Derek Dooley Fired: So What's Next for Derek Dooley

By M. Shannon Smallwood

So it is official…

The Tennessee Volunteers have finally fired Derek Dooley after an embarrassing 41-18 loss to in-state and SEC rival the Vanderbilt Commodores.

Losing to a conference foe just a few hours from Knoxville, Tennessee, obviously is a death nail in the Vols recruiting efforts and Dooley’s career.

Now, did Dooley get a fare shake at trying to turn things around at Tennessee?

Probably not…

Dooley inherited more than just a mess…

He walked in the front door only to find out his new love was shooting up meth next to a dumpster fire she had started in the middle of Neyland Stadium…

It was simply worse than he had ever imagined.

But under his watch, the Volunteers were 15-21 overall, only 4-19 in the SEC and lost its only Bowl Game in 2010.

And in today’s College Football, winning is everything…

“I am sorry we could not generate enough wins to create hope for a brighter future,” Dooley said in a released 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.”

There is no doubt Dooley is a class act that just took on a clean up job that was too big of a mess for him to handle.

So while the rest of Tennessee Nation is getting all hot and bothered about John Gruden, Tommy Tubberville, David Cutcliffe or Phillip Fulmer 2.0, it must be addressed what is the next great job for Dooley.

There is no doubt there was more to Dooley than just looking like a champ in those orange slacks and there are a lot of teams who will be transitioning in 2013 who need to keep Dooley high on their search list.

First of all, Dooley is getting $5 million in his buyout deal so there will not be a need to rush to any decisions.

He may very well end up in the Former Head Coaches Detention Hall also known as ESPN for a year to “weigh his options”.

But, if he chooses to stay in the game, there are three schools that need to look to Dooley.

One, the California Bears would be a great change for Dooley and his family. Plus, the drama of having Lane Kiffin and Dooley squaring off each season would be epic.

Second, the Boston College Eagles. It is pretty obvious that Dooley can coach up talent but had a hard time keeping talented babies focused at Tennessee. He will be able to recruit ACC Football talent and could be a huge success in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.

Third, Illinois Fighting Illini would also be a great fit for Dooley. A program where nothing is expected and things simply cannot get worse. Plus there is not the history or expectation to try and turn a heap of crap around in less than three years. Oh was it mentioned it is the Big 10 and everyone knows how easy it can be to win in the Big 10.

None of these jobs are officially open, but guesses are they will be here in the next few weeks.

And there is also no doubt that Dooley deserving and will be successful at his next stop.



M Shannon Smallwood has over 10 years of experience in broadcasting and journalism in professional baseball and college athletics and is the ACC Football Guru, SEC Voice of Reason and College Football Comedian for Rant Sports. He is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the US Basketball Writers Association.

Follow him @woodysmalls.

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