published Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

Derek Dooley's dilemma

Derek Dooley, the former University of Tennessee head football coach, can be credited with several winning characteristics. He demanded better character and discipline from his players. He took the blame for the team's losses. And, he built a program that seemed tantalizingly close to breaking out as a winner. Unfortunately, he couldn't win quickly enough.

Indeed, his termination Sunday seemed a given the last few weeks. Despite being within a touchdown in the fourth quarter in five earlier SEC losses, his team couldn't manage to win the most crucial contests. Even the staggering 41-18 loss to Vanderbilt Saturday that nailed his firing came as no surprise. The inevitable line of forgiveness had been breached.

Still, we wish Dooley well. After Lane Kiffin's quick, fickle flight to the University of Southern California, Dooley was a welcome change.

The SEC's relentless focus on competitive parity and lucrative television contracts, however, demands a coach who wins quickly. Character, commitment and effort are not quite enough, and that's a pity.

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