Tennessee just hired the exact opposite of Lane Kiffin, who himself replaced his exact opposite when Phil Fulmer was run out of town. Tennessee fan, meet Derek Dooley, the least exciting hire ever. This doesn’t mean he’ll suck, mind you, just that I can think of about 50 people who would have made a more interesting hire than Dooley.
But the Vols are hoping they’ve remedied the Kiffin Debacle with Dooley: a coach who is perfectly qualified for his job, holds a law degree, was the athletic director and head coach at his previous job, has an SEC pedigree (dad coached at Georgia and Dooley worked for Nick Saban at LSU), cares about integrity and honesty, and has not one flashy bone in his body.
At least when Auburn hired Gene Chizik last year, it made headlines because it was such a hilariously bad hire and because Chizik put together a really good staff (including personal favorite of mine, Gus Malzahn).
Otherwise, all UT did today was hire a guy who used to be a Saban assistant at LSU and went 4-8 this past year at Louisiana Tech. Oh but hey, they won the Independence Bowl in 2008, so you know, Vols fan can relax.
Basically, Tennesee re-hired Phil Fulmer in his early 40’s, only Dooley wasn’t any good as a player and didn’t play at Tennessee. But otherwise all the nondescript-Southern-white-coach traits are there. And maybe that’s the point.
All Tennessee has had is Johnny Majors and Phil Fulmer, who freaking played for Majors. I think UT is done with flashy hires and big talk. They seem to much rather want to be the one SEC program that isn’t talking crazy before they’ve even played a game (I never bought that “crazy like a fox” act from Kiffin) or running some fancy spread offense like those pricks in Starkville and Gainesville.
And I, for one, applaud UT for that. Recruiting was never a problem for Majors, Fulmer, or Kiffin, so there’s no need to get a guy who goes nuts in the press. UT needs Dooley to make his players improve and play better. The system doesn’t matter, just the coach and the kids on the field. Frankly, Lane Kiffin never fit in there anyway.