Jan. 15, 2010Derek Dooley as the 22nd head coach in school history during a Friday press conference at 9 p.m. Eastern time inside Neyland Stadium's Peyton Manning Locker Room Complex.
Dooley, 41, comes to the Vols after three seasons as head coach at Louisiana Tech, where he also served as athletics director since March 2008. Dooley compiled a 17-20 overall record in three seasons with the Bulldogs, including an 8-5 mark in 2008 that was highlighted by the school's first bowl game and bowl victory in 30 years at the Independence Bowl. For his efforts, the Louisiana Sports Writers' Association named him Coach of the Year.
Dooley began his coaching career in 1996 as a graduate assistant at Georgia under defensive coordinator Joe Kines. After serving as wide receivers coach and co-recruiting coordinator at SMU from 1997-99, Dooley joined the staff at LSU under head coach Nick Saban as recruiting coordinator from 2000-02 and running backs coach and special teams coordinator from 2003-04. While LSU's recruiting coordinator, Dooley helped the Tigers land No. 1 classes in 2001 and 2003.
He left LSU with Saban to serve as tight ends coach for the Miami Dolphins from 2005-06, before being named to his first head coaching position at Louisiana Tech on Dec. 17, 2006.
Dooley, son of former Georgia coaching legend Vince Dooley, was a walk-on wide receiver at Virginia before earning a scholarship after his second season and leading the Cavaliers to three bowl appearances and the 1989 ACC championship.
"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.
"He took a very difficult first head coaching job and has made significant strides there in a short period of time. He is incredibly bright, a tireless recruiter and excellent on-the-field coach."
Dooley is married to Dr. Allison Jeffers Dooley, an OBGYN. They have two sons, John Taylor (11) and Peyton (8), and a daughter, Juliana (6). Dooley earned his bachelor's degree in government and foreign affairs from the University of Virginia in 1990, and his law degree from the University of Georgia in 1994. Before embarking on his coaching career, Dooley practiced law at a private law firm in Atlanta for two years.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT DEREK DOOLEY
"Derek is a very articulate, bright guy. He's a great coach and a hard-working guy. He was always a very good recruiter in college, which I think is paramount if you're going to have success as a college coach."
-- Nick Saban, University of Alabama Head Football Coach
"Derek is exactly what I hoped he would be. As far as I am concerned, he has exceeded everyone's expectations, including the 65,000 alumni (at Louisiana Tech). He is making people stand up and take notice of Louisiana Tech.
What we have is a man who has a vision for this program and this university; he wants to make it something special. He has a plan. It is an energetic, aggressive plan, and I could not be more proud to have him as our AD and our football coach."
-- Terry Bradshaw, former Louisiana Tech and Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterback, on Dooley's tenure at Louisiana Tech
"Coach Dooley is such a bright person. He's made me a better person on and off the field. He's made me focus every day on every aspect of the game. As a coach, he makes you the best player you can possibly be. He'll coach you like you've never been coached, and he'll push you to your maximum potential. He is a phenomenal teacher."
-- Randy McMichael, St. Louis Rams Tight End
"He's the kind of coach that's got a lot of energy, and he's somebody that you can relate to on a personal level. He's great at giving advice while being upbeat at the same time. There aren't many coaches that will let you have fun while getting the job done at the same time. He has the ability to get that out of you."
-- Joseph Addai, Indianapolis Colts Running Back
"I really admire and look up to him. Not only is he a great coach, but he is a great man. He comes from a background of tradition of winning, and he represents what you expect from in a coach. You can believe and fully trust him. He is a high-character man and a player's coach."
-- Robert Royal, Cleveland Browns Tight End