Does being Vince Dooley’s son help Tennessee with its recruiting efforts in the state of Georgia?
Vince Dooley remains perhaps the famous coaching name from the state, directing UGA for 25 years and leading the Bulldogs to the 1980 national championship.
Derek Dooley is Vince’s son and the second-year coach at Tennessee, which traditionally recruits well in Georgia.
Unfortunately for the younger Dooley, he apparently has discovered like the rest of us that kids’ attention spans go about as far back as about a week’s worth of the best soundbites on ESPN’s SportsCenter. Most of today’s football recruits don’t know that Steve Spurrier coached at Florida, much less that he won the Heisman playing quarterback for the Gators.
In fairness to the kids, they were not born when Vince last walked the UGA sidelines in 1988, and they were applying for pre-K when Spurrier last did the Gator Chomp in 2001.
But the parents of recruits remember.
“Yes, I think that’s fair to say … that parents know about my father and many of the kids do not,” Derek told the AJC recently. “Of course, when I go selling Tennessee and what we do, I don’t sell the fact that my father was a coach. But inevitably, the parents know good and well what my family history is. And most of the players have no idea. That’s just the world we live in.
“It’s no different than when we were growing up. We didn’t know the guys unless you were a student of the history of the game. So it shouldn’t be surprising that they don’t know. Unless you’re a real sports junkie, it’s hard to have an expectation that they would know all of the people who had such a great impact on college football.”
With Tennessee having such a high turnover of assistant coaches (seven) since the end of last season, we asked Derek if he ever toyed with the idea about hiring his famous father on a temporary basis to recruit the mommas and daddies of Georgia’s top 2012 prospects. We only asked because former Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin, the never-ending magician of recruiting tactics, talked USC athletics director Pat Haden into recruiting this year for the Trojans when the staff was down one assistant coach. Haden was a star quarterback at USC and an NFL Pro Bowler. Haden was well-known among some parents of California recruits, and Vince would likely have the same effect on Georgia’s moms and dads.
“Well, first off, that would be against NCAA rules to hire my father on an interim basis because only nine coaches can go recruit,” Dooley said. “The only way you can get an exception is if you are short-handed. What Lane is talking about is when he lost a coach or two. We did the same thing this year. We put our strength coach on the road while we were in the interim of hiring a coach. So you can’t really hire a guy and just substitute for him. Only the nine full-time coaches are allowed to go out and recruit for you.”
Hey, we thought with Vince’s big name recognition, it was worth at least asking about. The state of Georgia has been awful kind to Tennessee over the years, exporting talents such as Eric Berry, Jamal Lewis and Deion Grant. The younger Dooley told the AJC that this state remains a top recruiting priority.
“Now, when you ask how important the state of Georgia is, we’ve signed 18 players from there in my three recruiting classes,” Dooley said. “So that’s a big number. Georgia has always played a big role in the history of success that Tennessee has had. It’s going to continue to play a big role, mainly for two reasons. One is the quality of players that come from that state. There’s a ton of good players. Two, of course, is the proximity. We’re only three hours from Atlanta. It’s a real close and easy drive to get to Tennessee. We’re going to be recruiting it hard like most other schools, and hopefully we can keep having the success that we’ve had.”
Back to Lane Kiffin: We asked the USC coach how on Earth he came up with the ingenious idea of putting his famous AD on the road to recruit.
“I remember a rule stating that if you were down a coaching staff member, you could use someone in administration to recruit,” Kiffin told the AJC. “We actually did it at Tennessee before we had our full staff hired and fell into the same thing. We actually used Condredge Holloway one time. I remembered that so I double-checked with our compliance to make sure we could do it. With Pat Haden being a Rhodes scholar and also playing quarterback here at USC and now being the AD … what a great guy to be able to use.
“So we put him technically as a coach. He could go on the road but more importantly he could also make phone calls to recruits. We kind of joked about it at the banquet. I had us in first place after my home visits with two kids, two of the top linemen on the West coast. Then he went in and, all of sudden, they went to Stanford. So Pat said he’s going to back to administration now.”
Now it ’s YOUR turn. What do you think? Do you think being Vince Dooley’s son helps Derek with Georgia recruits? And while we’re at it, let’s have some fun – when UGA or Georgia Tech loses an assistant in the future, which AD would be better at football recruiting? UGA’s Greg McGarity (who is very outspoken about his recruiting expectations) or Georgia Tech’s Dan Radakovich?
MARCH MADNESS, WHAT’S THAT? RECRUITING MADESS!
WHILE YOUR BRACKETS GOT MESSED UP …
IT’S NEVER BORING IN THE WACKY WORLD OF RECRUITING
– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog
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