Tennessee's Search For Dooley Replacement Continues - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Tennessee's Search For Dooley Replacement Continues

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Former Tennessee coach Derek Dooley leaves the field after losing to Vanderbilt on Saturday, November 17, 2012, in Nashville. Vanderbilt won 41-18. (AP Photo) Former Tennessee coach Derek Dooley leaves the field after losing to Vanderbilt on Saturday, November 17, 2012, in Nashville. Vanderbilt won 41-18. (AP Photo)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Tennessee's coaching search is nearly three weeks old and the Volunteers still haven't found someone to accept the challenge of turning the program around.

Tennessee initially contacted ESPN analyst Jon Gruden, but it was announced November 30 that the former Super Bowl-winning coach wasn't interested.

The Volunteers offered the job to Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy, who turned it own.

The Vols then pursued Charlie Strong from Louisville. Strong led the Cardinals to back-to-back Big East titles and BCS bowl games.

It was believed he would be interested in returning to the SEC, where he won two national championships as a defensive coordinator under Urban Meyer at Florida.

Strong turned down the offer Thursday and said he would stay at Louisville.

Of the four Southeastern Conference schools to make coaching changes, only Tennessee still has an opening.

Kentucky selected Florida State defensive coordinator Mark Stoops last week to replace Joker Phillips. Arkansas and Auburn made their picks Tuesday. Arkansas lured Bret Bielema away from Wisconsin, while Auburn hired Arkansas State's Gus Malzahn.

Tennessee is trying to replace Derek Dooley, who was fired November 18 after a 41-18 loss to Vanderbilt in Nashville. It was the Vols' first loss at Vanderbilt in 30 years.

The Vols' coaching woes go back to 2008 when the university dismissed long-time coach Phillip Fulmer.

UT brought in former Oakland Raiders coach Lane Kiffin, who led the team to a 7-6 record in 2009. Kiffin left Knoxville abruptly to become the head coach at the University of Southern California, where he spent some time as an assistant coach.

Dooley became the third coach in three years.

Since going 10-4 in 2007, Tennessee has posted a 28-34 overall record. They have been 12-28 in SEC play during that time, and have only won 2 SEC games in the last two seasons.

Dooley was 0-15 against Top 25 teams and was 1-14 in his last 15 SEC games.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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