by Ashley Murphy
Here I am again. Questioning the future of my beloved Tennessee Volunteers. It wasn't even four months ago that I was sitting here, typing about the good ole "Lane Train" and all he brought in to help get our team back on track and on toward a winning season.
Well, the "Lane Train" has officially left the depot, on to greener pastures. Stacks of greener pastures in fact. It's just too bad for him that some of that cash will be flowing back into Tennessee territory since Kiffin breached his contract. When Kiffin signed a memorandum of understanding in 2008 with the University of Tennessee, the deal was to be carried out over a six year period. If Kiffin resigned before the contract was up, then he would have to pay off the remaining years. Starting in 2009, he would have to pay the University of Tennessee $1 million, then the amount would decrease by $200,000 each year of the contract.
So, good riddance to you Mr. Kiffin. We'll take your money and you can take all of your NCAA infractions with you, because the Volunteers now have a new head coach that will hopefully put your name to shame. Of course, I'm not sure if you could possibly obtain anymore shame from Volunteers fans than you already have.
Now, on to the brighter side of my article; our new Head Coach Derek Dooley was introduced on January 15, 2010. I was actually surprised that they had found someone so quick after so many other coaches had turned them down. At first, I was skeptical about the choice. Louisiana Tech's coach? But after looking a little into Dooley's coaching history, he definitely has the experience and comes from a coaching family.
Derek Dooley's father is legendary University of Georgia Head Coach, Vince Dooley. During the elder Dooley's 25 year coaching career with the Bulldogs, he averaged over eight wins a year, gained six Southeastern Conference (SEC) Championships and one National Championship.
Derek Dooley's uncle, Bill Dooley, has also served as Head Coach for 25 years. His years were spanned out across the University of North Carolina, Virginia Tech, and Wake Forest. During his career, he gained three Atlantic Coast Conference titles, helped his teams to nine bowl games and he holds school records at each school he coached.
I just hope that some of this legendary coaching is genetic, or has at least rubbed off onto the younger Dooley. But not just the coaching. His father was loyal to the Bulldogs for 25 solid years. His uncle, Bill Dooley, averaged about seven years between his three teams. The Tennessee Volunteers football team needs stability and leadership to get them back in the game and turned into a National Championship team, or at least a title team.
Of course, Derek Dooley didn't follow his father and uncle's path in becoming a football coach at first. He did, however, play football during his college years before graduating from the University of Virginia in 1990. After graduating from the University of Georgia with a law degree, and practicing law in Atlanta, GA for a couple of years, Dooley went back to Georgia as a graduate assistant for one year.
Dooley then went to Southern Methodist University as wide receivers coach and assistant recruiting coordinator. His big break came in 2000 when Dooley was hired by Nick Saban of the LSU Tigers. The first two years, Dooley spent as recruiting coordinator and tight ends coach.
Before leaving LSU in 2005, he coached the Tiger's running backs and special teams, as well. In 2005, Dooley left LSU with Nick Saban when Saban became Head Coach of the Miami Dolphins.
In late 2006, Dooley was able to branch out on his own when he was hired as head coach at Louisiana Tech University. In 2008, Dooley was also named as Athletic Director in addition to the coaching position. Dooley faired well with trying to up the football program, but succeeded tremendously in the athletic department overall.
Now, in 2010, Derek Dooley can proudly call himself a Tennessee Volunteer. While he has been around to a few different teams, like our previous coach, maybe Dooley has finally found a place to call home, like his father did with the Georgia Bulldogs. Plus, if he has his father and uncle's coaching abilities, and we can keep him around for a while, maybe we can get back up on the charts and show all of our rivals what we are really made of.
I'd definitely like to see us beat Florida soon, very soon. And Alabama. I'll even throw the Georgia Bulldogs in the mix to liven things up. Then after we defeat the overrated Gators, Saban's Crimson Tide and the elder Dooley's Dawgs maybe we can make it up there to that day when we can finally come face to face with Kiffin and the Trojans and stomp them into the ground. But, before I get too excited and start making great plans for our beloved Vols, I guess I better see if we can make it past the two year mark this time...