UT coach Derek Dooley undergoes hip surgery, will coach from press box Saturday

Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley, right, talks with Georgia State head coach Bill Curry during their  NCAA college football game on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley, right, talks with Georgia State head coach Bill Curry during their NCAA college football game on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

Tennessee players don't fear the cowbell

Tennessee coach Derek Dooley underwent surgery on his fractured right hip Tuesday, but will direct the Vols from the coaches booth in the press box during Saturday's game at Mississippi State.

Dooley will miss today's practice and could miss Thursday's as well, the university said. He hopes to return to normal coaching duties next week if the move is approved by his doctors.

The surgery comes as Dooley approaches one of the biggest games of his tenure. The Vols (3-2, 0-2 SEC) play at No. 19 Mississippi State (5-0, 2-0) on Saturday (TV: ESPN2, 9 p.m.)

Dooley first revealed the hip injury at practice earlier Tuesday, but the pain had been bothering him for several months. An MRI last Friday revealed a fracture that required immediate surgery, Tennessee officials said.

The surgery was conducted after Tuesday's practice by Dr. Russell Betcher and Dr. Greg Mathien of the Knoxville Orthopedic Clinic at the UT Medical Center.

Tennessee hasn't announced who will direct the team in Dooley's absence or who will be the on-field point man. No staff member currently has the title of assistant or associate head coach.

Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney and safeties coach Josh Conklin work from the box and will likely remain there.

For an offensive perspective, receivers coach Darin Hinshaw, who coached the quarterbacks in 2010 and 2011, might be one option.

Offensive line coach Sam Pittman was associate head coach at North Carolina before joining Dooley's staff this season, while defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri was assistant head coach at Alabama under Nick Saban.

The most relevant experience likely belongs to defensive line coach John Palermo, a longtime assistant head coach at Wisconsin. In 1999, when Wisconsin coach Barry Alavarez was forced into the box after knee surgery, Palermo guided the team on the field for eight games.

Dooley walked gingerly during Tuesday's practice, but gave no indication of the seriousness of his injury. He told reporters he had only "a little hip issue."

"I'm working and nothing has changed," Dooley said after practice. "I wasn't moving like I normally do."

The last Tennessee coach to guide the team from the press box was Johnny Majors, who returned from a three-game absence after preseason heart surgery to lead the Vols to a victory over Cincinnati on Sept. 26, 1992.

Injuries have pushed other coaches off the sidelines in the past. Last year, New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton tore his MCL and broke his leg, forcing him to coach some games from upstairs. Former Penn State coach Joe Paterno's ill health sometimes forced him to coach from the box.

Tennessee plays No. 1 Alabama on Oct. 20 in Knoxville. Dooley hopes to return to the field for that game.

The Vols are in the midst of their toughest stretch of the season with their next three games coming against teams currently ranked in the top 20 and two ranked in the top 5. Dooley hasn't beaten a ranked team during his time at Tennessee.

Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him at www.Twitter.com/TennesseeBeat.

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Comments » 113

pratt71 writes:

Get well soon CDD. I wish you a speedy recovery.

exlineman writes:

Coach Dooley, wish you a speedy sucessful recovery and real fans support you and realize success in rebuilding takes time and patience. Look forward to the day when you have us back on top and a lot of crow has to be ate around here.

jobrando#216494 writes:

Folks is this true or is this a self defense move in case VOLS crash? Kind of young for this type of surgery all of a sudden. WOW

orange_glory writes:

get well coach

ooltewahorange writes:

Could he had picked a worse time to do this. Want the guy to be healthy and all but you can't loose this one. He does have a little fire in him from time to time on sidelines.
Lets pray for a healthy CDD and a win Sat night!

JonGrudensAgent writes:

Dang, I thought this was a minor thing based on earlier reports.. Nothing to joke about here other than to hope for a successful and speedy recovery.

spvol writes:

Get well Coach!

rusty_shackleford writes:

Best wishes for a quick recovery, Coach!

VolzsFan writes:

He and UT football are still under the Firing of the Hall of Famer's curse.

pcorange writes:

My goodness. I thought he just had a little hitch in his get-along this morning. Prayers for a speedy recovery, Coach.

pcshowtime writes:

Coach I give you a hard time. However, nothing but best wishes for your speedy recovery get well soon.

volsindallas writes:

in response to jobrando#216494:

Folks is this true or is this a self defense move in case VOLS crash? Kind of young for this type of surgery all of a sudden. WOW

Learn to read he fractured his hip...not hip replacement...hip surgery. Where did you go to school Florida?

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to VolzsFan:

He and UT football are still under the Firing of the Hall of Famer's curse.

