As Derek Dooley fired, Tennessee amidst lost years

Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley watches play against Vanderbilt at Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012. Vanderbilt defeated Tennessee 41-18. (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess

Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley watches play against Vanderbilt at Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012. Vanderbilt defeated Tennessee 41-18. (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)

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MURFREESBORO — It had become apparent that it was a matter of when and not if that Derek Dooley would be fired as head football coach at the University of Tennessee.

That when finally came Sunday.

On the heels of the Volunteers getting embarrassed Saturday night by host Vanderbilt to the convincing sound for Vandy and demoralizing tune to UT of 41-18, it was time for the Dooley three-year experiment to come to a merciful end.

Sure, he inherited a mess. But Dooley only contributed to it.

Whether you agree with the decision of five years ago, the premature jettisoning of favorite son Phillip Fulmer as head coach before the season was complete was totally botched by then-athletic director Mike Hamilton. And then came Lane Kiffin as head coach for one season before he strolled off for the bright lights of the top coaching position at Southern Cal.

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Comments » 30

cyclonevol87 writes:

All I can say is thank the Lord Hamilton is not leading the search for our next head coach.

calvolfromkingsport writes:

Get ready for more lost years. The vocal dissenters on Fulmer are getting exactly what they deserve. I thought only Auburn fans believed the grass is always greener. Guess the last 5 years proves the Volnation is rowing in the same boat.

chuckfromwoodberry writes:

in response to calvolfromkingsport:

Get ready for more lost years. The vocal dissenters on Fulmer are getting exactly what they deserve. I thought only Auburn fans believed the grass is always greener. Guess the last 5 years proves the Volnation is rowing in the same boat.

Fulmer had become lazy and arrogant, his wife running press conferences and multiple family members on the sidelines. He admitted he "lost the fire" around 2003. So I'll tell you what I was told for 16 years. He's gone, get over it, he's not coming back. I'm looking to the future, apparently some are living in the past. You are in the same boat as all the bammer fans that wanted to raise the Bear up during the shula debacle. We are now where bama was then, we can pay the money necessary to get a coach who can turn this around or we can go cheap and reap what we sow.

chuckfromwoodberry writes:

KNS, its bad enough that you allow that shill climer on this site but do you feel the need to lower yourself to the level of allowing pogue on here as well. I'm sure you could find a bright 3rd grader somewhere that could be as articulate and would provide deeper insight.

calvolfromkingsport writes:

in response to chuckfromwoodberry:

Fulmer had become lazy and arrogant, his wife running press conferences and multiple family members on the sidelines. He admitted he "lost the fire" around 2003. So I'll tell you what I was told for 16 years. He's gone, get over it, he's not coming back. I'm looking to the future, apparently some are living in the past. You are in the same boat as all the bammer fans that wanted to raise the Bear up during the shula debacle. We are now where bama was then, we can pay the money necessary to get a coach who can turn this around or we can go cheap and reap what we sow.

Oh yeah, I know, the next guy will be too arrogant and lazy, or allow his wife to run things on the sideline too. You get it over pal, and continue your suffering because no doubt, "just like bammer",your pain will continue. So file that, especially in a couple of years when UT prepares to hire and fire another coach. BTW, 5 to 9 million doesn't sound so cheap to me, especially for a hire in January by Dickey disciple Hamilton.

chuckfromwoodberry writes:

in response to calvolfromkingsport:

Oh yeah, I know, the next guy will be too arrogant and lazy, or allow his wife to run things on the sideline too. You get it over pal, and continue your suffering because no doubt, "just like bammer",your pain will continue. So file that, especially in a couple of years when UT prepares to hire and fire another coach. BTW, 5 to 9 million doesn't sound so cheap to me, especially for a hire in January by Dickey disciple Hamilton.

Thank you Vicky. Run along now, it's time for phil's 1 o'clock feeding.

