UT football's luster measured following Dooley's dismissal

UT football's luster measured following Dooley's dismissal

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With Derek Dooley's dismissal, Tennessee will have four coaches in six years leaving some people wondering if Tennessee has lost its luster as a prominent football program. With Derek Dooley's dismissal, Tennessee will have four coaches in six years leaving some people wondering if Tennessee has lost its luster as a prominent football program.

By MIKE KRAFCIK
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE)- With Derek Dooley's dismissal, Tennessee will have four coaches in six years leaving some people wondering if Tennessee has lost its luster as a prominent football program.

Many say there's no doubt the program is on the down swing.

Considering all Tennessee coaches who have lasted at least three seasons, Dooley had the worst win percentage in school history.

"You talk about Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, LSU when you're talking about the SEC, those names are always mentioned. In the last three to four years, Tennessee has not been mentioned in those names," said Charlie Morgan, a board member with the Knoxville Quarterback Club.

Dooley's departure came as UT's losses continued to pile up. Dooley finished with a 0-7 record in SEC this year, and 4-19 in his 3 year tenure as the Vols head coach.

Some feel that the losses are beginning to make the program irrelevant.

"We're 0-7 in the SEC. I've been going to games since the mid 50s, I don't know if I've ever been 0-7. We're playing for last place in the SEC. That's terrible," said Morgan.

"I don't think there's a question that its [the program] has lost its luster. This is the first time since 1909 through 1911 that Tennessee has had three consecutive losing football seasons," said Russell Smith, sports director for 100.3 WNOX.

"That's hard times for a program that was accustomed to competing for championships on a year by year basis for the last 20 or 30 years," said Smith.  

Smith said the fans have a legitimate reason to be concerned about the current state of UT football. Smith believes Athletic Director Dave Hart needs to make the right hire.  

"They can't go swing and miss again. They have to go and find the right guy for the job, a guy who can win, a guy who's going to get the fans excited-- buying tickets, attending the game, showing an interest in the program year round," Smith said.

By many accounts, Dooley inherited a bad situation after replacing Lane Kiffin in 2010.  

Smith said Dooley leaves the program in better situation than it was three seasons ago.

"Coach Dooley ran a clean program. He got the numbers back up. I think there's more talent on the roster than when he first got here. I think the next guy, whoever it is going to be, will inherit a better situation than Dooley did," Smith said.  

The Vols won at least eight games for 16 consecutive seasons from 1989-2004 and posted double-digit wins in nine of those years, but they haven't earned more than seven victories in any of their last five seasons.  

This will mark Tennessee's fifth losing season over the last eight years.

Tennessee must beat Kentucky on Saturday to avoid going winless in SEC play for the first time in school history.

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