In one of the most frantic and nerve-wracking head coaching searches I've seen of any school, the University of Tennessee has brought in Derek Dooley to be the new head football coach, replacing the 1-year stint of Lane Kiffin.
Dooley is most quickly associated to SEC football via his father, who was a legend in his own right at the University of Georgia. During Derek's own career, he is also known for his time under Nick Saban at LSU, where he served as recruiting coordinator, tight ends coach, running backs coach, and special teams coordinator at various times between 2000 and 2004, then joining Saban on staff with the Miami Dolphins as tight ends coach until 2006.
Feelings are obviously very mixed on the hire, as Dooley is seen as one of Hamilton's lesser options on his bucket list but is also highly praised by some of the people he has associated with in the past, including Nick Saban and former players. He is an offensive coach, so details will have to be worked out between him, Jim Chaney, and Kippy Brown moving forward, and Lance Thompson is the presumptive favorite for defensive coordinator.
With recruits coming onto campus for an official visit this weekend, Dooley will hit the ground at full speed, answering media questions, likely shaking hands with boosters, meeting the current team players, and introducing himself to prospects all within a couple of days.
While the hire came in a flurry, we now have several months until the first football game to figure out what kind of coach we have at the helm. As we learn more about the man, we'll keep the discussion going. But until then, we welcome Derek Dooley, as well as all incoming recruits this weekend.
The press conference will be at 9:00 PM tonight. More to come then, undoubtedly.