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By DAVID MCGUIRT djm028@latech



After spending seven years underneath Nick Saban, Miami Dolphin's tight-end coach Derek Dooley stepped into the limelight  Dec. 18, as he became the 31st head coach of Tech's football program.

The search for a head coach came after the firing of former head coach Jack Bicknell, who went 3-10 in his last season with the Bulldogs.

Tech President Dan Reneau used Colorado-based, national college football consultant Chuck Neinas to help screen suitable coaches to fill the vacant job.

The council looked at coaches such as Lousiana State University's Jimbo Fisher and Todd Monken, but ultimately offered a starting salary in the range of $350,000 per year to Dooley.

“From the very first time I met Derek Dooley when we went to Miami, I was super impressed,” Reneau said.

“He is a man of integrity, character and high intelligence. He knows coaching from one end to the other. It's a new day for Louisiana Tech, and Derek Dooley is the man we need to lead us into this era of success.”

Dooley starts at Tech in familiar territory as he plans to build the football program back up, much like the way he and Saban did at LSU in the five seasons they coached there.

Dooley recited five guiding principles that he says will be the hallmark of Tech football while he coaches here, stating that integrity, discipline, passion, selflessness and class will help turn the program around.

“I was initially attracted to this job because of the five years I spent living in Baton Rouge and the job became even more attractive as I began to look at the rich tradition of the athletics here at Tech,” Dooley said.

“The more I talked to the leadership of this university who really had a clear vision to where they wanted not only the academics to be in the year 2020, but who also had a clear plan for the vision of the athletic program.”

The son of former Georgia coach Vince Dooley  is no stranger to football, posting a resume starting at Southern Methodist University from 1997 to 1999 as a wide receivers coach, and a position at LSU as recruiting coordinator and running back coach from 2000 to 2004, helping lead the Tigers to two SEC championships as well as the national title in 2003 at the Sugar Bowl.

For the last two years, he has coached under Saban for the Miami Dolphins as the tight-end coach.

Dooley stated at his hiring that the greatest reward for a coach is bringing up players to be successful. He also believes that being a part of bringing a player up is the most rewarding part of the game.

“These are the people I want to work with. These are the people I want to set new challenges for and hopefully lead us into success in the future,” Dooley said.

Dooley has a law degree but left the profession after he realized how much he missed the camaraderie of athletics, and began his coaching career in 1996.

The freshman head coach has decided to keep at least three current assistant coaches, Ed Jackson, Pete Perot and Conroy Hines.

Malcolm Butler, athletic media relations director, said due to a hectic first week, Dooley was unavailable for comment.

“He is behind schedule in recruiting because of finishing out the season with the Dolphins,”Butler said.

Butler also said Dooley was in the process of hiring three new coaches yesterday.

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