Tennessee’s whirlwind search for a coach ended yesterday with the Volunteers hiring Derek Dooley of Louisiana Tech.
Like his predecessor - Lane Kiffin - he comes with a short head coaching résumé.
The son of former Georgia coach Vince Dooley, Derek Dooley went 17-20 in three seasons at Louisiana Tech and was the only coach in major college football to also serve as his school’s athletic director. He holds a law degree and previously worked for several years under Nick Saban at LSU and with the Miami Dolphins.
“Derek is one of the bright young coaches in America. He understands our league and the competitive environment in which we compete,’’ Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton said. “He took a very difficult first head coaching job and has made significant strides there in a short period of time.’’
“Louisiana Tech University and the Ruston community will always hold a special place in my heart,’’ Dooley said in a statement yesterday. “The foundation for success has been established and a bright future lies ahead for the university and the athletics program.’’
The Volunteers hired him just days after Kiffin abruptly quit, bolting to Southern California only 14 months into his tenure with the Vols.
Louisiana Tech named offensive coordinator Frank Scelfo interim coach and formed a committee to find a full-time replacement for Dooley.
Gerhart ran for a school-record 1,871 yards and a nation-leading 28 touchdowns this season. He won the Doak Walker Award as the nation’s top running back and finished second in the Heisman Trophy race to Alabama’s Mark Ingram in the closest vote ever.
Gerhart helped lead Stanford to its first bowl bid in eight years. The Cardinal (8-5) lost to Oklahoma in the Sun Bowl.
Elsewhere, Alabama cornerback Kareem Jackson is skipping his senior season to enter the NFL draft after the advisory committee projected him as a second-round pick. But UCLA kicker Kai Forbath is returning for his senior season. Forbath won the Lou Groza Award as the nation’s top kicker and was a second-team AP All-American.
Running back Harvey Unga, BYU’s career rushing leader with 3,455 yards in three seasons, is also staying for his final season.