Tennessee AD Dave Hart says Vols must move with 'urgency' to catch SEC's elite

Hart says job at UT is to 'view the big picture'

ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL
Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart looks on from the sideline as the Vols play Mississippi State last Saturday in Starkville, Miss.

Photo by Adam Brimer, Knoxville News Sentinel

ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart looks on from the sideline as the Vols play Mississippi State last Saturday in Starkville, Miss.

Take the elevator to the top floor of the Lawson Center before strolling across the glass walkway overlooking the indoor football field on your way to the Tennessee athletic department's executive offices and the conclusion is inescapable: The Vols have gorgeous facilities that must be among the nation's best.

Right?

"No," says Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart forcefully. "We've got a lot of work to do."

There's more.

"We have some innate challenges," Hart said. "Each year that those disadvantages remain on the table, you set yourselves back."

If that's surprising to you, well, Hart's been doing a lot of wake-up calls since he arrived from Alabama as UT's athletic director one year ago. He said the gap between perception and reality has been one of the most difficult challenges of the job.

The perception: Tennessee's athletic department is flush with cash and financially healthy. The reality, according to Hart? "We are carrying the largest — by far — debt service in the conference and the smallest — by far — reserve in the conference."

The perception: Tennessee's facilities are on par with the best in the SEC. Even when the new Football Training Center is completed, that won't be the case, Hart said. "We've got a long way to go, and we've got a lot of priorities that have to be put in motion."

So as No. 1 Alabama (6-0, 3-0 SEC) arrives to face struggling Tennessee (3-3, 0-3) at Neyland Stadium on Saturday (TV: ESPN, 7 p.m.), what optimism can Hart

possibly offer? One more perception he wants to correct: The gulf between Alabama and Tennessee — once equals in the college football world — is impossibly wide.

Hart scoffs at that notion. "This is a cyclical game ... Alabama weathered some tough years. They're reaping the rewards now." With hard work, he said, Tennessee will do the same.

Hart, 63, no longer feels like the new guy at Tennessee. His office is fully furnished, even if it doesn't look quite lived-in. Business and sports books are set out on the coffee table. Mementos from his years as an athletic director adorn the walls. It's not clear if his diploma from the University of Alabama made the trip to the new office.

"I spent 12 years at East Carolina and 13 years at Florida State, and nobody asked me one time about being from Alabama," he said with a smile.

While Alabama is Hart's alma mater and most recent employer, his experience as an administrator was shaped elsewhere. But his three years at Alabama coincided with the Tide's resurgence as a national football power, and Alabama offers the most compelling template of how to build a national power in the cutthroat SEC.

"Certainly, when you win two titles in three years and you're the No. 1 team right now, that's obviously the program right now that people look to," Hart said. "I was fortunate to be a part of Florida State when that same phenomenon was occurring there. For a while it was Oklahoma in that role, and that's still an outstanding program. But there's no question that (Alabama coach) Nick (Saban) has done a terrific job in building that program back to a championship level."

How to replicate that in Knoxville? The first, Hart said, is recognizing Tennessee's strengths but being honest about weaknesses.

The Vols lack the football-rich geographic base of other programs, so the importance of repairing the financial situation and catching up in facilities is magnified.

"All of our challenges can be overcome and will be overcome, but first we have to be realistic about what they are," Hart said. "To me, that's the easy part. And then we have to build strategic plans to achieve what we want to achieve. And the toughest thing is that we have to do it with urgency."

Alabama wasn't always at the top of the football mountain, nor was Hart's old boss in Tuscaloosa, longtime athletic director Mal Moore, always a beloved figure.

Moore, who took over the department in 1999, shuffled through coaches Mike DuBose, Dennis Franchione, Mike Price and Mike Shula before hiring Saban after the 2006 season. In that eight-year span, the Tide endured NCAA probation and finished better than .500 only half the time.

"Mal has done an incredibly good job. Mal weathered those tough years we talked about, and he not only weathered them, but he discovered that he was a heck of a fundraiser in that period," Hart said. "Because it was a tough period for the university at that time."

The tough period was nearing an end by the time Hart was hired at Alabama in 2008. The Tide went 41-5 during the three years Hart was on campus. He managed virtually all day-to-day affairs of the department.

