KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (Sports Network) - The University of Tennessee named Derek Dooley as its new head football coach, filling the void left by Lane Kiffin's departure to USC earlier this week.
Dooley resigned as head coach and athletics director at Louisiana Tech late
Friday and was introduced at a press conference that night as the head coach
"We are excited to welcome Derek and Allison to the University of Tennessee
family," said UT athletics director Mike Hamilton. "Derek is one of the bright
young coaches in America. He understands our league and the competitive
environment in which we compete.
Dooley, the son of Georgia coaching legend Vince Dooley, is a former Nick
Saban disciple having spent five years at LSU from 2000-04 in a myriad of
coaching positions before following Saban to the NFL as tight ends coach for
the Dolphins in 2005 and 2006.
"I really thrived in his way of doing things," Dooley said of Saban. "I'm very
grateful for the opportunity that he gave me in wearing so many hats. He really
allowed me to blossom as a young coach and I was starving for it."
Dooley took over as head coach at LA Tech on December 17, 2006 and compiled a
17-20 record in three seasons. He inherited a team that was 3-10 in '06 and
led the Bulldogs to their first bowl win in over 30 years with an 8-5 record
in 2008. He added the AD title following the successes of 2008.
Dooley started out as a graduate assistant at the University of Georgia in
1996 before taking on the job of receivers coach at SMU from 1997-99.
"I grew up in this conference, I grew up in the SEC," Dooley said. "It didn't
take me long to realize that Tennessee was the essence of college football.
Even as a young kid, when you're watching the team run through the 'T', when
you see the checkerboard end zones, and of course when you hear Rocky
Top...vivid memories of a youngster."