Tennessee Volunteers head coach Derek Dooley leaves the field after loosing to the Missouri Tigers 51-48 in quadruple overtime at Neyland Stadium. Credit: Jim Brown-US PRESSWIRE
Embattled UT head football coach Derek Dooley says as far as he knows, no decision has been made about his future, and he wants to put the focus on beating Vanderbilt.
At his weekly press conference on Monday, Dooley started out saying he just wanted to talk about the game with Missouri, which he did. He said he was very proud of the players, "they played their tails off." He said everything was positive, but they just didn't finish it.
Speaking about the controversial call to let time run out in regulation with two timeouts remaining, Dooley said they team was struggling on offense at the time, and he just had no confidence the team could convert on a 3rd and long to keep the ball moving. He said he felt they could beat Missouri in overtime.
Inevitably, the media began asking questions about Dooley's future and the rumors that a decision had been made to fire him as head coach.
Dooley said he's talked with Athletic Director Dave Hart since the 51-48 overtime loss to Missouri, and was told he had not made a decision. He said Hart was an honest man and he had no reason not to believe him, and that he appreciated how Hart was handling the situation.
Multiple sources are reporting that Dooley is out, and he spoke about the difficulty of handling that with his family and the team. He said the players, along with his wife and kids, were getting "banged up" on their phones about him being fired, and he's off worrying about Vandy.
He said the hardest part about this situation is his family. He mentioned it's tough on your kids when they're hearing all these things that are different than what dad is telling them.
Dooley also said he was proud of the players and how the are handling it. He said there's no negativity or mean-spirited comments. He told the media he thought we all could learn from them in this situation.
Dooley has a 15-20 record in his three-years with the Vols. He is 4-18 in the SEC and 0-15 against Top 25 teams. The team is winless in the SEC this year. Tennessee (4-6, 0-6) plays Saturday at Vanderbilt, the only SEC team to lose to the Vols over the last two seasons.