In the midst of shakeups within the University of Tennessee football program over the past several days, Derek Dooley is set to announce his resignation as head coach on Tuesday if Internet rumors are to be believed.
With three staff vacancies to replace, and just one month until National Signing Day, Tennessee is beginning look like the Titanic, and according to an “inside source” it appears Dooley isn’t prepared to go down with the ship.
Here are the facts:
Defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox and linebackers coach Peter Sirmon are leaving for Washington . The Huskies announced their hiring on Monday. Both Wilcox and Sirmon have Northwest ties — they both played at Oregon — where they were roommates, and Wilcox got his break as defensive coordinator for Boise State.
The Vols also parted ways with several recruits over the holiday weekend, including linebacker Khalid Henderson, who de-committed Sunday night after being encouraged by Dooley to look at other schools.
“Coach Dooley said there is a ‘possibility’ you might not be coming to Tennessee,” Henderson told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “He said you have two options: ‘You can stay committed to us, wait it out and see what other players do. Or you can de-commit and try to get some attention from other schools but that doesn’t mean you can’t come to Tennessee’ or whatever. He was very iffy about everything. He wouldn’t say anything concrete. He kept on using that word ‘possibility.’” “I thought it was a bunch of crap. I guess if Tennessee is out there looking for other linebackers, then I can go find another place to go. Tennessee is where I wanted to go, and that’s where I’ve been loyal to ever since June. But it is what it is.”
Keithon Redding, a wide receiver from Columbia High School in Georgia de-committed Monday morning after being pledged to the Volunteers since last summer. Redding’s decision was based on Tennessee WRs coach Charlie Baggett leaving the SEC program last month.
“My relationship was with Coach Baggett, and I never really heard from Tennessee after he left,” Redding told the AJC.
Here are the rumors:
- Derek Dooley has completely lost the team, and he lost it ages ago — most of the players despise him, and many would transfer if they could.
- The majority of the members of the athletic board think the time to fire Dooley is now, not at the end of the upcoming season.
- Recruits will likely be jumping ship, more than the usual attrition at this time of year.
- Three ‘candidates’ to replace Dooley have already been approached — one is an existing NFL coach and two are ex-NFL coaches.
- It is unclear to the members of the athletic board what Dave Hart and Jimmy Cheek will do, and when, but it is clear that the lay of the internal land for Dooley is not good.
- Many shoes will drop soon.
The rumors began on the football blog, “Vols in the Fall,”with a post by norcalvol, the site’s anonymous author who claims an inside source provided him with the information. The blog post was updated at 8:59pm EST, saying ” UPDATE: Source says that the information is from the inside, but that it could well be crap. We’ll see. Wouldn’t be the first time that inside information was crap.”
So there you have it. It’s crap. His word not mine.
Whether or not Dooley is set to resign tomorrow, one thing is clear — it’s going to be a few years before the Vols are relevant again in the SEC.
UPDATE 10:55am: As expected, the rumor was crap. Dooley held a press conference at 10am this morning. There were no major announcements, and he said he’s not surprised about the coaches leaving at this time, and there would be no compromise on who Tennessee hires by hurrying a decision.
“I am not going to compromise who we hire as a coach because of time constraints,” he reiterated at the presser.
Dooley said he believes the football program is in better shape than it was 22 months ago, and “the worst is behind us.”
As a side note, my inside source tells me that Dooley plans on hiring a big name to run defense…stay tuned!
Watch Derek Dooley’s 1/3/2012 press conference video below.