"Mal Moore's one of the finest people I've ever met in my entire life," Hart said. "And he knows how strongly I feel about him as a person. When Mal told me, 'I'll give you the authority to run the program on a day-to-day basis, and I know you can do it and I trust you to do it,' I had no doubts that would be case. And that's how it unfolded."

When Hart came to Tennessee last fall, he brought two administrators with him from Alabama, including Jon Gilbert, UT's executive senior associate athletic director and Hart's top lieutenant.

In the past year, the department has faced lawsuits for discrimination and hurdles associated with merging the historically distinct men's and women's athletic department.

Meanwhile, the football program has continued its slide. The Rock, an unscientific barometer of community sentiment, has displayed messages calling for the ouster of third-year coach Derek Dooley. Empty seats continue to be an issue at Neyland Stadium. The student section failed to sell out for even Saturday's Alabama game, something that would have been unthinkable in the past.

"I'm competitive to a fault. I'm not proud of that, but that's kind of in my DNA," Hart said. "So nobody's more upset, believe me. I just can't display it like some people can.

"But I wouldn't want to work in an environment where there was no passion. You just have to understand that. What I have to do is see the big picture — because I see it everyday. Most people see it on Saturday, I see it seven days a week. I have to view the big picture, and that's what I've always done."

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

Get Copyright Permissions © 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

© 2012 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Comments » 201

OLROCKYTOP writes:

Sounds like "change" is coming to Knoxville.

sameolvolalum writes:

Yep. 'Sure does. I wonder what big name he's contacting. I wish it were otherwise, but I think Dooley's about to get about four million bucks richer.

tedstryker1980 writes:

Dooley needs to go ASAP. His buyout only drops from 5 million to 4 million after next year. It stays at 4 million until 2015. We are going to pay sooner or later. The sooner he is gone, the sooner we can start a real rebuild.

stevefrommemphis writes:

"Carrying the largest - by far - debt service in the conference."

Thank you, Mike Hamilton, for trying to turn Neyland Stadium into the Taj Mahal.

GloryDays writes:

I believe the die has been cast. Hart is currently calling and talking behind the scenes, getting things lined up. Dooley will be fired on Monday November 26 and Hart will have a new coach announced 2 weeks later on December 10. That will give him 2 months to recruit and keep some of Dooley's recruits.

Henley-Street-Bridge writes:

in response to sameolvolalum:

Yep. 'Sure does. I wonder what big name he's contacting. I wish it were otherwise, but I think Dooley's about to get about four million bucks richer.

I think its through $5.0 through next season of 2013 going into Feb of 2014. LEast that's my copy of the agreement says.

Rosie writes:

Isn't the lesson of Alabama simple? Hire the right guy. Dooley is clearly not that guy. Hopefully Hart knows who wants and the process to get him is under way.

Rosie writes:

in response to GloryDays:

I believe the die has been cast. Hart is currently calling and talking behind the scenes, getting things lined up. Dooley will be fired on Monday November 26 and Hart will have a new coach announced 2 weeks later on December 10. That will give him 2 months to recruit and keep some of Dooley's recruits.

I agree

BigOrangeDave writes:

Hart didn't mention Coach Dooley by name. I don't think Dooley will make it to Halloween as coach if we get spanked by Bama and South Carolina.

jandjhome#228397 writes:

It is over for Dooley, he will be told before the Vandy and Kentucky games. Another year would only put us where we are now.

Stooley_Dinks writes:

Come on all of you "Dooley is getting another year" fans! REAL Vols for life pull for OUR coach! Go away TROLL!

As Dr Evil would say, "Righhhhttttttt..."

Like I said earlier, Dooley proved himself in Lexington last year. Hart had to give him another year because he wasn't prepared to make a hire fast enough. So Dooley got 1 more year to change our minds. His loss in Starkville sealed his fate. Hart is laying the groundwork.

thevoice writes:

in response to stevefrommemphis:

"Carrying the largest - by far - debt service in the conference."

Thank you, Mike Hamilton, for trying to turn Neyland Stadium into the Taj Mahal.

Time to move forward pal. Nothing is accomplished by pointing fingers and looking at the past, unless something can be learned. Same applies to Fulmer.

thevoice writes:

Anybody watching the Oregon smack-down? 43-7 mid 2nd qtr. Look out SEC.

