Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley — as expected — has denied part of a MrSEC.com story from earlier today. First, read carefully what was written here:
“Two sources very close to the Tennessee program have told MrSEC.com that Dooley actually discussed a buyout with Hart and Tennessee after last season’s loss to Kentucky. A third source further confirmed that story yesterday.
Knowing that his team quit on him versus UK and that fan negativity was growing, Dooley — as the story goes — approached the school and offered to just hit the road if they’d give him his buyout. Tennessee officials reportedly told him they would not buy him out for $5 million since he was the guy asking out. Dooley wouldn’t negotiate down the buyout, UT tried to call his bluff by not offering contract extensions to his assistants, but Dooley stuck it out anyway, hired new seven assistants — who had to be given multi-year contracts anyway — and tried to fix his program.
If that information is correct it’s hard to imagine Dooley surviving in Knoxville. (Whether those discussions took place or not, don’t expect UT or Dooley to confirm them.)”
This writer isn’t sure how the question to Dooley was phrased, but as a site we made it pretty clear sources had made that claim. But there was a reason we wrote: “as the story goes” and “if that information is correct.” We weren’t present for the alleged meeting.
But when two good sources give and then confirm a story and then a third gives his knowledge of it, too, it’s thisclose to reaching the messageboards and, therefore, worthy of inclusion in a story about the back-and-forth nature of Dooley’s current job security.
Asked about it today at his press conference, Dooley called the story “absurd” and said: “I’d be a real dumbass to do that.”
Given his history of telling the truth about small things (claiming he didn’t meet with ex-Vol tight end Brandon Warren about a place on his team when he really had) and big things (claiming that Da’Rick Rogers had been in no trouble… right up until the receiver was booted from school for multiple failed drug tests), we’re not too worried about the coach’s denial.
Our sources could have been wrong in their claims — which is why we wrote the story as we did — but to be honest, we have more reasons to trust our sources than than we do to trust Dooley at this point.
The coach also apparently took a shot at MrSEC.com by saying he didn’t read it. Here’s guessing he must just follow us on Twitter then like 30,000+ others of you. (Maxim Magazine and Athlon Sports have both called us a must-read Twitter account, doncha know?)
As for the dumbass comment, we disagree with the coach. He wouldn’t have to be a dumbass to talk about a buyout. He would only need to have been a man under intense pressure, depressed from a bad loss, and in over his head at work.
There’s no debate about the intense pressure or the bad loss to Kentucky. We’ll leave it to you to decide if he’s in over his head. (And for the record, we’ve written before that “in a perfect world,” Dooley would get a fourth year at Tennessee to prove his worth.)