By Anthony Caruso III
The Capital Sports Report
Owner/Managing Editor/Sr. Writer
Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley has been fired, effective immediately.
The school announced this morning that they have fired Dooley after 2 1/2 seasons. He had the school’s longest run of consecutive losing seasons in over a century.
He will receive a $5 million dollar buyout from the school. He had four years remaining on his contract at the time of this firing.
He had a 15-21 overall record at Tennessee. He was 0-15 against Top 25 teams.
He was also 4-19 in the Southeastern Conference and had lost 14 of their last 15 conference games.
“We very much appreciate the effort and energy that Derek Dooley and his staff have poured into our football program at the University of Tennessee,” athletic director Dave Hart said in a statement. “Derek and I met early this morning, and I informed him that I believed a change in leadership, despite the positive contributions he has made to the overall health of the program, was in the best long-term interests of Tennessee football. We will immediately begin the search for the best possible candidate to assume this leadership role.”
At 2 pm today, the school will hold a news conference. Dooley will be replaced by offensive coordinator Jim Chaney for the Kentucky game.
The team must win on Saturday against Kentucky to avoid going winless in SEC play. It would be the first time that the Vols have went winless in SEC play in school history.
Yesterday, the Vols lost 41-18 to in-state rival Vanderbilt to give the school their third consecutive losing season. It is the first time that they have finished below .500 in three straight years since 1909-1911.
In addition, it is the first time the school has not reached a bowl game in back-to-back seasons since 1978. They missed four straight bowl games from 1975-1978.
“I am sorry we could not generate enough wins to create hope for a brighter future,” Dooley said in a statement. “Although progress was not reflected in our record, I am proud of the strides we made to strengthen the foundation for future success in all areas of the program. During the last 34 months, I’ve given my all for Tennessee, and our family appreciates all this University and the Knoxville community has given us.”
With Dooley now fired, the team will be on their fourth head coach in six years. Philip Fulmer was fired in 2008 after a 17-year tenure. Then, in 2009, Lane Kiffin left after one year for Southern California. Now, Dooley left after 2 full seasons and part of a third season.
“I don’t think you can say where this program is on one game,” Dooley said after the game. “We’ve had a lot of really good games that we didn’t win this year, so the program is certainly not near where we need to be. It’s not anywhere close to where the fans want it to be, but it’s probably a little bit better than what people think it is. That’s how I would assess it.”
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