There are rumors all over the internet about Derek Dooley’s imminent demise as Tennessee football coach, but Dooley says that Tennessee Athletic Director Dave Hart has told him otherwise. Per Knoxnews.com, Dooley met with Hart on Sunday and according to Dooley:
“(Hart) told me he had not made a decision.”
“Everybody said I was fired, and I didn’t know it. I was working on Vandy,” Dooley said of the reports on Sunday. “And I had already talked to Dave Hart.”
Even if this is the case, Dooley clearly didn’t get a ringing endorsement from his boss. While hearing Hart say that he has not made a decision may be good news to Dooley at this point, Dooley may very well be out of time to make his case for staying on at Tennessee. This probably doesn’t surprise anyone who has followed SEC football the last couple of years. While Tennessee was far from the team that they were in the 1990s and early 2000s under Philip Fulmer when Dooley took over, the team is now 4-18 in SEC games under Dooley. It’s tough to sell that kind of conference record in Knoxville, particularly this year with an offense that features legitimate NFL prospects at quarterback (Tyler Bray), and wide receiver (Justin Hunter). I wanted to see Dooley succeed because he seemed like the right man for the Volunteers’ job when he took over for Lane Kiffin in 2010, but it appears that Dooley just wasn’t ready to make the leap from the WAC to the SEC.