Missing The Boat On Derek Dooley

Friday, November 16, 2012

I enjoy Mr. Exum's articles, even if I don't always agree with them, and I certainly don't agree with his view of UT and Dooley. I believe that Roy misses the boat on many of the issues involved here. First, and central to his writing on whether or not integrity is dead at UT is the issue of the contract. The buyout Roy mentions is a part of the contract. So, if the university decides to fire Coach Dooley, they will be required to pay the buyout stipulated in his contract. That is not being shady, or acting with a lack of integrity, but is honoring the terms of the contract should they decide to go that route.

Yes, this is a game, but it's also a business. The athletic department, chiefly football, brings in millions of dollars of revenue that go towards the academic side. Roy questions whether it's good business to pay Dooley's buyout. First, it's $5 million, not $7.5 million, which is a 50% difference. Second, did you see how many empty seats there were during UT's games against Troy and Missouri? Many estimate there were 60-70 thousand people at those games, which is far below the reported attendances. So, here's some of that math. Neyland Stadium seats nearly 110,000. 40,000 empty seats, times a conservative average ticket price of $40, comes out to $1.6 million per game in ticket sales alone. Now, factor in concessions, merchandise, etc. and you're looking at millions of dollars lost a game. And I can tell you, if Dooley stays on board, less and less fans will show up every week. That's not even mentioning the number of businesses in the area, from hotels, to gas stations, to restaurants/bars that are all very seriously affected.

Now, let's talk about the job that Dooley has done. As I mentioned before, I've been a supporter for most of his tenure. There were those calling for his head after the embarrassing loss to Kentucky, the first loss to that team in 26 years, and we had far superior talent. I stuck by Dooley, and explained the circumstances that Roy mentioned as far as the awful state of affairs that Dooley walked into. Even with all of those conditions, there was absolutely no reason to lose to that Kentucky team, but I still stuck by him. This year was to be the year that we could begin to judge Dooley, since the vast majority of the team would be his players. Next year they would all be his players, so it was supposed to be the first year we could truly judge his work. The problem is, Dooley has shown enough this year to make most sour on him. Roy talks about the improvement of this team versus last year. To that I say, sure in some areas, but not in others, such as the historically bad defense, or where it really matters, the win-loss column. This defense has more talent on it than it did last year, and somehow this years defense makes last years defense look like the '85 Bears. This team has been favored in at least three games that it's lost this year. UT gave up over 700 yards and nearly lost at home to Troy. This team lost to a Missouri team that has looked just plain bad this year. When you consistently get beat by teams with inferior talent, and that you're favored against, that's on the coaches. I won't even really get into the panic the coaching staff displayed in the second half against Florida, the inability to have the team prepared against Mississippi St., or the absolutely inexcusable decision at the end of regulation against Missouri not to try to win. The coaching staff gets scared, and it trickles down.

Maybe the biggest indictment is something you said as an apparent compliment, "Personally, I think UT has a real chance of beating Vanderbilt in Nashville Saturday". UT is an underdog to Vandy. Since when has Vandy been in the same galaxy as UT football? Let's be honest, Dooley got this job because of timing, not because he had a stellar track record. UT is an historical top 10 program, with the largest recruiting budget in the nation, and top 5 facilities. That's not a program that a head coach with a losing record at Louisiana Tech generally gets hired at. As much as most of us fans rooted for him and wanted him to succeed, it's become glaringly obvious he's simply over his head. If, and when, the decision is made not to bring Dooley back next year, you can rest assured that it is a business decision, and that the people really paying his buyout like the Haslams, Thunder Thornton, etc. have excellent business acumen. You don't get to the positions that they do by making poor business decisions. More than anything though, I fail to see how this shows a lack of integrity or violates a contract. Regarding it violating a contract, it simply doesn't.

Tyler Fordice


Standing Behind The Armored Truck Lane

I just wanted to say that I stand behind the city's implementation of an armored truck lane.  I do my banking downtown and see those armored truck lanes used quite extensively.  The armored truck lane provides a safe, close location for the transfer of money to and from the banks.  I do have a few complaints about the armored truck lanes, however.  They need ... (click for more)

Sterling Jetton Isn't A Politician

Typically, I do not publicly endorse local candidates for any office.  However, in this case I strongly believe that Sterling Jetton is the best candidate for the Hamilton County Assessor of Property.   Rev. Jetton is clearly well qualified.  He served 27 years in the Assessor’s Office, he’s not a politician and he’s a man of absolute integrity.  I have personally ... (click for more)

Cleveland School Board Votes 5-2 To Terminate School Director Ringstaff Over Twitter Messages

The Cleveland School Board on Friday fired Dr. Martin Ringstaff, director of schools, for sending sexually explicit messages to an anonymous woman a year ago.  His termination is effective immediately and does not include severance pay.  The school board called an emergency meeting after Dr. Ringstaff, who is married, admitted to sending explicit messages to ... (click for more)

History Center Not Giving Out Any More Information On Past Spending Details, Current Status, At This Time

The president of the Chattanooga History Center, which has halted plans for a world class history museum near the Aquarium after raising over $10 million, said no other information will be provided at this time. Chattanoogan.com had sought details about prior spending and the salary of former executive director Daryl Black as well as the center's current status. Jo Coke said, ... (click for more)

Ernie Johnson Jr. Captivates McCallie Classic Luncheon Crowd

Ernie Johnson Jr., the popular host of “Inside the NBA” on TNT, tipped off the inaugural McCallie Classic on Friday with a riveting speech before a large crowd at the school’s Sports and Activities Center. The rest of the two day event, which includes two nationally ranked basketball teams, had a hard act to follow. Johnson, a cancer survivor whose family adopted a young ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Teams Ready For Action At State Duals

All of those long grueling practices are over.  Challenge matches are a thing of the past. It's to that point in the season where either you're ready or you're not. As the old saying goes, the hay is in the barn and now is the time to reap the benefits of all the hard work that's been done in the past few months. In other words, it's post-season time for high school wrestling ... (click for more)