RememberWhen writes:

in response to calvolfromkingsport:

Oh yeah, I know, the next guy will be too arrogant and lazy, or allow his wife to run things on the sideline too. You get it over pal, and continue your suffering because no doubt, "just like bammer",your pain will continue. So file that, especially in a couple of years when UT prepares to hire and fire another coach. BTW, 5 to 9 million doesn't sound so cheap to me, especially for a hire in January by Dickey disciple Hamilton.

hey dude...tell your cousin Phil hello for me! Now stop posting ignorant B.S. of which you have no real knowledge. Your cuz was finished. His last couple recruiting classes had fallen WAY off the cliff, the record on the field was poor, and the discipline had gotten out of control. Yes, he did a whole lot for TN for a long time but when the lake runs dry the fishin' is over. Hart has no choice but to make an impact hire and that is exactly what's about to happen. TN won't be vying for the SEC title next year but I do believe a road of marked improvement and a rapid rise to contender status is imminent. With the right guy it doesn't take 5, 6, 7 years...this team can be right back battling at the top in 2 or 3 years with practically ANY of the names being bandied about.

Geofffourmyle writes:

in response to chuckfromwoodberry:

Fulmer had become lazy and arrogant, his wife running press conferences and multiple family members on the sidelines. He admitted he "lost the fire" around 2003. So I'll tell you what I was told for 16 years. He's gone, get over it, he's not coming back. I'm looking to the future, apparently some are living in the past. You are in the same boat as all the bammer fans that wanted to raise the Bear up during the shula debacle. We are now where bama was then, we can pay the money necessary to get a coach who can turn this around or we can go cheap and reap what we sow.

Well, Crabby Appleton, you got what you wanted, Fulmer was fired.

Happy now?

In Coach Fulmer's last five years he won 10 games twice and 9 games once.

Right about now that sounds pretty good.

Walt

UT '81

screenthis writes:

Moving to the next era beyond Fulmer was necessary. We were settling in to a nice mediocrity. Unfortunately, the handling of the 'post-Fulmer' years was horribly mismanaged. And of course, Kiffen plays a central role in sending the Vols reeling. There was a strong opportunity to turn the team over to a strong coach based on the great history Fulmer built. Hamilton et al blew it. Now, lets hope the powers that be are able to make the 'right choice' this time around. I don't wan't to join Vandy and the Wildcats in the basement of the SEC for too long.

Geofffourmyle writes:

From the article:

"The hard part of this for most Vols fans and casual observers with no dog in the hunt is that Dooley is a really good guy and a class act. Guess the acorn didn’t fall far from the tree in that regard for the son of legendary former Georgia football coach and athletic director Vince Dooley."

I would be glad to hear otherwise, but I haven't seen any evidence that Dooley was a good guy or a class act.

Walt

UT '81

bigdisbig writes:

Its a shame that Dooley could not bring success to the Vol program. He seemed to be a quality guy but his coaching techniques were weak and became very evident at the Ky. game last year. Wilcox left for a reason and it wasn't because he just wanted to get back to the west coast. He could see the writing on the wall for Dooley was lost as a coach. He hit the big time and received big money.....more than he deserved actually. I would venture to say that anyone who knows football could have done just as good as Dooley. This year's team should have won 7 or 8 games and would have with a better coach. He got what he deserved in the end for he just did not produce.
I feel confident that the next hire will do much better in a few years. IF Gruden were to come to Tennessee he would be a Kiffin. He would do great recruiting here and produce wins in a couple of years. However, the first NFL job that came open that he liked and knew he could win....he would bolt too. We need a proven coach who wants to stay here and build a successful program that would compete for years to come. I will support whoever they hire unless they hire another loser. Kirby Smart is not the answer and I hope Hart will NOT consider him. We need someone such as Charlie Strong or a proven coach who wants to coach the Volunteers, not someone who wants to use it as a stepping stone to another job.

arkyvol writes:

lost years? probably. closest similarity i can recall are the years LSU wandered in the wilderness after they fired mcclendon (mid-70s/majors style mediocrity) until they hired saban. they went through a good half dozen coaches while the program, except for an occasional gurgle, was comatose.

gbrown2 writes:

It's very difficult to watch our team have all these losing seasons. We are WINNERS and have always been a force to be reckoned with in the SEC and elsewhere....I hope the right choice is made for our future coach...

voodoo101 writes:

in response to chuckfromwoodberry:

KNS, its bad enough that you allow that shill climer on this site but do you feel the need to lower yourself to the level of allowing pogue on here as well. I'm sure you could find a bright 3rd grader somewhere that could be as articulate and would provide deeper insight.

