After striking out on plans A, B, C, and reportedly contemplating a Back to the Future plan wherein Phil Fulmer makes a dramatic return, it appears Tennessee is hiring a WAC coach who went 4-8 this year. Your lottery winner is Derek Dooley, who’s the head coach of a school so obscure that he’s his own athletic director. (How did I do this year, boss? Well, I do declare that was the most scintillating four win season I have ever seen!) In three years as a head coach, Dooley’s main accomplishment is finishing second in the WAC in 2008.
Never let it be said that Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton isn’t a man of principle. If he wants a radically underqualified coach whose main asset is his daddy’s reputation, by God, Tennessee will have a radically underqualified coach whose main asset is his daddy’s reputation. Derek’s father happens to be Vince Dooley,
The hire is a missed opportunity for many reasons. If it was Phil Fulmer, we would have seen a new world record for most deservedly smug press conference. If it was Troy Calhoun, we would have gotten to make Troy McClure jokes as long as he was employed there (“You may remember me from such playcalls as That Triple Option For Two Yards and That Other Triple Option For Two Yards”). And if Tennessee had hired David Cutcliffe we finally would have gotten a hire that made any damn sense at all. Cutcliffe is
the most successful coach at Ole Miss in recent history,
one of the architects of Tennessee’s long run of success under Phil Fulmer,
a guy who turned Duke from a sad-sack team that had won one ACC game in three years to a considerably less sad-sack team on the verge of bowl eligibility, and
not prone to embarrassing himself and his employers at every opportunity.