Tennessee settled for Derek Dooley. Settled is the only word you can use to describe this cluster of a coaching search. If you are keeping score football powerhouses like Duke and Air Force trumped the Volunteers. When Tennessee asked everyone said NO! Will Muschamp is staying at Texas. Air Force’s coach preferred his present job to Knoxville. What about one of the best Tennessee assistant coaches in recent memory? David Cutcliffe rejected the job too—he preferred the head coaching gig at Duke.
As the pressure mounted athletic director Mike Hamilton wilted, and then he hired the first guy with a name he recognized. If you listen to Volunteer fans the latest move by athletic director Mike Hamilton isn’t popular.
Hamilton replaced the pizzazz (and dysfunction) of a DeLorean with the appeal and stability of a Ford. (The only question is whether the Ford is a Crown Vic or a Pinto.)
The flashy guy cost Tennessee more than it bargained; Kiffin embarrassed the university from the moment he began working in Knoxville. Tennessee was better than Kiffin, and is fortunate Kiffin bolted for USC. Now Tennessee football has opted for something different than flash.
But is Dooley worthy to wear the mantle once worn by legends like General Robert Neyland, Johnny Majors and (yes even) Phil Fulmer?
Dooley has the bloodline.
But if bloodlines were enough then Mike Shula would have won a national championship for Alabama.
Dooley’s career record is 17-20. It isn’t bad for La Tech, but it doesn’t inspire the confidence of a splashy hire.
Unfortunately for Tennessee, the coach will preside over a divided house. The backroom drama over the fate of Mike Hamilton will create turmoil for the new coach. Some at Tennessee won’t accept Dooley because of his lack of credentials or few ties to the program or one of a thousand other reasons that you can find on Gridscape or Volquest message board rants.
The Tennessee family is as divided over Dooley as the Alabama family was divided over Bill Curry. With Hamilton likely to be fired and the coach already unpopular, can this end for Dooley any better than it did for Curry at Alabama?