Well they have columns to fill, and the last they saw of Adams he was roaring drunk and proclaiming "My job is done here!"

spacehistorian writes:

All great college programs go through a losing phase where they wander in the wilderness until the right leader comes along to return them to the promised land. Look how Alabama fared after Gene Stallings left until they hired Nick Saban. We are just unfortunate to be going through this dark period thanks to some poor choices by former AD Hamilton. The foundation for having a winning program is still in place. With the right coach the program should have a winning record next year and return to battling for the SEC East in 2 to 3 years. If Hart compounds the errors made by Hamilton by hiring the wrong coach we may be stuck in the wilderness for the rest of the decade. I have a feeling Hart will do a good job and hire a good coach. The alternative is too depressing to contemplate.

gadzooks writes:

Johnny Majors' record first 4 seasons:
21-23
just sayin'

VolGrad writes:

in response to calvolfromkingsport:

Get ready for more lost years. The vocal dissenters on Fulmer are getting exactly what they deserve. I thought only Auburn fans believed the grass is always greener. Guess the last 5 years proves the Volnation is rowing in the same boat.

I will not subscribe to your prognosis. Your lack of objectivity is obvious. Coach Phillip Fulmer was the one who re-introduced us to the 5 win season in 2005 after we were picked to win the SEC, no less. Without Coach Cutcliffe he had a 67% winning percentage and won the SEC East twice, losing the SEC championship games to LSU and Auburn in those years.

I, for one, still consider CPF as one of the better coaches of UT History. But it was his pairing with OC David Cutcliffe that impacted his success more than any one other coach. Chavis was with him the whole time, but Coach Cutcliffe's tenure with the Vols yielded an 82% winning percentage. CPF's inability to effectively replace Coach Cut was his downfall.

I don't like the way it all went down for CPF. But you can't just blame the "vocal dissenters" of Fulmer for that. He and David set the bar high between '92 and '98 winning 85% of their games, 2 SEC championships and 1 National Championship. Then winning just 66% after that (w/o Cutcliffe), he set himself up well enough.

Fans will always be fans. But if you insist on blaming someone, look no further than the AD office. They are the ones who ultimately make the decisions.

chuckfromwoodberry writes:

in response to Geofffourmyle:

Well, Crabby Appleton, you got what you wanted, Fulmer was fired.

Happy now?

In Coach Fulmer's last five years he won 10 games twice and 9 games once.

Right about now that sounds pretty good.

Walt

UT '81

It must be difficult for fulmer to put on his pants in the morning with you there kissing his .............. Enough out of you Vicky. Don't you have some sports writers to berate?

chuckfromwoodberry writes:

in response to voodoo101:

Well they have columns to fill, and the last they saw of Adams he was roaring drunk and proclaiming "My job is done here!"

+1 LOL!

alraguc#466367 writes:

Everyone comments that Dooley is a good guy, a quality guy. Really? He leaves his seniors "high and dry" for the game against Kentucky as he chose not to be on the sidelines this coming Saturday. That game is Senior Day, where seniors are honored and the coach is there to congratulate them on their career. Dooley chose not to be on the sidelines Saturday for those important event. That tells you all you need to know about Derek Dooley.

Pompey writes:

....I am not sure that even my children will live to see the end of the Fulmer whine...!

chuckfromwoodberry writes:

in response to alraguc#466367:

Everyone comments that Dooley is a good guy, a quality guy. Really? He leaves his seniors "high and dry" for the game against Kentucky as he chose not to be on the sidelines this coming Saturday. That game is Senior Day, where seniors are honored and the coach is there to congratulate them on their career. Dooley chose not to be on the sidelines Saturday for those important event. That tells you all you need to know about Derek Dooley.

