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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Louisiana Tech's Dooley a different Bulldog

I wrote a story for today about Louisiana Tech coach Derek Dooley, who has plenty of Auburn ties. Here's how it starts:

AUBURN, Ala. — Derek Dooley won’t lack tour guides Saturday, when he brings his Louisiana Tech Bulldogs to Auburn.

The coach’s family tree is flush with former Tigers. His father, Vince, played then coached for Ralph “Shug” Jordan before launching his Hall of Fame head coaching career at Georgia. His mother also went to Auburn, as did both of his wife’s parents.

“I’m having a hard time finding some allies this week,” he joked.

Dooley, a rising star in the coaching industry, hopes to have some support from the folks at Jordan-Hare Stadium for Saturday’s season opener.

The 41-year-old coach has transformed the Louisiana Tech program in his two years in Ruston, La. Since inheriting a team that went 3-10 the year before his arrival, Dooley has gone 13-12, leading the team to an 8-5 mark last season and its first bowl victory since 1977.

“What coach Dooley has done with that program in two short years is really amazing,” Auburn coach Gene Chizik said.

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Dooley's quite the coach. As I mention in the story, he's been around Hall of Fame caliber coaches his entire career, from his dad, to Virginia's George Welsh to Nick Saban (yes, Saban's well on his way to that distinction). It seems like Dooley has the pedigree to strike it rich with a big-time program. It seems like it's only a matter of time before he leaves Ruston for greener pastures.


Walker said...

I wonder why Auburn hired Chizik over Dooley? Dooley took a team with an equally crappy record as Iowa State and turned them around . . . I know it is playing in C USA or whatever, not as hard as the Big 12. But still.

Andy Bitter said...

I think teams are always more comfortable hiring somebody they know. And Chizik coached in Auburn for three years. That's a big plus.