Tennessee hires Louisiana Tech's Derek Dooley as head coach

Tennessee hires Louisiana Tech's Derek Dooley as head football coach

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"I'm not going to sell this program and what we're about to do in a sound bite," Derek Dooley said Friday night. "I'm not going to sell this program and what we're about to do in a sound bite," Derek Dooley said Friday night.

KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- Derek Dooley was introduced Friday night as the University of Tennessee's head football coach.

He replaces Lane Kiffin, who left UT abruptly just four days ago to become head coach at the University of Southern California.

Dooley, 42, resigned Friday afternoon from his dual positions of head football coach and athletics director at Louisiana Tech. Louisiana Tech President Daniel Reneau said he wishes Dooley well.

"I'm grateful for them for the opportunity they gave me," Dooley said of his time at Louisiana Tech. "It was a program that had been struggling. It was a program that hadn't made a lot of investment in football, and I'm very proud of what we did in three years."

As Dooley continued during his meeting with the media Friday night, he seemed to acknowledge that some fans may question his coaching ability because he's coming from a team with only one winning season in three years.

"I'm sure had I stayed with Nick [Saban at Alabama] that I might have been a more popular candidate for this job now," he said. "I'm certain that I'm a better and more qualified candidate by doing what I did the last three years."

Hamilton and other officials from Tennessee met with Dooley on the Louisiana Tech campus Thursday and Friday. After agreeing to terms late Friday afternoon, Dooley flew to Knoxville to meet his new team and the news media.

"I'm not going to sell this program and what we're about to do in a sound bite. It's impossible," he told the media. "I can tell you this, everything we do is going to be with a foundation of integrity in every aspect of the program. We're going to represent this institution with class, on and off the field, and we're going to be a fun team to watch."

Dooley is the son of former Georgia head coach and athletic director Vince Dooley.

He credited his father for "forging a philosophy, forging a value set."

Reports say Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, who coached with Dooley at LSU from 2001-04, recommended Dooley to Tennessee after making it clear he would stay at Texas.

Dooley was a recruiting coordinator and an assistant coach at LSU under then-head coach Nick Saban.

"I was with Coach Saban five years at LSU and two years at the [Miami] Dolphins, and really thrived in his way of doing things," Dooley said. "I'm very grateful for the opportunity he gave me in wearing so many hats with him."

"I have respect for the people he's worked with and knew he's been prepared well for this moment," Hamilton said.

Dooley is 17-20 in three seasons at Louisiana Tech with a 12-12 record in the Western Athletic Conference. The only winning season was 2008 when the Bulldogs went 8-5 and 5-3 in the conference, and won the Independence Bowl.

He took over as athletic director at Louisiana Tech in March 2008.

Dooley has a law degree from Georgia and a bachelor's degree in government and foreign affairs from Virginia, where he played wide receiver.

Hamilton's road to finding a replacement for Kiffin was long with many turns. In addition to Muschamp, several other coaches were reported to have been approached, if not interviewed, for the job.

Vols interim head coach Kippy Brown acknowledged he was candidate for the job. It's not clear yet if Brown will remain on the Vols staff.

Dooley refused to say Friday what his plans were for his staff.

Duke head coach and former Tennessee offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe said Friday morning he's staying at Duke.

Another coach reportedly under consideration, Air Force Academy head coach Troy Calhoun, said Thursday he's staying with the Falcons.

A Salt Lake City newspaper reported Friday that Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham was offered the job at Tennessee, but turned it down.

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