Derek Dooley: He Enters Knoxville With Far More Experience Than Lane Kiffin Did
The Volunteers search for a new head coach is over. The new man in charge is Derek Dooley, who just happens to be the son of the legendary coach Vince Dooley.
When people heard this, especially Tennessee fans, they thought "why in the world would they hire a no name guy". I completely understand why they first thought that, after all the last two head coaches to coach at the University of Tennessee had huge reputations that everyone knew about. Let me tell you something though, Dooley is far more qualified for this job than Kiffin was when he took over as head coach last year.
First, lets take a brief look at Lane Kiffin's coaching career:
1997-1998: student assistant coach at Fresno State
1999: worked with the offensive line at Colorado State
2000: worked as a quality control assistant for the Jacksonville Jaguars
2001-2006: started out as wide receivers coach in 2002, then in 2004 promoted to passing game coordinator, and in 2005 he became offensive coordinator as well as recruiting coordinator.
2007-2008: was head coach of Oakland Raiders, posted a 5-15 record before being fired.
2009: head coach of the Tennessee Vols, record of 7-6, lost to Virginia Tech in Chickfila Bowl, but best known for dumping the Vols after only one year to go back to USC to take the head coaching job.
So now Kiffin is currently the head coach at the University of Southern California. When I take a look at that timeline of his coaching career I consider the years at USC to be the most impressive of what he has done. The only problem is that he hasn't shown that he is a good coach at all.
Now lets take a look at Dooleys coaching background-
1996: graduate assistant at the University of Georgia
1997-1999: wide receivers coach and assistant recruiting coordinator at Southern Methodist University
2000-2004: was hired by Nick Saban at LSU and started out as recruiting coordinator/tight ends coach until the end of the 2002 season, then from 2003 to 2004 he was the running backs coach and special teams coach.
2005-2006: went with Saban to the Miami Dolphins and served their one year as the tight ends coach
2007-2010: took over as head coach at Louisiana Tech University where he was the head coach for three seasons, posted a 17-20 overall record with one bowl game victory(Independence)
Of course we all know where he is know, at the University of Tennessee.
When I take a look at his coaching career and experience compared to Kiffins' I really do think that Dooley has the edge and more experience. He proved at LT that he could take over a struggling program and get it back on track. He led the team in 2008 to and 8-5 record, not to mention they beat Northern Illinois in the Independence Bowl for just the third bowl appearance by LT in their past 20 years.
The 4-8 record that Louisiana Tech put up in 2009 is misleading, as they had a very tough schedule. Surprisingly they managed to stay close in many of those games though. They went into halftime against Auburn only losing 13 to 10 and they played very impressively against many other big named teams such as LSU, Boise State, and Fresno State. As they only lost by a combined 20 points in those three games. Dooley had his team going in the right direction.
The reasons why I think he is a better choice for the job than Kiffin was last year is because he has proven that he can come into a program that is struggling and take them in the right direction, not to mention he is loyal to his team. The biggest factor that I think makes him a step up from Kiffin though, is that during the three seasons he coached at Louisiana Tech he also was the athletic director. That is really saying a lot about him. I couldn't imagine what it takes to do that, it's just unbelievable.
Even though many people who read this article are going to disagree with me, I truly do think that Dooley is a better fit for the job than Kiffin was.
I believe that Dooley will come into his first year at Tennessee and accomplish great things. I'm not saying that he will lead the team to a BCS game or anything like that, but I believe he will have this program back to being one of the nations elite a few years from now. Wow, I can't believe it but Mike Hamilton I believe you've made a great decision for once.
My expectations for Dooley are great, but I also at the same time realize their is a possibility of him turning to be a fluke like Kiffin was. So I guess only time will tell if Dooley will go down as a Tennessee great or end up like Kiffin, which is definitely not a good thing.
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