GerryOP writes:

Based on what Hart said, how do you guys leap to the conclusion that Dooley is gone? Seriously, how?

sameolvolalum writes:

in response to Stooley_Dinks:

Come on all of you "Dooley is getting another year" fans! REAL Vols for life pull for OUR coach! Go away TROLL!

As Dr Evil would say, "Righhhhttttttt..."

Like I said earlier, Dooley proved himself in Lexington last year. Hart had to give him another year because he wasn't prepared to make a hire fast enough. So Dooley got 1 more year to change our minds. His loss in Starkville sealed his fate. Hart is laying the groundwork.

Shallow punkish posts such as yours and those other social misfits did nothing toward designating Dooley's (most likely imminent) replacement. The cards fell as they would without all your sissy wailing. All your vile gargage has accomplished has been an ugly perception of the UT Vols' fan base, and much worse, of youngsters being recruited by UT. I very seldom respond to you trolls, but I hope you'll shut up and evaporate from this site once you've had your big "Dooley's gone" bash. I'm sure you'll.....no doubt.....eviscerate our basketball program, too. Get a life!

GerryOP writes:

in response to Stooley_Dinks:

Come on all of you "Dooley is getting another year" fans! REAL Vols for life pull for OUR coach! Go away TROLL!

As Dr Evil would say, "Righhhhttttttt..."

Like I said earlier, Dooley proved himself in Lexington last year. Hart had to give him another year because he wasn't prepared to make a hire fast enough. So Dooley got 1 more year to change our minds. His loss in Starkville sealed his fate. Hart is laying the groundwork.

You're making things up and spreading false rumors. You're leaping to conclusions based only on your negative opinions about Coach Dooley.

BTW, your screen name tends to destroy any credibility that you might have. Grow up and act like an adult.

ACWLY writes:

Dooley's not going anywhere, at least for another year, Harts just trying to get the focus off of him losing his job, actually I'd rather have Dooley another year than Hart, he can go back to Alabama [it's easy to see he's setting the stage to go back to the "best guy in the world", wow what an butt kisser]

Rosie writes:

in response to thevoice:

Time to move forward pal. Nothing is accomplished by pointing fingers and looking at the past, unless something can be learned. Same applies to Fulmer.

The fulmer lesson is this: don't hang onto a coach for 17 years who hadn't won the sec in almost a decade. Don't hang unto a coach who was clearly being left behind by the rest of the league, and dying a slow death.

LifetimeVolFan98 writes:

Dooley will be the coach next year. There was absolutely NOTHING in this article that indicated otherwise. Hart was mainly talking about the facilities and what we as fans perceive to be real and what IS real....grow up trolls!!

Look, I'm no happier about the situation than the next guy. BUT, losing 40 scholarship players in his first year as coach set him back at least 2 years. Then he turns over his entire defensive staff. That's another set back. It's STABILITY that we need. Not "coach shopping" because a few fans are distraught with the program and won't be able to get out of bed all season because we can't win. There are more important things in life than football, and I think most VFLers realize that.
There has been significant improvement on the offensive side of the ball, especially the running game and NO ONE can argue that. Do I think Dooley can get us back to "The glory days"?? Probably not. But what he can do, and has done, is build a solid foundation with some good depth, decent talent and bring some stability to the program.

orange_eVOLution writes:

in response to GerryOP:

Based on what Hart said, how do you guys leap to the conclusion that Dooley is gone? Seriously, how?

I don't think it's based on Hart's comments. Dooley is walking on eggs this season, especially being 0-3 in the SEC so far. It is not looking any better with Alabama and South Carolina up next.

Let's put it this way, I don't think Dooley will be back unless we have a win in the next two weeks. It's not fair or unfair. It is what it is. I like Dooley. I just don't think he is going to get another year if we don't win at least one game this season against a ranked team. Two chances left.

GO VOLS!!

orange_eVOLution writes:

in response to thevoice:

Anybody watching the Oregon smack-down? 43-7 mid 2nd qtr. Look out SEC.

I hear ya. Brutal.

ivyvol writes:

in response to OLROCKYTOP:

Sounds like "change" is coming to Knoxville.