Never thought about it like that. You are 100% correct.

atlvol81 writes:

Like I told you people the last three games would tell the story,well story has been told.The truth about the real coach Dooley will come sooner than later.The buyout was worked out,before we even knew.Those of you say TENNESSEE FOOTBALL,wont be back,it is just a matter of time.Hart will make a very good hire with the next head coach

VolunteerLifer writes:

All of this happened because Hamilton hired Kiffin. It's that simple. Kiffin did not have the character to finish what he started, and did not care that he left us desperate for a hire at a horrible time to try to hire a coach. No one wanted the job under those circumstances except an unproven coach who had yet to have success even in his backwater job. He was hired, was in over his head, and failed. It wasn't his fault that he couldn't do the job. He was offered, and he accepted, and both sides hoped it would work somehow. It didn't.

Look at it this way: If Kiffin hadn't left, we would have probably gotten the ncaa death penalty by now, so we're probably better off than if he had stayed.

The Kiffin hire was what got us here in this mess. Dooley did his best, he just didn't have the right stuff.

snuffysmiff writes:

in response to alraguc#466367:

Everyone comments that Dooley is a good guy, a quality guy. Really? He leaves his seniors "high and dry" for the game against Kentucky as he chose not to be on the sidelines this coming Saturday. That game is Senior Day, where seniors are honored and the coach is there to congratulate them on their career. Dooley chose not to be on the sidelines Saturday for those important event. That tells you all you need to know about Derek Dooley.

Got a little inside information this afternoon saying that Dooley is not well liked by his players anyway. Maybe they'd be happy if he didn't show up for Senior Day.

yabadabadoo1026 writes:

in response to snuffysmiff:

Got a little inside information this afternoon saying that Dooley is not well liked by his players anyway. Maybe they'd be happy if he didn't show up for Senior Day.

pretty low class of you to try to disparage a man with second hand information that hardly reliable or substantiated or without someones axe to grind

snuffysmiff writes:

in response to yabadabadoo1026:

pretty low class of you to try to disparage a man with second hand information that hardly reliable or substantiated or without someones axe to grind

Whatever you say dude. You don't know who I am just as I don't know you, but this came from a reliable source.

calvolfromkingsport writes:

in response to RememberWhen:

hey dude...tell your cousin Phil hello for me! Now stop posting ignorant B.S. of which you have no real knowledge. Your cuz was finished. His last couple recruiting classes had fallen WAY off the cliff, the record on the field was poor, and the discipline had gotten out of control. Yes, he did a whole lot for TN for a long time but when the lake runs dry the fishin' is over. Hart has no choice but to make an impact hire and that is exactly what's about to happen. TN won't be vying for the SEC title next year but I do believe a road of marked improvement and a rapid rise to contender status is imminent. With the right guy it doesn't take 5, 6, 7 years...this team can be right back battling at the top in 2 or 3 years with practically ANY of the names being bandied about.

Hey boy, I'll run along when you and woodberry "cuz " pay the bill. However, I'm sure that won't happen. You guys sound a little bit like what's been happening in DC lately...always SPENDING SOMEONE ELSE's MONEY until it comes time to pay the bill! I sure would like a little piece of that 104,000 a month ol DD is getting. I didn't realize things were so good in E TN to ladle out that kind of gravy.

snuffysmiff writes:

in response to yabadabadoo1026:

pretty low class of you to try to disparage a man with second hand information that hardly reliable or substantiated or without someones axe to grind

And how is your comment any better than mine in the disparaging department.

123forVOLS writes:

Why can't people stop being so stupid and focus on trying to positive wave UT into a better head coach? All this continued back and forth drivel about Fulmer is beyond embarrassing. It sounds like a bunch of arguing little girls. Leave it up to the ones who are in charge to hire the coach and try yes try to stop living in the past. The Dooley era has ended and so has the Fulmer one. A new beginning is just around the corner.

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