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Firing Dooley And Staff Could Cost Vols Up To $9.3 Million

Ask 10 people at the University of Tennessee about Derek Dooley’s job security and you’re likely to get 10 different answers.  Some say Dooley and crew are well aware that they’ll need to win out to keep their jobs.  Others say that UT is likely to keep the coach because it takes time to rebuild a program.  Steve Spurrier’s process at South Carolina has been cited by more than one Tennessee employee in the past few days… suggesting the Vols will give Dooley as much time as USC gave the Ol’ Ball Coach.

It’s our belief that the decision of athletic director Dave Hart will be a green one and not a black-and-white one.  If he feels it’s too costly in terms of lost donations, ticket revenue, concessions and merchandising sales, etc, to proceed with Dooley, he’ll boot him.  If he feels that it’s too costly in the short-term to blow the staff up — in a year when UT’s athletic department experienced a shortfall — then he’ll keep him.

Well, the cost of vamoosing Dooley and staff is pretty steep.  As much as $9.3 million steep.

According to The Knoxville News Sentinel, Tennessee would be on the hook for a minimum of $5.6 million but that cost could run nearly $4 million higher.  The variable in this case are the futures of Dooley’s nine assistants.  Would they all be jettisoned?  Would some — like ex-Vol player and current running backs coach Jay Graham — be kept on staff?  Would those who were let go land other jobs, thus eating into what Tennessee had to pay them in the way of buyouts?

Luckily for the Volunteers, those payouts would not be of the lump-sum variety.  The buyouts would be spread over a number of years.  The Tennessee athletic department is also currently working with the university’s administration to lower the amount of the UTAD’s annual “gift” back to the academic side of the school.  If/when that number drops by a few million, UT’s financial ship will start to right.

But when will that happen?  How much will the athletic department be allowed to lower that gift?  And what will Hart see as the most cost-effective option regarding Dooley moving forward?

Again, ask 10 different people on Tennessee’s campus and you’ll get different responses.



more evidence of the mind blowing, staggering incompetence of mike hamilton.  giving a coach with a losing record in the bush leagues a buyout/payoff like that.  i realize it was his reaction to getting stiffed by kiffen who booked for california after paying chump change (hamilton change?) for the privilege, but it didn't seem to occur to him that dooley's record might just be an indication of his future.  also, he failed to factor in that dooley's buyout worked both ways--getting rid of him was as expensive to u.t. as it would for notre dame, texas, georgia, or the new england patriots to steal him.  it reminds me of the click and clack story about they yugo owner who always left his keys in the ignition.  after the neighborhood had a rash of car thefts one night, the yugo was still there.


I firmly beleive that Dooley will be back next year. I have been floating the $10 million price tag for a while, and this article backs up what I have been saying. Unless Hart can land someone that will excite the donors and fan base more than $10-$15 million, Dooley will have another year unless the team tanks like last year. Judging by the posts from my fellow Ktown friends and alumni - Petrino is not that guy. Matter of fact hiring Petrino might actually be more unpopular than keep Dooley.


I realiz e that UT can go to their big time boosters, ie the Haslams etc...but if it cost over $9 mil to fire Dooley and staff, not sure if they are still paying Fulmer?  A new coach, unless its Bobby Petrino there will be a buyout of 3 to 5 million and a salary of at least 3 more plus asst salaries seems to me it will be in the 15 millon dollar range at a minimum, is that kinda money feasible??


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