Former Vols react to Derek Dooley's firing

Dooleyisms: Memorable sayings from former UT head coach Derek Dooley

Raw video: Dave Hart press conference on Dooley's firing

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The outcry reached its fever pitch Saturday night.

As the Tennessee football team took a 41-18 beatdown by Vanderbilt — running the Vols' SEC record to 0-7 this season and 4-19 in coach Derek Dooley's three-season term — former Tennessee players took to social media to vent.

Former Tennessee wide receiver Joey Kent tweeted Saturday: "I'm embarrassed. #Vols"

Former Vols defensive lineman Robert Ayers tweeted: "Did Dooley really bench (quarterback Tyler) Bray? Smh (shaking my head) Somebody please fire this dude. Enough is enough."

He got his wish Sunday.

Tennessee (4-7) announced the firing of Dooley, who wound up with a 15-21 record.

More former players shared their feelings when contacted by the News Sentinel on Sunday.

Dennis Rogan, a 2007 Fulton High School graduate who played defensive back 2007-09, said watching Tennessee cycle downward the past few years has been "very frustrating."

"Having played there, you want to see them do good," he said. "But I've been waiting for this day to come for a while. I could see it coming.

"I'm glad this happened. We can turn this page and try to get back right."

Former Austin-East star Anthony Anderson played for Phillip Fulmer, for Lane Kiffin and for Dooley. He echoed Rogan's comment.

"Honestly, after I lost my first coach, I never had a close relationship with any other coach for the fact that they were coming and going. I appreciate all the coaches I've had," said Anderson, "but it's been a rough three, four or five years, however long (Dooley has) been there.

"I had to turn the TV off for a minute yesterday, because I could not believe how bad we were looking in the second half. It was embarrassing to see what was going on last night."

Nick Reveiz, a former linebacker and Farragut graduate, played for the same Tennessee staffs as Anderson.

When Reveiz left Tennessee after Dooley's first season, he felt the program was in good hands. Tennessee closed with four consecutive wins to reach a bowl game, and Reveiz — in less than a year's time — had developed a nice player-coach relationship with Dooley.

"He treated me well," said Reveiz. "I remember leaving Coach Dooley's office after my senior exit, an interview/meeting, and I went up there to talk to him. I felt like they were going to keep progressing in a good direction. So it was surprising to see a 5-7 season last year, and who knows how it will finish this year?

"It's just a hard time for Tennessee. It's not fun for Coach Dooley and his family. It's not fun for the fan base. It's not fun for the players."

Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney will be the interim coach for Saturday's season finale against visiting Kentucky (2-9, 0-7 SEC).

But whomever Tennessee hires as Dooley's successor, former Vol defensive end Todd Kelly (1989-92) hopes the coach can restore the tradition.

"When you look at Dooley, when he came to Tennessee, he walked into a mess. Tennessee was already at the crossroads as a program. He stabilized the program, but it all came down to the wins and losses. I like Dooley as a person. I thought he was a good coach. However, it's just one of those things that when you walk into a mess, it's going to be hard to fix.

"And whoever comes in next, they got their work cut out.

"We need to get that swagger back. That's what's missing: the tradition. The 'T' on the helmet, what does it mean now? Is it still the Power 'T'?"

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Comments » 12

wildmed writes:

There may have been supporters among the former Vols but they haven't spoken up for Dooley, leaving me to believe like the rest of the fan base, we are ready for a change. A proven coach will work wonders for this program. I think Tennessee is an attractive job for what we have to offer, not necessarily for what we have accomplished in the recent past. Facilities are tops, fan base is starving and rabid, support from the administration is there, we just need the right CEO to pull all the intangibles together. GBO!!

SEAL_9821 writes:

These sports writers and columnist are killing me with Tennessee football program is a mess and is gonna be hard to fix. That is nonsense. Get someone who can coach a team and win some games!!!!! THAT'S IT PEOPLE. Nothing needs to be fixed here. We have everything in place to be back at the top where we once was. The problem has been bad coaching which is what got us in the mess in the first place and a good coach will get us out of it. Was and is Ohio st still in a mess? What did they do? They hired a good coach and now are 11-0 and the penalties are only a distant memory while they will compete for the BCS once again next yr. Coaching is everything!

WhitePineVol77 writes:

Seal 9821 is right. BTW, not Cutcliffe, please.

woodwr#217203 writes:

Dooley was doomed by the loss of Wilcox, and his or Dave Hart's choice of Sunseri.

Wouldn't you like to know that discussion of Wilcox deciding to leave last November, and Dooley calling possible replacements?

There is frightening irony with Coach Fulmer winning 2007 SEC-EAST, but choosing Dave Clawson, instead of any other offensive coordinator, for 2008.

The head coach might recruit a few players, but the Head Coach's job is to build, hold and develop a staff.

It took Johnny Majors 1977-79 to get Bowl eligible, and 1980 & 81 teams were BAD. It was hard for the guy who assembled that national championship staff at Pittsburgh, to collect the right assistant coaches for the 1985-2008 era.

