By DAVID MCGUIRT
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
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
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
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.