Witch Doctor say with all the freaky "breaks" the last couple seasons Witch Doctor suspect the curse of the "Gerald Jones Bones"(breaks for no reason or contact??) may be in play (??) lol
Bones never lie.

VolinCalif writes:

in response to jobrando#216494:

Folks is this true or is this a self defense move in case VOLS crash? Kind of young for this type of surgery all of a sudden. WOW

Although elderly have more fractures in their hips than young folks the fractures are not limited with age. I wish DD the very best in both the fracture and on the field.
If he thinks he is having trouble calling a game, I would think he would have the Dr's move around a little and straighten his B.. out. Just kidding.

vq4nfo writes:

Painful injury. Paterno coached from the booth and did just fine. Best of luck CDD

CrankE writes:

Best wishes for a speedy recovery coach.

So . . . does this mean he'll be "artificial hip"?

volfaninbuckeyeland writes:

in response to pcshowtime:

Coach I give you a hard time. However, nothing but best wishes for your speedy recovery get well soon.

Hey, pc, classy post, and I join with you and others in wishing DD a full and speedy recovery. But on topic and without sarcasm, to what degree is a head coach's effectiveness impacted when he has to coach from the pressbox? I know that Paterno was forced into that situation when his leg was broken and seemed to perform adequately, but who will be the one on the sidelines to step up and simultaneously challenge and commend these players? I realize that the situation is not quite the same as when Fulmer filled in for Majors since DD will be present, but it will nevertheless be interesting to see how the Vols answer the bell with the coach absent from the sidelines.

CrankE writes:

in response to jobrando#216494:

Folks is this true or is this a self defense move in case VOLS crash? Kind of young for this type of surgery all of a sudden. WOW

Why . . . the last time something like this happened at UT was in 1992 with Johnny "Orange Pants" Majors himself.

Amazing how fast he got over that ultra-mega-giga-open-heart bypass surgery when the team was suddenly 3-0!

Say, wasn't there a coaching change that year or something?

BigOrangeFever76 (Inactive) writes:

Get well soon CDD. Who knows, maybe the view from the press box will be the "ticket" to kicking the **** out of Miss State and silencing those dang cowbells.

Vols 34
State 20

clvolfan writes:

in response to jobrando#216494:

Folks is this true or is this a self defense move in case VOLS crash? Kind of young for this type of surgery all of a sudden. WOW

Gosh,I did not know that fractures were a respector of age.Maybe it happened when he caught that Tyler Bray pass a few games back.

roloyo writes:

in response to exlineman:

Coach Dooley, wish you a speedy sucessful recovery and real fans support you and realize success in rebuilding takes time and patience. Look forward to the day when you have us back on top and a lot of crow has to be ate around here.

a lot of crow has to be ate around here?? An English Major from Florider no doubt

exlineman writes:

I'm beginning to beleive some of these trolls are none other than Fulmer and his family, which would account for 5or 6 trolls . The other few that can't let it lie make up about 3-4 other trolls with an ax to grind over the great one that noone wants to hire. Somehow these other schools must have picked upon his record of beating up on the uks and vanderbilts every year, but couldn't beat the Alabamas, Floridas, Lsu's and big bowl games. He needs to draw the rest of his fortune and let Tn. run their program their way and he can hit the highway.

BigOrangeFever76 (Inactive) writes:

in response to collegegrovebilly:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

OK...who is this? What have you done with toddyboy? Yes we all hate his guts here, and will not pay a ransom, but you need to let him go and stop hijacking his new screen name.

ULTIMATEVOLUNTEER writes:

in response to pcshowtime:

Coach I give you a hard time. However, nothing but best wishes for your speedy recovery get well soon.

I doubt very seriously that he reads your posts or any posts on this site.

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

in response to volfaninbuckeyeland:

Hey, pc, classy post, and I join with you and others in wishing DD a full and speedy recovery. But on topic and without sarcasm, to what degree is a head coach's effectiveness impacted when he has to coach from the pressbox? I know that Paterno was forced into that situation when his leg was broken and seemed to perform adequately, but who will be the one on the sidelines to step up and simultaneously challenge and commend these players? I realize that the situation is not quite the same as when Fulmer filled in for Majors since DD will be present, but it will nevertheless be interesting to see how the Vols answer the bell with the coach absent from the sidelines.

I would think the position coaches would be doing most of that stuff on the sideline, just like they always should be. The coordinators will be the ones busy getting the plays in. Just my guess.

dvols writes:

so what coach will be on the sideline....to challenge calls...etc..

Jay Graham, Jim Bob Cooter??/

chuckfromwoodberry writes:

in response to VolzsFan:

He and UT football are still under the Firing of the Hall of Famer's curse.

Coach Majors forgives the fat guy that stabbed him in the back.

