Following this morning news of the firing of Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley, Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart held a news conference. Here were our takeaways from the 30-minute session.
– Hiring a head coach with integrity is paramount for Tennessee. In case you missed it, the NCAA recently announced more sanctions for violations committed by Lane Kiffin’s staff. The Vols will need a head coach with a clean reputation. Bobby Petrino and Butch Davis need not apply.
– Hart said that hiring a coach with previous head coaching experience is “critically important”. Hart believes Tennessee is an attractive job but is also realistic about the issues the next head coach will inherit. He mentioned multiple times that he’s looking for a strong leader, and past head coaching experience figures to be a requirement.
– Hart declined to offer a specific timeline for hiring a new coach, but mentioned the month of December several times when offering his preferred time frame.
– Hart will spend the next week delegating assignments to offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, the interim head coach, and recruiting coordinator Darin Hinshaw, who will be charged with keeping as much of the Vols’ current recruiting class intact as possible.
– Hart said he had discussed the state of the program with others for several weeks but wanted to give the players every chance possible to make a bowl game, and give Dooley and his staff every available chance to turn the corner.