Okay, let's get the bull phooey rolling again....Brian Billick will be the new coach.

pcshowtime writes:

I think Dooley needs to go I posted that everywhere on this site. I feel he robbed our players of decent season by changing defensive schemes and hung another 2.7 mil buyout on us for sal Sunseri.
Hart said:
"We are carrying the largest — by far — debt service in the conference and the smallest — by far — reserve in the conference."
"All of our challenges can be overcome and will be overcome, but first we have to be realistic about what they are,"

He may be saying he does not believe in dooley either but we don't have the money to do anything about it. I do know that if you do not put a good product on the field revenue will continue to fall. You sunshine pumpers can say what you want but people and students are fed up.

I do not want another band-aid coach. I want a coach with a recognizable name and a proven record as a head coach. When I say recognizable I do not mean a famous last name. If we can not get that then just wait until we can. Although like I posted I do not know if we can afford to wait it may cost us more in the long run.

tedstryker1980 writes:

in response to LifetimeVolFan98:

Dooley will be the coach next year. There was absolutely NOTHING in this article that indicated otherwise. Hart was mainly talking about the facilities and what we as fans perceive to be real and what IS real....grow up trolls!!

Look, I'm no happier about the situation than the next guy. BUT, losing 40 scholarship players in his first year as coach set him back at least 2 years. Then he turns over his entire defensive staff. That's another set back. It's STABILITY that we need. Not "coach shopping" because a few fans are distraught with the program and won't be able to get out of bed all season because we can't win. There are more important things in life than football, and I think most VFLers realize that.
There has been significant improvement on the offensive side of the ball, especially the running game and NO ONE can argue that. Do I think Dooley can get us back to "The glory days"?? Probably not. But what he can do, and has done, is build a solid foundation with some good depth, decent talent and bring some stability to the program.

Losing almost every single coach except for Chaney (who was not even a Dooley hire) is what you call bringing "stability to the program"?

Dooley is an unmitigated disaster... his buyout is going to be huge until 2015. The longer we wait is just that much more time until this program is relevant again.

Stooley_Dinks writes:

in response to sameolvolalum:

Shallow punkish posts such as yours and those other social misfits did nothing toward designating Dooley's (most likely imminent) replacement. The cards fell as they would without all your sissy wailing. All your vile gargage has accomplished has been an ugly perception of the UT Vols' fan base, and much worse, of youngsters being recruited by UT. I very seldom respond to you trolls, but I hope you'll shut up and evaporate from this site once you've had your big "Dooley's gone" bash. I'm sure you'll.....no doubt.....eviscerate our basketball program, too. Get a life!

You are so emotional about what and why?

I have no issue with Coach Martin. I would give him a raise now. He reaches out to students. He has recruited well. His team improved. He won rivalry games in year 1. He also WON at his prior job.

You only like Dooley because he is our coach today. He has lost consistently. There is no justification for keeping him...period. I would fire him today...right now...no hesitation!

When we get a new coach, you can admit I was right when we win. Until then, you can keep your excuses.

orange_eVOLution writes:

in response to tedstryker1980:

Losing almost every single coach except for Chaney (who was not even a Dooley hire) is what you call bringing "stability to the program"?

Dooley is an unmitigated disaster... his buyout is going to be huge until 2015. The longer we wait is just that much more time until this program is relevant again.

Two things...

1) Chaney needs to go. I still find it odd that we kept Kiffin's OC. Does he not realize that the best offensive weapon we have is CP? GET THE BALL IN HIS HANDS, please.

2) Worrying about a Dooley buyout is time ill spent. There are a few boosters who would gladly pay it. And they will if needed.

Dang! BEAT BAMA!!

Stooley_Dinks writes:

in response to GerryOP:

You're making things up and spreading false rumors. You're leaping to conclusions based only on your negative opinions about Coach Dooley.

BTW, your screen name tends to destroy any credibility that you might have. Grow up and act like an adult.

Your defense of a coach dedicated to creating highlight clips for other teams to use to win ESPY's eliminates any shred of credibility you may have.

Why do you want to lose?

rockytopinthedesert writes:

in response to thevoice:

Anybody watching the Oregon smack-down? 43-7 mid 2nd qtr. Look out SEC.

That's what they said last year before the LSU game.How'd that work out ?

eVOLved writes:

I used to post on here as CrazyVolFan, but I got banned during the Kiffin year for very moderately saying Kiffin was embarrassing us with NCAA secondary violations. With fear and trembling, I'll remind that CPF did have TN at the top for a while.

GVX was strict about posting during the Kiffin year, thinking trolls can actually be removed.

orange_eVOLution writes:

in response to rockytopinthedesert:

That's what they said last year before the LSU game.How'd that work out ?

