published Sunday, November 18th, 2012

Derek Dooley dismissed as Tennessee's football coach

Tennessee coach Derek Dooley watches the bench.
Tennessee coach Derek Dooley watches the bench.
Photo by Patrick Smith /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

KNOXVILLE -- Derek Dooley is done as Tennessee's football coach.

The university announced Sunday morning that Dooley, who went 15-21 and 4-19 in the SEC during his three years in Knoxville, will not return as coach, and offensive coordinator Jim Chaney will coach Saturday's season finale against Kentucky.

Athletic director Dave Hart will address the media at a news conference at 2 p.m. at Neyland Stadium.

"We very much appreciate the effort and energy that Derek Dooley and his staff have poured into our football program at the University of Tennessee," Hart said in the university's release. "Derek and I met early this morning, and I informed him that I believed a change in leadership, despite the positive contributions he has made to the overall health of the program, was in the best long-term interests of Tennessee football. We will immediately begin the search for the best possible candidate to assume this leadership role."

The players were called to a meeting at 11 a.m., where they were told Dooley would not return.

"I am sorry we could not generate enough wins to create hope for a brighter future," Dooley said in the release. "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. During the last 34 months, I've given my all for Tennessee, and our family appreciates all this University and the Knoxville community has given us."

Multiple sources told the Times Free Press after last Saturday's four-overtime loss to Missouri that Dooley would not return for his fourth season as the Vols' coach, but with the team still two wins in its last two games from reaching bowl eligibility, there was no announcement.

Saturday's night embarrassing 41-18 loss at cross-state upstart Vanderbilt knocked Tennessee out of a bowl game and ended Dooley's tenure with the Vols.

about Patrick Brown...

Patrick Brown has been the University of Tennessee beat writer since January 2011. A native of Memphis, Brown graduated from UT in May of 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Electronic Media and worked at the Knoxville News Sentinel for two years on the sports editorial staff and as a freelance contributor. If it’s the NBA, the NFL or SEC football and basketball, he’s probably reading about it or watching it on TV. Contact him ...

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