying to find his way back to his alma mater, but Lott was no longer sure on-the-field coaching was right for him. He found a niche doing it off the field, though, making him the ideal candidate for a reunion with UT this week as the coordinator of its new Character Education program - which ranked among Dooley's highest priorities in his reorganization of the Vols.

"When you think about it, this is one of the most important things to a program because it's real-life issues," Lott said. "You have to make the right decisions off the field. It's about helping you deal with issues as far as setting up interviews, how you interview, how you dress, all those different things. What was so good is that I was able to take advantage of the opportunities I had when I was there at UT, and I took advantage of every opportunity knowing that I wasn't going to play football forever.

"You know, we'd come back to UT as old players, old teammates, we'd put our names down as 'Vols for Life.' It's funny, it's the same thing I'm doing now."

Lott already considered himself a Vol for Life after his productive career wrapped up as a team captain in 2001, though that title is officially his thanks to Dooley's recently created program.

His position will be responsible for helping the Vols develop away from the game, and the focus will be on personal growth in terms of character, spirituality, life skills and future career. Lott has had experience dealing with all those issues in a similar position with the Hardin County, Tenn., school system, and he obviously knows firsthand how to apply them at UT.

"Just like me and Coach Dooley were talking about, I've been through everything they're trying to do," Lott said. "I've played at UT, I've played some good years in the NFL and I had a professional career after football, so I am the prime example because I was able to stay humble and force the issue of providing for a family once football was over.

"I've been doing this for the last three years and I kind of thought I wanted to get into coaching, and what happened was I honestly enjoyed my job more than playing football. Before I even applied for this job I was going to get out of football and really focus on what I was doing there because I really enjoyed it and I know a lot of these kids don't have the resources they need."

His new job will allow him to stay involved with both, and even better he'll get to do it back at UT.

Plus, that signature should be more accurate than ever.

"I'm kind of still in shock," Lott said. "I just can't believe it, and I'm looking forward to starting up. It's going to be exciting.

"This is my dream job. I can't wait to be on the sidelines and really just being involved with the football team again."

In some ways, Lott always was. But it's official again now.

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Comments » 26

mercuryvol writes:

Good hire.

gohawks1 writes:

Great choice for a great program.

BigBadVol writes:

I like coach Dooley more and more. Now, let's win some football games.

69vol08 writes:

Love what they are doing with this position! If the priorities are in order off the field...the on the field performance will come!

Welcome back Andre...Go Vols!

VFL!

TommyJack writes:

Good stuff.

RoadTrip writes:

Perfect man for the job. Welcome back to the Hill and thank you Andre.

Just like Andre, CDD has his dream job. If he develops a winning program he will be a Vol for Life. To this point I see nothing that indicates otherwise. All of his moves have been for the long term good of the program, athletes and fans.

V_O_L_S_GO_VOLS_GO writes:

I like it. It's great to see guys like him come back and help out. Love the idea of this position!

GBO!!!

imw8n4u writes:

What is the salary for this position? Is this really one of the 9 official FB coaches or a new position in the athletic department? Seems to me like this should be a shared resource for all men's athletic teams.

olozbal#646632 writes:

Hate to be a downer here - but is this a real coaching slot? Can he actually go recruit? Or is this one of those sneaky things teams do where they work for free?

I love the idea, but it also feels cheesy. Kind of like me hiring a guy and saying your title is "CEO in Charge of Morale". Then six months later you say "what does that guy do all day?" and fire him.

thevoice writes:

Probably one of Derek's best moves thus far.

Huttdawg100 writes:

Interesting article about our new recruiting direction under Coach Dooley:

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncaa/recrui...

AtLeastMyTeamHasPerfectSeasons writes:

Yep. This guy is a true Volunteer.

FWBVol writes:

From what I understand, this is more of a support staff position. Andre will serve as the "life coach" for the team and will not have an on-the-field position duties.

The story even describes the job as, "His position will be responsible for helping the Vols develop away from the game, and the focus will be on personal growth in terms of character, spirituality, life skills and future career."

Andre even said he was transitioning out of the on field coaching stuff.

I think this position is something that will encourage parents to send their sons to Tennessee and shows that, unlike the previous unnamed coach, Derek Dooley really cares about developing the total person rather than just a football player.

bearbull95#206250 writes:

in response to olozbal#646632:

Hate to be a downer here - but is this a real coaching slot? Can he actually go recruit? Or is this one of those sneaky things teams do where they work for free?

I love the idea, but it also feels cheesy. Kind of like me hiring a guy and saying your title is "CEO in Charge of Morale". Then six months later you say "what does that guy do all day?" and fire him.

You're not a downer. You just don't get it. Too often in this modern era of recruiting and winning at all costs it occurs that players put all their effort into life on the field, but are ill-prepared for life off of it. These kids are not racing greyhounds whose lives are meaningless after their racing days are over. College is about preparing kids to become productive contributing members of the community. In the case of a high-profile program like football, there's so much time put into on and off the field preparation that there is very little time for a player to integrate themselves fully into the college experience. When this happens, the individual athletes get into trouble - they are totally unprepared for the real world upon graduation, they don't graduate, they wind up getting into trouble with the law, and they become a financial drain on the same system that is trying to make them successful. Coach DD is going back and reinforcing the foundation and looking at the roots to some of the recurring problems that are common on all major college football campuses. If he changes the direction from the very first day a kid arrives on campus, that discipline will carry through on the practice field and on game day. Just because it sounds a little "touchy-feely" to you, don't discount it.

gnm53108 writes:

in response to BigBadVol:

I like coach Dooley more and more. Now, let's win some football games.