Noted. Good point.

nocleats writes:

RECRUIT RECRUIT RECRUIT... Wanna beat the big boys, OUT RECRUIT the big boys!

pcorange writes:

I think the 'urgency' comment might be the one indication you could point to in this article that would allude to Hart considering a change. That leads me to believe that he's not willing to settle for the status quo for another 2 or 3 years. The fact is, I don't know and neither does anyone else on this message board whether Dooley will be fired or not. Only Hart and a few of his confidantes know that. Most likely Dooley feels a lot of pressure to win a big one, though. I like him as a person and as a representative of Tennessee. I hope it works out for him one way or the other.

BigOrangeFreak writes:

in response to LifetimeVolFan98:

Dooley will be the coach next year. There was absolutely NOTHING in this article that indicated otherwise. Hart was mainly talking about the facilities and what we as fans perceive to be real and what IS real....grow up trolls!!

Look, I'm no happier about the situation than the next guy. BUT, losing 40 scholarship players in his first year as coach set him back at least 2 years. Then he turns over his entire defensive staff. That's another set back. It's STABILITY that we need. Not "coach shopping" because a few fans are distraught with the program and won't be able to get out of bed all season because we can't win. There are more important things in life than football, and I think most VFLers realize that.
There has been significant improvement on the offensive side of the ball, especially the running game and NO ONE can argue that. Do I think Dooley can get us back to "The glory days"?? Probably not. But what he can do, and has done, is build a solid foundation with some good depth, decent talent and bring some stability to the program.

"A few fans are distraught?"

Can you count? I can, and the overwhelming majority of poster on this site and everyday fans I talk to are of the opinion that change is not only imminent but NECESSARY.

I've supported Coach Dooley and while it is obvious that he is a good man and cares about UT, he is NOT CAPABLE OF DOING THE JOB FOR WHICH HE WAS HIRED!

It's getting old to have a handful of people who are scared of change (good or bad) call out people who genuinely care about this program as "trolls, fair-weather fans" and the like. People like yourself are the ones tearing at the fan base. Get with the program and accept the fact that:

IT'S TIME.

richvol writes:

I'd like to know where we are behind in facilities...especially the football program.

Stooley_Dinks writes:

in response to GerryOP:

Based on what Hart said, how do you guys leap to the conclusion that Dooley is gone? Seriously, how?

Let me help you as you really seem to be struggling with it. Hart made it clear after the KY loss that losing to them was unacceptable and youth would not be an excuse this year. Read between those lines and he expected performance.

Now he says that no one is more upset than him. Do you expect him to pull a Hamilton and say he isn't sure Dooley will be our coach next year?!?

You can live in denial, but I believe it is clear. AD's don't want peace. They don't want ease. They want a legacy. Hart has a chance to return the Vols to elite status. Unfortunately, Coach Martin does not give him an opportunity. Hamilton got lucky and hired a real winner in Cuonzo. Hart can't take credit for that. CCM is a great coach! Replacing Pat Summit is really impossible as no one can live up to that legend. But Dooley is Hamilton's mistake. His replacement will be Hart's mark on UT.

You don't get it. I know. Where did I get that info? What do I know? Yes, I know it is hard to grasp. But, as someone who has hired and fired many times, I understand the need of hard driven individuals to be successful. I know you don't understand that because football is a game. A Satisfactory review is good enough for you. Change is scary. Losing is a part of life. Pounding down PBR and yelling "Go Vols" until you pass out is the definition of a real Vols fan. Denial is your specialty. Next year is always the year.

But winners win and losers lose. BIS! B.I.S! B-I-S! Butts in seats! And we are losing them. Fan apathy is rampant and Dooley's days are numbered...like it or not.

Jszvols writes:

i like dooley ,even taken up for him but numbers dont lie.i wish he could get it done but i dont think so.gruden,peterson,gundy,patterson,sweeney.some realistic some not .OPINIONS

thevoice writes:

in response to LifetimeVolFan98:

Dooley will be the coach next year. There was absolutely NOTHING in this article that indicated otherwise. Hart was mainly talking about the facilities and what we as fans perceive to be real and what IS real....grow up trolls!!