Building a Coaching Staff to pass up the five currently solid teams of SEC-EAST won't be quick, easy, or cheap.

cloudodust writes:

in response to woodwr#217203:

Dooley was doomed by the loss of Wilcox, and his or Dave Hart's choice of Sunseri.

Wouldn't you like to know that discussion of Wilcox deciding to leave last November, and Dooley calling possible replacements?

There is frightening irony with Coach Fulmer winning 2007 SEC-EAST, but choosing Dave Clawson, instead of any other offensive coordinator, for 2008.

The head coach might recruit a few players, but the Head Coach's job is to build, hold and develop a staff.

It took Johnny Majors 1977-79 to get Bowl eligible, and 1980 & 81 teams were BAD. It was hard for the guy who assembled that national championship staff at Pittsburgh, to collect the right assistant coaches for the 1985-2008 era.

Building a Coaching Staff to pass up the five currently solid teams of SEC-EAST won't be quick, easy, or cheap.

Clawson was a last ditch effort offensively...Hammy was, in major part, responsible for that fiasco. Moving along...

ACWLY writes:

Being a true fan for 60 years I can honestly say I was a Dooley fan UNTIL last years Kentucky game. Up to that point I had NEVER seen a Tennessee player or coach ever QUIT during a game but Dooley quit Tennessee that day and the players followed their coaches lead, I HATE QUITTERS and lost a lot of respect for Dooley that day, never got it back. Sorta liked Dooley but he wasn't the coach for us and had to go!

frblalack writes:

Dooley didn't quit; Tyler Bray quit. Get your facts straight. I hope Bray never sees the field again in a Tennessee uniform! How many of you idiotic posters think Bray would have made the tackle after the Vandy interception. Dooley's lack of success should be pointed squarely at the players who wouldn't lay it all on the line. Numero Uno is our beer-bottle thrower "Slash", he folded in EVERY important SEC game!

Hope Hart hires someone with one-tenth the integrity of Derek Dooley; he deserved better!

Vol for Life

Bark_at_the_Moon writes:

Dooley's results were nightmarish and its all about the W at this level.

brod writes:

in response to woodwr#217203:

Dooley was doomed by the loss of Wilcox, and his or Dave Hart's choice of Sunseri.

Wouldn't you like to know that discussion of Wilcox deciding to leave last November, and Dooley calling possible replacements?

There is frightening irony with Coach Fulmer winning 2007 SEC-EAST, but choosing Dave Clawson, instead of any other offensive coordinator, for 2008.

The head coach might recruit a few players, but the Head Coach's job is to build, hold and develop a staff.

It took Johnny Majors 1977-79 to get Bowl eligible, and 1980 & 81 teams were BAD. It was hard for the guy who assembled that national championship staff at Pittsburgh, to collect the right assistant coaches for the 1985-2008 era.

Building a Coaching Staff to pass up the five currently solid teams of SEC-EAST won't be quick, easy, or cheap.

82 team wasn't that good either. it wasn't until 83 that they showed they could compete nationally. reggie white emerged big time in 83.

traderjoe writes:

Fire Hart! Players confirm what many on this board have been saying for 3 years, Dooley was not ready to coach in the SEC. If arm chair quarterbacks and former players could see this, then Dooley's boss should have been able to see this. Hart gets $750,000.00 a year to make tough decisions and he let this one slide way too long. Dooley is going to cost us another $5 million (just unbelievable!!!) so lets make it up by firing Hart and hiring a new AD for $300 or $350,000.00 a year. Don't tell me you can't get someone to do the job for this, that's still a heck of a lot of money. Give the job to Phil...I'm sure he would know who to hire and fire. If we save $400,000.00 a year by doing this, then in 12 years we'll cover the cost of Dooley's exit.

SilatGamecock writes:

If Dooley didn't win at La La why was he expected to win at UT. I would think he was just a stop gap to get the program cleaned up except they gave him the 5 mil contract.
Maybe no one else wanted the job after Lame - who UT loved until he headed back west.

shipperman#280095 writes:

in response to traderjoe:

Fire Hart! Players confirm what many on this board have been saying for 3 years, Dooley was not ready to coach in the SEC. If arm chair quarterbacks and former players could see this, then Dooley's boss should have been able to see this. Hart gets $750,000.00 a year to make tough decisions and he let this one slide way too long. Dooley is going to cost us another $5 million (just unbelievable!!!) so lets make it up by firing Hart and hiring a new AD for $300 or $350,000.00 a year. Don't tell me you can't get someone to do the job for this, that's still a heck of a lot of money. Give the job to Phil...I'm sure he would know who to hire and fire. If we save $400,000.00 a year by doing this, then in 12 years we'll cover the cost of Dooley's exit.

Yeah, Phil hired Clawson, that was an awesome hire wasn't it? Bout as good as Sunseri

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