Agree.

Thanks Austin for another good article.

brokebackvol writes:

So far, seems Dooley is everything Lame Kitten was not, thanks be to God!

NeylandWest writes:

in response to olozbal#646632:

Hate to be a downer here - but is this a real coaching slot? Can he actually go recruit? Or is this one of those sneaky things teams do where they work for free?

I love the idea, but it also feels cheesy. Kind of like me hiring a guy and saying your title is "CEO in Charge of Morale". Then six months later you say "what does that guy do all day?" and fire him.

I don't feel like you're being a downer. It's a valid question. If anything, I would view it as having an extra tool that other teams don't have.

Everyone realizes that the NFL stands for "Not For Long", so hopefully this position can reach out to the right kids and families and get us up to the front of the recruiting line.

It's an innovative approach. I like it.

Now, let's see what happens in the next couple of years.

gemin555#214016 writes:

Congratulations on the new job Andre! While everyone seems to be wondering if this will be involved in recruiting, I'm thinking that maybe this is what the University has needed for several years. Some resource an athlete can go to for help if they feel the need to take a car ride at 2:30am with a gun to the nearby 7-11 or maybe go shopping for a sweater before a game but they don't have any money. This type of resource could have been helpful to have around years ago to give insight and advice to a person thats a big star on the field or on the court, they need to realize that they could do something off the field/court that can disrupt their lives (and dreams) in a split second.

Ayres_Hall writes:

Derek Dooley is doing everything right... so far. Bringing in Andre is a perfect fit for this program. In addition, Andre NEVER lost to Bama and beat Florida twice. Not many Volunteers can say that.

Fulton_Vol writes:

To me, this job will be one that serves the young men who choose to attend UT very well. Lott finished UT in 2001 and nine years later he is out of pro ball earning a real living in the every day world. His job is to prepare our players for life after UT football or the NFL if they make to that level. He will hopefully help them avoid the pitfalls that claim talented athletes like Richardson and Pacman Jones. They had the talent but their off the field character and actions were not good. Hopefully Mr. Lott can help more UT footballers to become class acts like himself, Peyton and many others. I am looking forward to seeing the return of suits on the Vol walk and young men who represent UT with dignity.

westknoxvol24 writes:

What a recruiting tool...go to a family and be able to tell them, i have a coach dedicated to keeping you child out of trouble... what a great selling point for UT

DRORANGELOVE writes:

in response to bearbull95#206250:

You're not a downer. You just don't get it. Too often in this modern era of recruiting and winning at all costs it occurs that players put all their effort into life on the field, but are ill-prepared for life off of it. These kids are not racing greyhounds whose lives are meaningless after their racing days are over. College is about preparing kids to become productive contributing members of the community. In the case of a high-profile program like football, there's so much time put into on and off the field preparation that there is very little time for a player to integrate themselves fully into the college experience. When this happens, the individual athletes get into trouble - they are totally unprepared for the real world upon graduation, they don't graduate, they wind up getting into trouble with the law, and they become a financial drain on the same system that is trying to make them successful. Coach DD is going back and reinforcing the foundation and looking at the roots to some of the recurring problems that are common on all major college football campuses. If he changes the direction from the very first day a kid arrives on campus, that discipline will carry through on the practice field and on game day. Just because it sounds a little "touchy-feely" to you, don't discount it.

Bearbull, you have expressed in words exactly what Coach Dooley is trying to accomplish for the young men who commit to the Vols. Prepare them to be successful fathers, husbands, and businessmen AFTER college and in other walks of life OTHER than football. GREAT idea and concept. I think it will pay huge dividends in the future for not only UT but also for all the young men who choose to play for the Vols.

KiwiLuvsUT writes:

"This is my dream job. I can't wait to be on the sidelines and really just being involved with the football team again."

He is going to be on the sidelines.
Will he be able to recruit?...Since he'll be on the sidelines with the other coaches...I sure hope so.

DennisVols writes:

This is not only the right hire for this position but the right position to create at UT. Too many times you read about former players who once where stars and now are out of options in life. Too many times UT fans have had to read about current players making the wrong decision off the field that lead to suspensions, or even dismissal from the team. It is that kind of publicity that has happened all too often the past 10 or so years and has lead to some of the drop in talent currently on this team.
In the end parents have a large influence on where their 4 and 5 star child goes to play. If you team spends more in the crime section of the news rather than the sports pages you can bet they try and sometimes successfully stir their child away to another high ranked university.
Character off the field will lead to character on it. The ability to make good decisions is a key element in becoming a champion not just in football but in life.
Keeping it Real
Go Vols!!!

RespectTradition writes:

I really wish we had hired this guy (Coach Dooley) last year. Coach seems to be making all the right calls so far. I am so pumped to have Mr. Lott back on campus.

Go Vols!

colt45 writes:

It seems to me that the VOL NATION is heading in the right direction, slowly but surely in the right direction. Thanks Andre and GOOOOOO VOLS.

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