Look, I'm no happier about the situation than the next guy. BUT, losing 40 scholarship players in his first year as coach set him back at least 2 years. Then he turns over his entire defensive staff. That's another set back. It's STABILITY that we need. Not "coach shopping" because a few fans are distraught with the program and won't be able to get out of bed all season because we can't win. There are more important things in life than football, and I think most VFLers realize that.
There has been significant improvement on the offensive side of the ball, especially the running game and NO ONE can argue that. Do I think Dooley can get us back to "The glory days"?? Probably not. But what he can do, and has done, is build a solid foundation with some good depth, decent talent and bring some stability to the program.

"Stability" also means coaching stability. Should be interesting to see what coaches depart after the UK game.

Millisa writes:

FIRE Dooley NOW and Hart You Resign too while your at it. Pat Summitt for AD

TooDlems writes:

Somebody call Barbara and tell her that her Baby is being mistreated.

thevoice writes:

in response to rockytopinthedesert:

That's what they said last year before the LSU game.How'd that work out ?

I'm talking Oregon 2012. Just saying they look impressive.

thevoice writes:

in response to Stooley_Dinks:

Let me help you as you really seem to be struggling with it. Hart made it clear after the KY loss that losing to them was unacceptable and youth would not be an excuse this year. Read between those lines and he expected performance.

Now he says that no one is more upset than him. Do you expect him to pull a Hamilton and say he isn't sure Dooley will be our coach next year?!?

You can live in denial, but I believe it is clear. AD's don't want peace. They don't want ease. They want a legacy. Hart has a chance to return the Vols to elite status. Unfortunately, Coach Martin does not give him an opportunity. Hamilton got lucky and hired a real winner in Cuonzo. Hart can't take credit for that. CCM is a great coach! Replacing Pat Summit is really impossible as no one can live up to that legend. But Dooley is Hamilton's mistake. His replacement will be Hart's mark on UT.

You don't get it. I know. Where did I get that info? What do I know? Yes, I know it is hard to grasp. But, as someone who has hired and fired many times, I understand the need of hard driven individuals to be successful. I know you don't understand that because football is a game. A Satisfactory review is good enough for you. Change is scary. Losing is a part of life. Pounding down PBR and yelling "Go Vols" until you pass out is the definition of a real Vols fan. Denial is your specialty. Next year is always the year.

But winners win and losers lose. BIS! B.I.S! B-I-S! Butts in seats! And we are losing them. Fan apathy is rampant and Dooley's days are numbered...like it or not.

I don't really disagree much, but would only add that Hart is in his 60s and really doesn't have 10 years to wait for things. I bet he hates the 6-year contract Dooley has.

flatrock writes:

in response to LifetimeVolFan98:

Dooley will be the coach next year. There was absolutely NOTHING in this article that indicated otherwise. Hart was mainly talking about the facilities and what we as fans perceive to be real and what IS real....grow up trolls!!

Look, I'm no happier about the situation than the next guy. BUT, losing 40 scholarship players in his first year as coach set him back at least 2 years. Then he turns over his entire defensive staff. That's another set back. It's STABILITY that we need. Not "coach shopping" because a few fans are distraught with the program and won't be able to get out of bed all season because we can't win. There are more important things in life than football, and I think most VFLers realize that.
There has been significant improvement on the offensive side of the ball, especially the running game and NO ONE can argue that. Do I think Dooley can get us back to "The glory days"?? Probably not. But what he can do, and has done, is build a solid foundation with some good depth, decent talent and bring some stability to the program.

Absolutely spot-on.

Stooley_Dinks writes:

in response to Millisa:

FIRE Dooley NOW and Hart You Resign too while your at it. Pat Summitt for AD

Millisa, were it not for her health, I would agree 100%. In fact, I was suggesting that before her health became an issue. In my opinion, she is THE name in UT athletics. I could go on endlessly about her qualifications and how she deserves it, but she cannot perform that role now. It is our loss.

tovolny writes:

WE DON"T NEED AN ATHLETIC DIRECTOR. At least one armed with nothing but buyouts and pink slips. This is his only power...if a coach doesn't win often enough, then he gets fired. ADs hire head-hunting firms to find and hire coaches. So, here they are, back to buyouts and pink slips. Almost all of my friends that are UT fans, want to keep Dooley around for awhile. But, if the AD's are judged by wins and losses, he has no choice but to stir things up. I remember back to Hamilton and sports writers like John Adams and Gomer in Nashville were beating up on Fulmer when most fans were preferring to keep Fulmer around. Hamilton was forced to make a choice and a decision that wound up destroying Tennessee. Fulmer with a top notch OC would have set up several trophies in the trophy case in the last five years. But a nerdy AD (Hamilton) had the power and used it. He reminds me of a salmon that lost their way trying to swim back up the river. Now, it appears Hart is dissing the football team for some reason. Since he was not around when the latest improvements of facilities were set forth, he is cutting them down. Hart is looking after Hart, not the Tennessee sports. Again, we don't need an Athletic Director...let the head coaches report directly to the Chancellor.

