Transcript From Derek Dooley Press Conference

Saturday, January 16, 2010 - by special report to The Chattanoogan

KNOXVILLE _- Transcript from Derek Dolley press conference after the Lousiana Tech coach and AD was hired as the University of Tennessee head football coach.

TENNESSEE ATHLETICS DIRECTOR MIKE HAMILTON TRANSCRIPT

"It's been a whirlwind 56 hours since we stood next door and had the press conference about getting ready to hit the road and bring a new coach home to the University of Tennessee, not only for these young men who represent our great university but for our great fans and the way they support our university.

"I've had numerous conversations with coaches throughout the country. Tonight, we are here to introduce new head coach Derek Dooley, his wife, Dr. Allison Dooley, and their three children, John Taylor, Peyton and Julianna.

"I've talked to a number of folks over the last 24 hours and he's been described as very intelligent -- and I think you will see that very early in the conversation -- intense, disciplined, hard-nosed, a tenacious recruiter, a family guy and extremely well-organized."

TENNESSEE HEAD COACH Derek Dooley TRANSCRIPT

"I want to say thanks to everyone who was involved in this process. I'm humbled and I'm honored to stand before you as your head football coach at the University of Tennessee. I want to start by recognizing my family: my wife, Allison, who I?love so dearly and who has sacrificed so many of her goals professionally and personally to stick with me through this process and stick with me through tough times. She's been so supportive.

"As most of you know, I grew up in this conference. I grew up in the SEC. It didn't take me long as a youngster to realize that Tennessee was the essence of college football. Even as a young kid, watching the team run through the "T," when you see checkerboard end zones and, of course, hear "Rocky Top" -- vivid memories as a youngster.

"Back then, all the coaches shows were on Sunday night, and that was the one night a week I was allowed to stay up at night. Probably the all-time great was Johnny Majors, beating on his desk, upset at the next play, a wonderful personality and Hall of Famer who I grew up admiring. And, of course, Coach Fulmer, who as a young coach when I got into the profession, I always said, `Boy, if I can do it the way he does it; what a heck of a way to lead.' So much class and so much dignity, a true professional and soon-to-be Hall of Famer.

"I'm looking forward to meeting and spending a lot of time with Coach Fulmer and all the Tennessee lettermen.

"I've been influenced by so many people during my career, it would be impossible for me to list them all. Starting with my father, for so many reasons growing up, forging a philosophy, forging a value set. And, of course, my last coach and mentor who I worked for for seven years, Nick Saban.

"I was with Coach Saban five years at LSU and two years with the Dolphins. I really thrived in his way of doing things and I'm very grateful for the opportunity he gave me in wearing so many hats, coaching different positions, coordinating recruiting and coordinating special teams, assistant head coach -- he really allowed me to blossom as a young coach.

"Three years ago, I had a choice. Here we were at the Miami Dolphins, knowing Nick was about to go to Alabama, and I could go one of two directions. There was a part of me that said stay in your comfort zone, sit tight, and, hopefully, one day as I had goals and aspirations to be a head coach, I could wait and it would come.

"That really isn't who I am, and I felt I needed to develop more to be ready when I got this opportunity.

"So I did take a little bit of a risk. I took the head coaching job at Louisiana Tech, and I'm grateful to them for the opportunity they gave me. It was a program that had been struggling, it was a program that hadn't made a lot of investment in football, and I'm very proud of what we did in three years. And while I'm sure had I stayed with Nick, then I might be a more popular candidate for this job now, I am certain that I'm a better and more qualified candidate by doing what I did the last three years.

"I'm not going to sell this program and what we're about to do in a sound bite; it's impossible. I can tell you this -- everything we're going to do is going to be with a foundation of integrity in every aspect of the program. We're going to represent this institution with class, on and off the field, and we're going to be a fun team to watch -- by how we compete, the effort that we give, the togetherness and spirit that we play with.

"There are going to be bumps along the way; there always are. But I can assure you we are going to forge ahead, we'll always be growing and developing as a program, and I'm excited about what the future holds at Tennessee.

"I do want to thank everyone at Louisiana Tech and everyone in the Ruston community for the opportunity they gave me and the friendships I had. The players there put so much into that program, and it's a very emotional thing to do to leave a place. Because when you put your heart in something, it's a difficult thing to leave.

"I wanted to stay through that thing because we laid so many seeds of success, and it's going to come, I know it will. I hate that I'm leaving them at this time, but I know they are going to have some great years ahead. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for Louisiana Tech and for the Ruston community."


(E-mail Stan Crawley at wscrawley@earthlink.net)


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