Volunteers head coach Derek Dooley has officially been released from his position with the program following yet another SEC loss, this time in blowout fashion at the hands of Vanderbilt, 41-18.
Dooley is the second head coach in the SEC to be fired in 2012, following the release of Joker Phillips from the same capacity at Kentucky.
However, whereas Phillips has been allowed to stay aboard with the Wildcats through the culmination of the season, members of Volunteer Nation sick of seeing those hideous orange pants crutching around on the sidelines no longer will have to do so.
Jimmy Hyams of WNFL is reporting that Dooley’s firing is effective immediately, meaning the beat down at the hands of traditional SEC doormat Vandy will be the final game he coaches for the once-proud program.
The son of legendary Georgia coach Vince Dooley, Derek lasted fewer than three seasons in Knoxville, where he won just four SEC games in 23 attempts and had an overall record of 15-21. Athletics director Dave Hart will announce the firing at a news conference Sunday afternoon.
“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.”
Hired out of Louisiana Tech, where he had compiled a 17-20 record, the Tennessee hiring was seen as that of a young and promising head coach from the Nick Saban coaching tree. There was also more than a hint of desperation in the hiring, as Lane Kiffin, the son of legendary coach Monte Kiffin, bolted Knoxville after just one year for Southern Cal.
Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney will serve as the team’s interim head coach. The Vol’s season finale comes against Kentucky, which may have served as the chance Dooley needed to collect his first conference win after the Vanderbilt defeat left his program at 0-7 in the conference. Ironically enough, the two programs will face off having both released their head coaches in 2012.
Should the Wildcats, in Phillips’ final game with the program, beat Tennessee, it will be the first time since 1924 the Vols finish with zero conference wins, and the first time since joining the SEC.
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