Like father, like son

Proving that pedigree trumps winning percentage, Tennessee's football program is about to be guided by the son of a highly regarded coach ... again.

Like Shirley Majors' son Johnny (1977-92) and Monte Kiffin's son Lane (2009) before him, new Vol head man Derek Dooley comes to The Hill with impressive bloodlines. His father, Vince, was so successful at Georgia from 1964 to '88 that he is now enshrined in the Football Foundation Hall of Fame.

Vince's 105 Southeastern Conference victories trail just two coaches - Bear Bryant, who won 159 games at Kentucky and Alabama combined, and John Vaught, who won 106 games at Ole Miss. Vince's .713 winning percentage in SEC play ranks among the top 10 all-time, as well.

Derek Dooley - who UT confirmed will be introduced as the new head man at 9 o'clock tonight - compiled a modest 17-20 record at Louisiana Tech prior to answering the Vols' call. Still, that's significantly better than predecessor Kiffin, who was 5-15 in one-plus seasons guiding the NFL's Oakland Raiders. Even Majors, who came to UT off a national title at Pittsburgh, went just 57-43-2 at Iowa State and Pitt prior to taking the Vol reins.

Tennessee didn't hire Derek Dooley based on his father's exploits, of course. He has some impressive credentials of his own. After three years as receivers coach/assistant recruiting coordinator at SMU, he served as recruiting coordinator at LSU from 2001-04, helping Nick Saban reel in top-ranked signing classes in '01 and '03. Dooley also served as the Tigers' tight ends coach for two years (2001, 2002) and their running backs/special teams coach for two years (2003, 2004).

Following Saban to the NFL's Miami Dolphins, Dooley served as tight ends coach in 2005 and 2006. He parted with Saban at this point to become head man at Louisiana Tech in 2007.

Mere months after going 5-7 in his debut season as a head coach, Dooley took on the additional title of athletics director. Despite the increased workload, he guided the 2008 Bulldogs to an 8-5 record that included an Independence Bowl defeat of Northern Illinois.

Although Dooley's 2009 team slipped to a 4-8 record, it played competitively in losses to LSU (24-16), Boise State (45-35) and Fresno State (30-28).

Interestingly enough, the hiring of Dooley follows a similar model to the hiring of Kiffin. Consider:

- Kiffin had less than two years' experience as a head coach. Dooley has three years' experience as a head man.

- Kiffin was 33 years old when UT tabbed him. Dooley is 42.

- Kiffin served under a high-profile head coach in Southern Cal's Pete Carroll. Dooley cut his coaching teeth under a high-profile head coach in Nick Saban.

- Kiffin has a great reputation as a recruiter. Dooley is noted as a superior talent scout, as well.

- Kiffin coached one-plus seasons in the NFL, which is a nice recruiting tool. Dooley coached two seasons in the NFL.

- Kiffin is a firm believer in the importance of a strong ground attack. Dooley's philosophy also is rooted in the run game.

- Kiffin took the UT job for $2 million per year, which was less money than predecessor Phillip Fulmer was making. Dooley will not be a costly hire, either, based on his reported Louisiana Tech salary of roughly $500,000 per year.


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