You have to admire Derek Dooley. He’s been nothing but open and honest since he was fired from Tennessee in 2012.
Up until that point, everything he had done in his coaching career had worked, and following his tenure in Knoxville, he became the Dallas Cowboys receivers coach. Now, he’s back in the SEC as the offensive coordinator at Missouri.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Dave Matter recently sat down with Dooley for an insightful Q&A, and he opened up about his time at Tennessee.
“More than anything it was the first time in my career,” Dooley told the outlet. “I was 44 at the time (I was fired) and up to that point everything worked. Like we all do, you get a little ‘I got this.’ You think you can succeed at anything. It was very humbling. I learned a lot. There’s a lot of little things I would have done differently. There’s a lot of big things I certainly would have done differently. Would it have changed the outcome? Who knows, because there’s so many variables out of your control.”
Dooley went on to tell Matter about Tennessee giving him the biggest gift he could have received: a real dose of humility.
“More than anything, it was really healthy for me to be humbled,” Dooley continued. “It was. We all need it in our life. In some ways what Tennessee gave me was the biggest gift you can give anybody, a real dose of humility. I think it’s changed how I approach things and how I deal with people and how I handle when things aren’t always perfect. You have a great perspective on things and control what you can control and not get worked up, focus on what matters most. I’m a micromanager by personality. That’s what Nick has always done great. He puts (his focus) on recruiting and ball. All the other stuff takes care of itself.”
Dooley finished 15-21 as the head coach for Tennessee, including a forgetful 4-19 SEC record; however, now, he arguably has the best QB in college football to coach, and his offense could certainly put up some crooked numbers.
If he has success at Missouri, it’ll be interesting to see if he ever looks at becoming a college head coach again.
You can read the full Q&A here.