Latest UT loss casts shadow on Derek Dooley's future

Latest UT loss casts shadow on Derek Dooley's future

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Derek Dooley walks off the field Saturday after the Vols lose to Missouri 51-48 in overtime. Derek Dooley walks off the field Saturday after the Vols lose to Missouri 51-48 in overtime.

By MIKE KRAFCIK
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The future of Tennessee Volunteers head football coach Derek Dooley is uncertain after another loss Saturday.

Volquest.com and the Chattanooga Times Free Press repoted Sunday Dooley is finished as Tennessee's head coach. Despite that, the coach had a message for his staff, saying he hasn't been fired.  

It is clear the third-year coach is on thin ice after Saturday's loss to Missouri. a game in which the Vols held a 21-7 lead at one point. Such a loss may have eroded any popular support Dooley once had.  

There are mixed feelings from Vol Nation about if, and when, Dooley should be let go.  

"You certainly hate to see a UT coach fail," Knoxville resident Brad Kuester said. "We all wanted him to succeed."

Saturday's game was arguably Dooley's most disappointing loss in his coaching career. Not only was there a blown lead, but also a questionable decision at the end of regulation.  

"He should have called some timeouts that he didn't call," UT junior Olivia Baird said. "That ultimately comes down to coaching."

"I think I'm like most people," Kuester said. "I wanted to give him a chance, but I think after that game, it looks like we'll have to cut ties."    

With Dooley still winless in 2012 SEC play, it seems many fans have had enough. The only opinion that matters, however, is that of Tennessee Athletic Director Dave Hart.    

"It's really heart-wrenching when you're a fan and a student, and you see your team lose every single game," Baird said. "I haven't even gone to games the past couple of times, because I feel it's a waste of my time and my money."  

"It just hasn't this bad as far as people taking shots at our head coach since I've been a Vol," said Sterling Henton, former Tennessee quarterback from 1987-1991.  

Henton said the Dooley backlash is even greater than the opinion of fans during former head coach Philip Fulmer's departure in 2008.  

Regardless of Dooley's future after the 2012 season, Henton said Dooley should finish out the season.

"If you're going to make a decision to bring in another coach, you let the season play out. You let the coach finish what he started, and you let the coach do his thing," Henton said.  

Not everyone is ready to let Dooley go. Some still hold out hope.

"I think they should actually give him another chance, see he can keep at it," UT junior William Beck said. "He has time to get to know the players more and get to work with them more." 

The Vols can still become eligible to play in a postseason bowl, but only if they win their remaining two games.

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