What then, when the days grow cold and we grow old, will we say of Derek Dooley?
Yes, sadly, you’re right.
Whether Dooley will be remembered at all, is a moot point.
Personally, it would have amazed me if his fragile brand of coaching brilliance translated well to college football – can anyone see him out recruiting James Franklin for an in state recruit?
No, from this point, the most likely fate for Dooley after his abrupt departure is to pick up a lucrative contract in the NFL or work in the new BCS playoff committee and relatively quickly fade from view.
Still, what a season 2012 was! And what a strange lead-in …
He first came to the attention of the SEC football community when he came to Tennessee out of La Tech in 2009, and nearly scored a breath-taking win over LSU in Baton Rouge. He just forgot that he is only allowed to play eleven players on defense, not thirteen.
We then had the bewildering episode a couple of years later of him creating a new Vols tradition of the “orange ceramic dog”.
Dooley could send a bolt of electricity through every seat in the stadium, every time he called or didn’t call a time-out (2012 Missouri?).
But could he cope with the pressures that come from being for a brief time the most exciting coach in the SEC? Decidedly, no.
From the Kentucky loss in 2011 on, his coaching life has been a litany of injuries, unkempt hair and ever more bizarre and wounding public comments – with all the wounds showing up on his own career and reputation.
Look, none of us will ever know how devastating it would be to find yourself, in Neyland Stadium – being hooted and booed by 100,000 people as you ran through the “T”, it was obvious in 2012 that Dooley could not master the situation.
A devastating hip injury nearly provided the full-stop to a very ordinary year.
What little we had seen of Dooley on the field this year has shown a coach no more than a shadow of what he was in 2010, and all of his headlines have come from the “toxic” pressers, and all the rest. It is all rather sad.
Sometime, somewhere, someone needed to sit him down and say, “Derek, you have more raw talent in your little finger than most coaches have in their whole bodies, but, in the end that is not enough. You have to get a grip, my man, settle down, coach hard, work on developing game decisions and every time you feel like talking some shit to anyone, do a hundred sit-ups and a hundred push-ups until the urge passes.”
That appears not to have happened.
So what will we say? I think it will be something like this:
On his day, Dooley was a breathtakingly brilliant coach, a streak of light across the sky in an otherwise dull Tuscaloosa night. The pity is he could not have shone stronger for longer.
Good luck, Derek. You will catch the lightening in the sky someday.
- Dooley Keeps Player’s Best Interest at Heart (loserswithsocks.com)
- Did Dooley get fired or did he quit? (loserswithsocks.com)
- Dooley expects no sympathy (loserswithsocks.com)