As The Coaches Turn: Derek Dooley To Tennessee, Gary Crowton To Louisiana Tech?

Henry BallSenior Analyst IJanuary 15, 2010

BATON ROUGE, LA - NOVEMBER 14:  Head coach Derek Dooley of the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs talks with his team during a time out in the game against the LSU Tigers at Tiger Stadium on November 14, 2009 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  The Tigers defeated the Bulldogs 24-16.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Ruston, La.—Derek Dooley, former LSU Assistant coach and recruiting coordinator under Nick Saban and current head coach at Louisiana Tech, will be named head coach at Tennessee.

Dooley, perhaps best known outside of Louisiana as legendary UGA coach Vince Dooley's son, has been at the helm in Ruston for three seasons earning a record of 17-20 (12-12 WAC) and valuable experience running not just a football program but the entire athletic department as he was named Athletic Director in March of 2008.

No word yet if the Athletic Director's position—currently held by Mike Hamilton—at Tennessee will be available.

Yet a goodly number of Volunteers—perhaps some of the same ones that chased outgoing coach Lane Kiffin off of campus Wednesday Night—are underwhelmed by not only the hiring of Dooley; but by the process that first brought Philip Fulmer's 17-year tenure to an end and gave another unproven coach—Kiffin—with a famous father to Knoxville. 

Nonethelees, you shouldn't be fooled by Dooley's record at La. Tech, he can coach and he can recruit.

As a member of Nick Saban's staff from 2000 until 2006 when he left Miami for La. Tech he was well respected and a key member of two No.1 recruiting classes (2000, 2003) and a National Title for the 2003 season.

Among his highlights at La Tech was giving LSU a scare (16-24) in Tiger Stadium this past season, an 8-5 record and Tech's first Bowl win in 30 years.  

Many Tiger fans have wondered if he could have a future at LSU if Les Miles should ever leave for any reason.

Yet what is on the mind of Tiger fans today is whether La. Tech might reach into its past for its future with current LSU Offensive Coordinator, Gary Crowton.

Crowton—La. Tech's Head Coach from 1996-98 was 21-13 with the Bull Dogs, including 9-2 in his second year—one of La. Tech's best years ever—before bolting for BYU in 1999.

Crowton and Miles have been rumored to have differences of opinion on running the offense at LSU and Crowton was mentioned as a possible Chicago Bears' hire just a few weeks ago.

Such a move could make the way for Billy Gonzales—passing game coordinator—to be promoted, who recently left Urban Myers' staff to join Miles in Baton Rouge.

Whatever happens, this has been one of the most exciting and chaotic coaching carousel seasons on record. 


Buckle up, with Georgia, East Carolina, La. Tech and others—not to mention the NFL which is just getting started—still looking for coaches and coordinators it just might not be time to get off the ride!