Derek Dooley: Coaching from a Stool Is a Terrible Idea for Tennessee Coach

Richard LangfordCorrespondent IOctober 21, 2012

KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 20:  Head coach Derek Dooley of the Tennessee Volunteers uses crutches to walk to a stool carried on the sideline for him to sit on during the game against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Neyland Stadium on October 20, 2012 in Knoxville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

There's a reason why football coaches do not sit on stools on the sidelines. 

We are talking about coaches who have coached into their 80s; coaches who are battling weight issues and a wide assortment of physical ailments and still do not use a stool.

Why? Because it would safer to walk across a busy highway while dressed like concrete. 

Apparently, Tennessee coach Derek Dooley is not concerned about 500 pounds of tangled bodies unavoidably tumbling into him and his stool and adding more injuries to the broken hip which necessitates his need for a place to sit in the first place. 

As the Associated Press reports, Dooley had the surgery on Oct. 9. In his first game following the surgery, he coached from the coach's box as his team dropped a 41-31 contest to Mississippi State. Dooley is not comfortable in the box, and the AP said he decided to return to the sidelines in part "because he couldn't look in his players' eyes."

So, he was back on the sidelines and free to look in any of his players' eyes this past Saturday. It didn't help. The Volunteers fell to Alabama, 44-13. 

Dooley managed to escape the sidelines this Saturday unscathed, as he had an assistant follow him around with a stool and he stayed semi-mobile with the aid of crutches, but that doesn't change the fact this is an accident waiting to happen. 

For Dooley to see the action, he has to be close enough to the field that he is right in harm's way. It is time for the coach to move back up above the field. 

I can understand why Dooley would be doing everything within his power to conjure a good performance from his team. Chances are, he is in his last season as Volunteers coach. The team is just 14-18 in his three seasons there, and they are a woeful 0-4 in the SEC this year. But this does not mean his seated coaching decision is a good move. 

Coaches have to show the ability to adapt to circumstances and also set an example of good decision-making to the young men they are leading.

The positives do not outweigh the potential negatives for Dooley to risk being on the field. While he may feel more comfortable being in the thick of the action, there is nothing in the play of his team to suggest it makes them more effective, and consequently, there is no reason for him to risk getting completely flattened by padded players.