Derek Dooley, son of former Georgia coach Vince Dooley, left Louisiana Tech to coach Tennessee. Dooley replaces Lane Kiffin, who departed to replace Pete Carroll at USC.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Derek Dooley has the Southern accent, the coaching pedigree and is doing his best to reassure Tennessee fans their new coach appreciates where he is working.
“How can you ask for anything more than the University of Tennessee?” Dooley said Friday.
The son of former Georgia coach Vince Dooley was introduced as the Vols’ second new coach in 14 months, replacing Lane Kiffin days after Kiffin left for USC to replace Pete Carroll. Among Dooley’s first challenges will be reassuring fans and players that he wants to be at Tennessee.
“The times of worrying about what happened is over,” the 41-year-old Dooley said.
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Dooley was offered the job late Friday afternoon, resigned as coach and athletic director of Louisiana Tech and took a flight to Knoxville for the news conference. He had a 17-20 record at Tech, where he was the lone coach in major-college football to also serve as AD.
Dooley previously worked for several years on the staff of Nick Saban at Louisiana State and with the NFL Miami Dolphins.
“Everything we’re going to do is going to be done with a foundation of integrity with every aspect of the program,” Dooley said. “We’re going to represent this institution with class, on and off the field.”
Dooley was hired from a list of candidates believed to include Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, Air Force coach Troy Calhoun, Duke coach David Cutcliffe and Utah coach Kyle Whittingham.
Cutcliffe considered his options late Thursday before telling Duke athletic director Kevin White he planned to stay with the Blue Devils, where he is 9-15 in two seasons.
“As much as my stomach’s hurt the last two days,” Cutcliffe said, “I hope it means a lot going forward.”
Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton said, “I’ve talked to a number of folks over the past 24 hours. He (Dooley) has been described as very intelligent, intense, disciplined, hard-nosed, a tenacious recruiter, a family guy and extremely well-organized.”
Gerhart to exit
STANFORD, Calif. — Heisman Trophy runner-up Toby Gerhart announced, as expected, he will enter the NFL draft instead of staying at Stanford for a fifth season.
Gerhart ran for a school-record 1,871 yards and a nation-leading 28 touchdowns in the 2009 season.
• Other players declaring for the draft were Arizona tight end Rob Gronkowski and Alabama cornerback Kareem Jackson.
Meanwhile, UCLA kicker Kai Forbath is returning for his senior season.
• Georgia Tech hired former Virginia coach Al Groh, 65, as its defensive coordinator.
• Todd Grantham, 43, who coaches defensive linemen for the NFL Dallas Cowboys, agreed to a three-year contract worth $750,000 annually to become Georgia’s defensive coordinator. The school fired Willie Martinez on Dec. 2.