Dooley, Variety collaborate to donate $220,000

University of Tennessee football coach Derek Dooley and his wife, Allison, present proceeds from the Big Orange Experience fundraisers to eight East Tennessee charities Friday, Sept. 23, 2011 at Neyland Stadium. The Dooleys teamed with Variety of Eastern Tennessee, The Children's Charity, to raise more than $220,000 through activities that included the Orange and White football game, an evening hosted by the Dooleys and a golf tournament and luncheon.

Photo by Patrick Murphy-Racey/UTADPHOTO

University of Tennessee football coach Derek Dooley and his wife, Allison, present proceeds from the Big Orange Experience fundraisers to eight East Tennessee charities Friday, Sept. 23, 2011 at Neyland Stadium. The Dooleys teamed with Variety of Eastern Tennessee, The Children's Charity, to raise more than $220,000 through activities that included the Orange and White football game, an evening hosted by the Dooleys and a golf tournament and luncheon.

Derek Dooley talks about his $220,000 donation to charity

When Derek Dooley was hired by Tennessee and signed a contract that would pay him close to $2 million annually, he immediately surveyed the landscape to see which local charities would benefit most from the money he was ready to give back.

The Tennessee football coach was promptly overwhelmed by his options.

"The hardest thing is everyone wants to use you to help them raise money for something," Dooley said. "It's so difficult to say no, but you have to because you can't go on everybody's crusade."

Dooley and his wife Allison eventually settled on Variety of Eastern Tennessee, and on Friday they collaborated to present a $220,000 donation to eight East Tennessee charities.

Play It Smart, Jason Witten's Score Foundation, two Boys & Girls Clubs (Smokey Mountains and Tennessee Valley), Imagination Library, In Full Motion, Cerebral Palsy Center and Camp Koinonia all will receive a slice of the donation, which spawned from multiple events during the Orange and White Game weekend in April.

"We spend a lot of energy on problems all over the world, but to me the best solutions, they always start on the grassroots level and that's local," Dooley said before a small group of sponsors, donors and UT administrators Friday at the West Club of Neyland Stadium.

"It's important to me that I don't go on a worldwide cause. I put all my energy on trying to help East Tennessee because that's our community."

While diverse in nature, all eight charities benefit one common group: children. That was by design, said Dooley, who considers himself to be a member of "the kids business."

"To me, there's no greater asset, no greater resource for our country than our young people," Dooley said. "All I do every day is try to motivate and teach and develop young people to be great citizens, to be good people and it's quite a challenge."

A charitable wing of Knoxville-based Regal Cinemas and Regal Entertainment Group, Variety's mission is "to help disadvantaged or disabled children," according to its official website. Since 2002, the organization has raised $2 million for children's charities in East Tennessee.

Working with the Dooleys, the group pooled funds from a number of sponsors and organized events that included a golf tournament and a cocktail party at the Dooleys' house.

"I just have to stand there and smile," Dooley said. "That's the easy part."

Andrew Gribble may be reached at 865-342-6327. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Andrew_Gribble and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/gribble

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Comments » 9

OrangeinCarolina2 writes:

Class act Coach Dooley. Glad to have you at the helm. Sowing seeds will ALWAYS reap a harvest. GO VOLS!

voloffaith writes:

Nice article showing that some of those that have don't hoard,but share with those in need.

TommyJack writes:

nice

thereturnoftriumph writes:

remember when UF coach Billy D helped Bruce Pearl with a cause. this gator salutes CDD
for his contributions.
nice to able to read something postive about college sports.

dvhill100 writes:

The charity raises 2 million over a 9 year period, then the Dooleys come in with 10% in one shot. Well done for a great cause. Way to support our most precious resource. Thanks coach.

give_him_6 writes:

Dooley is a coach we can truly be proud of. Thanks for all you do CDD!!!

usafvol writes:

in response to thereturnoftriumph:

remember when UF coach Billy D helped Bruce Pearl with a cause. this gator salutes CDD
for his contributions.
nice to able to read something postive about college sports.

Nice to get a compliment from a gator! Most gator's that come on this site are usually douche nozzles..

NOthgif writes:

WOW...Dooley keeps surprising me more and more! I have to admit that Dooley is headed in the right direction. Once his team and staff are fully onboard with what he is selling then Tennessee will be a force in the East and the rest of the country. However, I digress and will continue to Fight ON!

utken1942 writes:

Class Act, The Coach and his lovely wife are truely one of the best things for UT and East Tennessee. Go Vols

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