October 07, 2011
Attention sports radio hosts: Don't talk trash about Tennessee coach Derek Dooley. His mom will find you.
Knoxville sportswriters Andrew Gribble and Dave Hooker learned that the hard way when Barbara Dooley crashed "Newsmakers with Tim Bryant," the radio show on which the two were appearing Thursday afternoon.
"At some point, one or the other speculates on Derek Dooley and the temperature of the seat beneath him," Bryant told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "Turns out Barbara Dooley was listening, and she lives right around the corner."
So Barbara, who also has a show on the Athens radio station, decided to pay a little visit to the studio and defend her son. "She just about kicked the door in," Bryant said.
Barbara took issue with criticisms leveled by Gribble and Hooker, who both cover Dooley, and notes that back when her husband Vince was the coach at Georgia, they never battled the media.
Barbara also couldn't believe that Gribble said her son was on the hot seat after just one full season in Knoxville. Gribble denied saying that initially, but later said his use of the words "hot seat" was taken out of context.
"Let me say this: Derek Dooley walked into kind of a mess. Florida [coach Will Muschamp] walks into talent just oozing out of their ears. Jimbo Fisher walks into FSU with talent. And y'all are telling me that Derek Dooley is on the damn hot seat? Are you crazy?
"Oh, come on, get out of here! You've got Mama's rile up now, buddy."
The entire exchange lasted only a few minutes because Congressman Tom Graves was on the other line ("He can just wait. Football is important"), but Barbara wanted to be heard and assure Tennessee fans that her son was the best man for the job.
"I just want you to be nice and fair and know that you probably have the best coach in the country and he's going to be there 25 years," she said.
Obviously, it's too early to tell about Dooley, whose record in Knoxville sits at 9-8 barely a month into his second season. Barbara is right when she says Dooley didn't inherit as much talent from the Lane Kiffin administration as some of his peers, quickly discovering tumbleweeds where Kiffin's only recruiting class was supposed to be. And even in rebuilding mode, the young Vols have shown flashes of sky-high potential.
Still, it has to be a little embarrassing to have your mother come to your defense at 43 years old, even if your mom is as outspoken as Barbara Dooley.
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Curtsy (the female version of a hat tip) to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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