TheStupidPolice writes:

LifetimeVolFan98, you have the right to remain silent...

VOL4LIFE74 writes:

First of all, I completely sympathize will all the frustrated VOL fans. I understand how pointing the finger at Dooley and calling for his resignation is the "knee-jerk" reaction to our program. HOWEVER there are a few things we must consider before making such a irrational decision...

(ONE) In this Article it talks about Nick Saban coming in, after the 5 other coaches, and turning Alabama into a championship program. Well, its not like Nick Saban came from nowhere. He had left LSU (after winning a National Championship) and went to Miami (NFL) where he fell flat on his face. Alabama got a BCS Championship-proven coach. Is it really any wonder that he turned them into a championship program???

(TWO) As mentioned in previous comments, Dooley walked into a complete mess of a program created by Kiffin (control the gag reflex). Kiffin completely sabotaged the program and the recruits after he left. Dooley didn't start at the ground level. He was WAY below ground level and had a LOT to accomplish in a short time!

Now, I respect Dooley. I think he has good character and integrity. I do have my doubts that he can effectively motivate the talent in the football program. If Hart does fire Dooley, what are we gonna do. Its not like there are championship-proven coaches waiting in line. We are not going to lure a coach from a winning program. Our two options are a crappy NFL Coach (maybe Pete Carrol) or a 2A Coach (another Dooley). Either way, we go back to the drawing board for another couple years. Personally, I would rather let Dooley play out. We still got a chance at a bowl game.

VOLS need to settle down and think about the second and third order effects of firing Dooley. Is it really gonna leave us in a better place??? Is that really what we want to do EVERY time we get stuck in a rut (fire the coach)???? Only true VOL fans can understand that WE need to do our part to support OUR program. Boycotting games and putting petty messages on the rock is not the kind of fans UT needs. We have to brave through it and support our school no matter what.

Sure losing sucks, but coming apart as a VOL-nation is much, much worse!

VOL-4-LIFE

utfan2121 writes:

Dooley is a good guy, but when it comes to coaching and recruiting.. he simply is not getting the job done and lets be honest.. no disrespect intended but Dooley should never have been hired to take over the head coaching job at UT in the first place. Aside from emphasizing character and class with his players.. what has he done?

Henley-Street-Bridge writes:

I think I just heard a Shoe Dropping?

senatorgip#470888 writes:

in response to tedstryker1980:

Losing almost every single coach except for Chaney (who was not even a Dooley hire) is what you call bringing "stability to the program"?

Dooley is an unmitigated disaster... his buyout is going to be huge until 2015. The longer we wait is just that much more time until this program is relevant again.

Hey I totally agree ! It is over for Coach Dooley ! Anyone who has been around the corporate or political world can read the tea leaves ! Harts telling comments were we " have to move with urgency to catch up with SEC" and of course he never mentioned Dooleys name. The other thing that I noticed the other day is Dooleys comments were very solemn, as if he was unsure about his future and just didn't appear confident in his demeanor. We may have to teach a few of our friends on this site how to read the "tea leaves". But my friends it was time for change.

underthehill writes:

in response to ACWLY:

Dooley's not going anywhere, at least for another year, Harts just trying to get the focus off of him losing his job, actually I'd rather have Dooley another year than Hart, he can go back to Alabama [it's easy to see he's setting the stage to go back to the "best guy in the world", wow what an butt kisser]

I am not a Dooley fan but I would too would rather keep him ..by far..than Hart..I do not see any way UT can possible afford to keep Hart and I do not believe for one minute that UT is in the financial state he says..and I would suggest Hamilton would be more believable than Hart on this subject..let's see how Hart's fundraising compares to Hamilton..and let's see how the law suits play out...

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features