Derek Dooley Loses 7th Coach In One Offseason

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Derek Dooley, the 15th best coach in a 14 team SEC, today lost his seventh assistant coach in the same offseason when recruiting coordinator and defensive backs coach Terry Joseph abandoned ship for Nebraska.

His seventh.

The only thing worse than losing seven coaches?

None of them left for better jobs. (And none of them was the actual problem, head coach Derek Dooley.)

All of them left for lateral positions at best. Often at inferior programs.

This is an unheard of level of coaching change in one offseason. Right now Dooley returns just two coaches that were on his staff last year — presumably neither of these men could find jobs anywhere else.

Why are all these coaches leaving?

It’s simple, they have no faith in Derek Dooley’s ability to win football games at Tennessee. Or in Dooley’s future as a coach at the university.

Remember all those Dool-Aid drinkers screaming for stability when I said it was clear Dooley wasn’t the answer? Tennessee has lost more coaches now that it lost when Lane Kiffin bolted a few weeks before signing day.

Yeah, so much for stability on rocky top.

Dooley’s so wobbly even Mitt Romney thinks he needs a backbone.

Add in the fact that Dooley’s recruiting class tanked down the stretch, that the program’s most reliable on field wide receiver Da’Rick Rodgers is currently on some sort of double secret probation and not working out with the team, and that Las Vegas, a place not known for its gambling failures, has Tennessee as the 12th best team in a 14 team SEC, and you’re talking about a Volpocalypse in 2012.

Yet, the Dool-Aid drinkers — a minority of Vol fans in love with orange pants and immaculately coiffed hair, Dooley’s two best accomplishments at UT — continue to sip their mind-altering punch and argue that an 11-14 coach is close to turning the corner. That a coach with a losing record in the WAC and a losing record in the SEC is somehow going to turn into General Neyland after the two worst  back to back years in a century of UT football.

They continue to make illogical and irrational excuses and arguments rather than acknowledge a definitive truth — Derek Dooley is not and never has been worthy of this job.

Tennessee fan excuses for why these coaches left:

1. We fired all these coaches for losing to Kentucky.

No, sigh, no, you didn’t.

They left because they work for a man who couldn’t beat a 4-7 Kentucky team playing a wide receiver at quarterback.

They left because they have to feed their families.

They left because next year they won’t have jobs.

2. Nick Saban endorsed Derek Dooley as head coach!

Yeah, and I’m sure a bunch of Leonardo Da Vinci’s assistants got pretty good jobs back in the day too.

How many of them have you heard of?

Genius doesn’t pass by osmosis. If it did William Faulkner’s typist would have won the Nobel Prize too.

3. How many other 5-7 coaches ended up with the 17th best recruiting class in the nation?

Seriously, this is an argument that Vol fans still in love with Derek Dooley make.

So I’ll play along.

Nick Saban ended up with the best class in the nation. You think Derek Dooley and crew are outcoaching him? If you have worse players that’s the only hope, right?

You think Dooley and his newly fashioned coaching crew are outscheming the six other SEC schools that outrecruited him this year?

4. We stole Nick Saban’s linebackers coach!

Oh, no. 


How will Alabama ever recover? 

If only there was direct evidence that stealing Alabama’s linebackers coach doesn’t benefit Tennessee at all and provides no detriment to Alabama. 

Wait, what? Tennessee already did this under Lane Kiffin and Alabama won two national titles without linebackers coach Lance Thompson and now he’s back there again replacing Sal Sunseri, the new Saban linebackers coach we just hired and promoted?


News flash, I could be Nick Saban’s linebackers coach and look like a genius.  

5. Go sleep with James Franklin, Clay!

This has become the Dooley fan version of Alabama’s “your gay.”

Sadly, I can’t sleep with James Franklin. Our wikipedia marriage — man, what a trustworthy research tool! — doesn’t exist any longer and like Tim Tebow I don’t believe in sex outside of marriage.

I do believe, however, that Derek Dooley wears James Franklin pajamas.  

6. No one could win at Tennessee, it’s a lost cause.

If you truly believe this defeatist argument, then start up a petition to join the Big East.

Of course what will the Dool-aid drinkers say when Dooley can’t even win the Big East?

D-2 here we come!

7. “Your grandfather who played at UT for General Neyland would be ashamed at you for turning on the program, Clay!”

 Seriously, I get this from the most drunken of the Dool-aid sippers.

And you’re wrong.

My grandfather wanted to win.

Actual games.

Not moral victories.

Put it this way, he didn’t go to UT to celebrate beating Vanderbilt.

8. Our new coaches are all better now!

No, they aren’t.

They’re less proven. And they have no relationship with the current players. In fact, no position coach is the same as last year.

Changing assistant coaches when Derek Dooley is still at the helm of the program is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Everyone who can is rushing to the lifeboats and pushing away. The sorry bastards left behind are the ones that can’t escape.

Continuing this metaphor, losing to Kentucky was Vol football’s iceberg. Once that happened, the team was foredoomed to failure.  

9. What did Derek Dooley ever do to you?

Nothing, he’s just not very good at the job that he’s well paid to be very good at.

I like Derek Dooley personally.

Hell, I’d rather he was Governor than our present Governor in the state. But I don’t want him coaching my fooball team. And neither do the other 13 programs in the SEC.

Which, if you take off the orange colored glasses, is pretty instructive.

10. I’m a VFL!

“That’s Vol For Life. Clay!”

I can play the acronym game too.

You know what VFL also stands for?

Vol For Losing.

Which is what anyone still supporting Derek Dooley really is.

Get your popcorn ready, the Voltanic has taken on water and it’s a slow descent into icy waters. The only real question that remains is this, will Dooley’s hair move when he goes down with the ship? 

Written by Clay Travis

Clay Travis is the founder of the fastest growing national multimedia platform, OutKick, that produces and distributes engaging content across sports and pop culture to millions of fans across the country. OutKick was created by Travis in 2011 and sold to the Fox Corporation in 2021.

One of the most electrifying and outspoken personalities in the industry, Travis hosts OutKick The Show where he provides his unfiltered opinion on the most compelling headlines throughout sports, culture, and politics. He also makes regular appearances on FOX News Media as a contributor providing analysis on a variety of subjects ranging from sports news to the cultural landscape. Throughout the college football season, Travis is on Big Noon Kickoff for Fox Sports breaking down the game and the latest storylines.

Additionally, Travis serves as a co-host of The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, a three-hour conservative radio talk program syndicated across Premiere Networks radio stations nationwide.

Previously, he launched OutKick The Coverage on Fox Sports Radio that included interviews and listener interactions and was on Fox Sports Bet for four years. Additionally, Travis started an iHeartRadio Original Podcast called Wins & Losses that featured in-depth conversations with the biggest names in sports.

Travis is a graduate of George Washington University as well as Vanderbilt Law School. Based in Nashville, he is the author of Dixieland Delight, On Rocky Top, and Republicans Buy Sneakers Too.


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