After an ugly loss against Vanderbilt yesterday, the plug was pulled. Derek Dooley has been fired from Tennessee. He will not coach next week’s game against Kentucky. Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney will coach the team this coming Saturday.
“I’m sorry we could not generate enough wins to help 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.”
Despite a $5 million buyout if fired before February 15, 2013, the Vols program needed a change. Tennessee is too good a program to go 0-7 in SEC play – especially during the third year of Dooley’s tenure that was expected to be a promising season.
“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 the release. “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.”
Dooley was 15-21 as the Vols’ coach. He was 4-19 against SEC teams and 0-15 against Top 25 teams. The Vols are 1-14 in the SEC during the last two seasons.
This now makes three SEC programs with head coaching vacancies (Arkansas & Kentucky) heading into the off-season. The other program still considered to possibly make a change at the head coach is Auburn.