Derek Dooley suggested during a press conference today that former Tennessee receiver DeAnthony Arnett would be granted a transfer to Michigan or Michigan State after all. The coach took heat last week when Arnett let the press know that the Vols’ head coach was barring him from playing for the Spartans. Arnett said he wanted to be closer to his family as his father’s medical condition had worsened in the time since the player signed with UT last February.
“My decision to leave the University of Tennessee has nothing to do with football, coaches, players or anything related to the school. It is an will always remain solely based off of the importance of me keeping my beliefs and family first…
(Dooley’s) decision to release me unconditionally comes as a sign of a compassionate and empathetic coach. I will never be able to express fully my appreciations and gratitude for his decision.
All good things take time and work. UT has always surpassed the rest and I believe in due time they will be back to the No. 1 program in the SEC. If I did not have issues within my family, you could guarantee that I would continue to be a VOL.”
Dooley — feeling quite a bit of heat from the press and likely on the recruiting trail — has retreated. That’s a wise choice. For as we wrote last week, this was a PR battle that he could not win at a time when he did not need any more losses… or battles, for that matter.
Agree with the coach’s decision or not — and the vast majority do think it’s better to let the player go — this move should take an arrow from the quiver of rival SEC recruiters: “You don’t want to play for that heartless guy, do you?”
Now Dooley’s “compassionate and empathetic.” That’s a lot easier sell in recruits’ living rooms.