NGage writes:

Thank you. A full article. ;)

pcorange writes:

in response to volfaninbuckeyeland:

Hey, pc, classy post, and I join with you and others in wishing DD a full and speedy recovery. But on topic and without sarcasm, to what degree is a head coach's effectiveness impacted when he has to coach from the pressbox? I know that Paterno was forced into that situation when his leg was broken and seemed to perform adequately, but who will be the one on the sidelines to step up and simultaneously challenge and commend these players? I realize that the situation is not quite the same as when Fulmer filled in for Majors since DD will be present, but it will nevertheless be interesting to see how the Vols answer the bell with the coach absent from the sidelines.

I would say Coach Sal will handle the chewing out as it needs to be done. He seems to be pretty adept at that, lol. With the communications that they have now, there probably will be very little difference whether he's in the pressbox or on the sideline. One thought: who will don the orange pants?

cloudodust writes:

Injury to repetitive motion groups are a bummer. Watch that jumping on the sidelines until next year Coach and drink your milk. Speedy recovery...

waldeen_hinson#435189 writes:

Best wishes for a speedy recovery, Coach Dooley.

Millisa writes:

Hope Dooley gets better soon and I say let Coach Sal coach the game

tvol71 writes:

Wow, the last couple of years it's been a situation of anything than can go wrong will go wrong. Need Witch Doctor to break this spell.

crappieking writes:

We might win Sat. afterall. Get well coach.

tenndave writes:

I think Sal can handle the fire on the sidelines for him and Dooley. Get well soon coach.

Classof72 writes:

Best wishes to Coach Dooley for a complete and speedy recovery . I hope all goes well Saturday. GO VOLS!

62vol writes:

in response to dvols:

so what coach will be on the sideline....to challenge calls...etc..

Jay Graham, Jim Bob Cooter??/

He will make the calls from the booth. He will delegate the throwing of the challenge flag.
The headset is not just an ear warmer.

Katphan29 writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

orange_eVOLution writes:

Wish you the best, coach Dooley. How about put both line coaches in charge... Pittman and Palermo!

Either way, let's team up and win this one!

GO VOLS!!

orange_eVOLution writes:

in response to Katphan29:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Excellent classless jerk post.

6972 writes:

I join in all the other writers about wishing the coach well. But for me, there is more. The article said he had been hurting for month and Friday it was determined this had to be done immediately. I have had my coach and many of you have also heard about playing through the pain. Well, Coach Dooley has apparently been doing that for some time now. A Broken hip!!!!and he is out there every day busting his butt. While I wish we had a better record, his stock for me just went up sky high! My hat is off to you Sir! Here's a get well wish...kick butty Sat.

bigdisbig writes:

Will Sal be wearing those ugly orange pants? The Vols will win with Dooley NOT on the sidelines. His orange pants is a distraction to the players.

voloffaith writes:

in response to jobrando#216494:

Folks is this true or is this a self defense move in case VOLS crash? Kind of young for this type of surgery all of a sudden. WOW

Yeah fake it and have surgery...please...this lil conspiracy theory things are SPANDEX CITY!Try to have a lil reality....Seriously have surgery for sympathy/strategy is so pitiful I can't believe you would go there..politicians yeah....this isn't Sandusky ok?

On topic, heal up coach....

orange_eVOLution writes:

in response to bigdisbig:

Will Sal be wearing those ugly orange pants? The Vols will win with Dooley NOT on the sidelines. His orange pants is a distraction to the players.

At least use proper grammar if you want to diss the Dooley's pants.

It's not... "His orange pants IS a distraction to the players."

It's... "His orange pants ARE a distraction to the players."

And you are a dumb-arse either way.

Support the team so we beat Mississippi State!

G O ~ V O L S ! !

pms151 writes:

It does not matter who is the sideline coach. It has to be an improvement. Just put someone there that can think on his feet.

kdaff51 writes:

in response to jobrando#216494:

Folks is this true or is this a self defense move in case VOLS crash? Kind of young for this type of surgery all of a sudden. WOW

Your an idiot!

pcshowtime writes:

Only thing about coaching from the press box in starkville Ms is the communication system is 2 cans tied together with some string.

Snapshot writes:

in response to roloyo:

a lot of crow has to be ate around here?? An English Major from Florider no doubt

"Florider"? Is that anywhere near Florida? If you are going to criticize someone you could at least get your comment correct.

grout writes:

in response to chuckfromwoodberry:

Coach Majors forgives the fat guy that stabbed him in the back.

Which was karma for his role in the ousting of Bill Battle

BigOrangeSports writes:

None of my business, but I am curious as to how he broke his hip. Unusual to hear of an injury like this to a man his age.
Get Well Coach.

GBO

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