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Derek Dooley Fired, Won't Coach the Rest of the Season

After Year Zero, Year Injury, and Year Hey-Where's-the-Defense / Hey-Let's-Mail-It-In, Derek Dooley has been officially fired from the role of Tennessee head coach.

Frederick Breedon

Contain your shock. Derek Dooley has been fired. There's a press conference at 2 - this can also serve as the open thread for the presser. The key details:

  • Derek Dooley has been relieved as head coach, effectively immediately
  • Dave Hart will address the media today at 2
  • Jim Chaney will serve as interim head coach against Kentucky
  • There's a Brinks truck en route to Jon Gruden's current location with a blank check (note: not actually confirmed yet)


A Defining Crossroad for the Program | | Epilogue on an Epitaph | | Why UT's Next Hire Has to be a Home Run


Dooley's tenure, summarized:

  • 15-21 record overall, 4-19 record in conference
  • Those wins: Vanderbilt (twice), Kentucky (once), Ole Miss (once)
  • Yes, he'll be That Coach - you know, the coach who lost to Kentucky and broke that streak
  • Got off to a roaring start with a 13-men-on-the-field penalty submarining a potentially huge upset at Baton Rouge
  • Thought Matt Simms was a decent QB
  • Fell victim to a hilarious and since-corrected rule involving offensive penalties at the end of the game in the Music City Bowl, resulting in the Dooley Rule (which will be the most long-standing impact of Dooley's tenure)
  • Saw everyone and their brother get injured in 2011, resulting in burning Justin Worley's redshirt because as it turns out, Matt Simms wasn't any good
  • (This move didn't work.)
  • In the high point of his tenure, beat Cincinnati at home
  • Lost to Kentucky - and yes, that deserves to be mentioned twice
  • Hemorrhaged the entire coaching staff following losing to Kentucky, resulting in some smart ideas (Jay Graham!) and some questionable ones (Sal Sunseri!)
  • Thought the 2012 season would be a great chance to change from a 4-3 to a 3-4 even though he was on the hot seat
  • Sal Sunseri!
  • Beat NC State handily when we thought that was a good idea and a nice win
  • Lost to Florida (again), Georgia (again - but it was close this time!), Alabama (again), South Carolina (again - but it was close this time, too!), and Mississippi State (wait what)
  • Lost to Missouri, in no small part to taking the ball out of the hands of his best players in favor of going to OT (where, it should be noted, the defense has to protect 25 yards of turf when they couldn't protect 225 most of the season)
  • Lost to Vanderbilt, highlighted by benching Tyler Bray after he threw his first pick in 117 attempts because he didn't want Bray to throw INTs (note: 117 passes without an INT is the sixth-longest streak in Tennessee history) and Vanderbilt running up the score and caling an Urban Meyer-style rub-it-in TO
  • Was shown up by James Franklin
  • Tyler Bray, Justin Hunter, Cordarrelle Patterson, Raijon Neal, Marlin Lane, a great batch of OL, and one of the best offenses in Tennessee history: lost to Sal Sunseri
  • Lost the team
  • Lost the locker room
  • Lost the fans
  • Lost his job

So ....well, you get the point. Anyway: the press conference is at 2, we're going to see a new head coach at some point in the near future, and the speculation - which, admittedly, was already rampant - is now in world-without-end territory.
It's impressive when you think about it: this is a pretty good job. Wouldn't have known it over the last few years. Here's hoping the new head coach - whoever he is - turns it into the job it can be and the program it should be.