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If Tennessee coach Derek Dooley has been fired, what would that do to Kentucky and Bobby Petrino


Has Tennessee coach Derek Dooley been fired? And if he has, what impact, if any, will that have on Kentucky’s coaching search, especially when it comes to Bobby Petrino?

Several sources were reporting Sunday that Dooley, who is 4-18 play since taking over the Vols in 2010 after Lane Kiffin left, has been fired following Saturday’s overtime loss to Missouri dropped Tennessee to 4-6 overall and 0-6 in SEC play with games left against Vanderbilt and Kentucky. And remember, he did lose to UK last year.

And what about Auburn coach Gene Chizik. His team is 2-8 overall and 0-7 in SEC play after a 35-0 loss to No. 5 Georgia. He would be owed a $7.5 million buyout as of Dec. 1 if he gets fired as many Auburn fans seem to hope he will be.

“I think you got to look under the hood of the car and you’ve got to figure out where the problems are under the hood and that’s going to become a very extensive evaluation starting with a lot of different areas,”Chizik told The Associated Press. “I think that from there you can make very informed decisions on where you need to go with the next season and starting in January.”

Of course, Joker Phillips was saying the same things at Kentucky before he was fired with a 1-9 mark and 0-7 SEC slate.

Tennessee could go after Petrino. So could Auburn.

Several more sources confirmed Sunday that UK indeed has a major interest in Petrino, the former Louisville and Arkansas coach who has a winning, productive offense that impress many as well as plenty of questions about his character that scare some.

However, it seems clear that if UK wants Petrino to revive its program, the timetable for doing so is now with the possibility that Dooley has been fired and Chizik might be.

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  1. Larry T Clemons

    I say, He’s UK !

  2. Thomas Roark

    I’d love to have Petrino at UK. It would send a very loud message that the Cats are serious about turning its football program around.

    1. UKNation

      and we will do it at any cost.

  3. Kyle Meredith

    They need to hire Bobby NOW, before its too late! He will coach somewhere in the SEC next year.

    1. yvette F

      YES UK HAS GOT TO HIRE BOBBY NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!

    2. UKNation

      Ummm… how can you hire him now when he wants to see what is going to be available. If you were a top 10 basketball coach in America and the possibility of UK coaching job coming available would you sign with another school or wait for UK?

  4. oldblackhightops

    Man, I really wish there was a way to know just what “major interest” meant without Larry having to give up insider info…………………:)

  5. coldspringmike

    Let’s give Mitch a little slack here. I’m sure he knows the situations with Dooley and Chizik and if he wants Petrino, who knows, he may have already offered. But, Petrino also knows the Dooley and Chizik stories and he may be playing the waiting game to see who puts the best offer on the table. Don’t know who holds the upper hand here, going to be very interesting.

  6. grant

    well count me in on the side that would be very disappointed if uk lost out on him , however , it would not make me dislike him for going somewhere else either. it truly is his choice, can’t fault him there. and who knows how far things have gone as far as talks between uk and his agent. lets hope they have had extensive talks and things are advancing.

  7. grant

    hope you are right larry t…

  8. Chuck

    So Larry, without revealing your source, do you think that the people in power have enough influence to for Mitch to hire Petrino?

    1. larryvaught

      Chuck, I think lot of input is going into this decision because lot of folks understand how important this decision will be for the future of UK athletics

  9. Jimmy

    If BP is hired season ticket sales off the chart next year ,hire him now!

    1. Larry T Clemons

      Mitch is not asleep in this …and he has power…cosign and confirmation is just Smart and Respectful.

  10. Andy S

    I love Joe B but Petrino met with Auburn just to be nice?? He really didn’t leave the Falcons early they locked him out?? I don’t know who to believe. How come no one reported all this before?

    1. Juan4UK

      Ive thought about this. In the heat of the moment of news cycle, nobody listens to the coaches side. Nobody wants to hear that side. We as fans are that cynical.
      Cause coaches have to keep those meetings secret or their fans, school and team would revolt. Its a no win situation.

  11. john4uk

    It’s times like these that i wish Tom Jurich was the AD at UK .Say what you will,but he made hires right away.When UK hired Brooks he hired Petrino,when UK hired Joker,Jurich hired Strong.He knew who he wanted and went for them.I only wish Barnhart was so the same.

    1. Juan4UK

      I get what ur saying, but a big decision shouldn’t be a quick decision just for speed sake. It must be a good decision b4 anything else.

  12. Juan4UK

    I’m flip flopping again. Let me ask you all this, if we HAD A CHOICE, would you all take Kirby Smart over Petrino? To me, I pick Kirby Smart in a heartbeat. Everytime. No baggage no taking a chance. Easy choice.

    1. john4uk

      KirbySmart has a job,so what makes you think he is available?Petrino is available ,so does’nt make sense to go after a proven head coach who can turn this moribund football program around in a heartbeat,than build your hopes on assistant coaches and head coaches mentioned by others that currently have jobs.

      In Smarts case,he is probably more intent in preparing his team to thier status as the # 1 team in the country,than coaching at UK.

  13. Jim

    UT has a deep tradition of winning. Kentucky does not. Which job is easier to take over? Maybe I am wrong on this, but I say Kentucky. Petrino should win 7 games, minimum, right out of the gate if he comes to Lexington. He will keep the winning train going. UT will be expecting a national title sooner than later, if Petrino hits the 8 or 9 win mark, the expectations will be through the roof for the following season. As for Auburn, they would be elated to have Petrino. But sooner or later, he will be measured against the Bama program. Nobody can measure up to them.

    I hope Kentucky hires Petrino.

    And, for the life of me, I don’t ge why some fans still clamor for an assistant coach to promote. Petrino is a HC who wins games everywhere he goes. Kirby is an up and comer and may be the next big thing as a new HC. But, given the lack of winning tradition and the multitude of misses regrading coaching hires, Kentucky is best served with hiring a HC that has proven he can win and run with the big boys. That coach is Petrino.

    1. Andy P

      Jim said: And, for the life of me, I don’t ge why some fans still clamor for an assistant coach to promote. Petrino is a HC who wins games everywhere he goes. Kirby is an up and comer and may be the next big thing as a new HC. But, given the lack of winning tradition and the multitude of misses regrading coaching hires, Kentucky is best served with hiring a HC that has proven he can win and run with the big boys. That coach is Petrino.

      Well said, Jim. We know what we are getting with Petrino. No one has a clue how Kirby Smart would do with less that the absolute top tier 5* recruits at a place like UK. Taking any coordinator is a gamble. Hiring Bobby Petrino is a no-brainer from a football standpoint.

  14. grant

    “Proven ” is a big word at play for me here. I have as much faith in b.p. turning uk around as i would miles or saban. juan, kirby might be a fine hire , but i am respectfully sticking with petrino. he would come in instantly with a plan, no feeling around for this or that . give a good football coach another chance.

    1. larryvaught

      With you Grant. Hard to go against proven when you are looking for a new coach

    2. UKFMLY

      Proven is the exact word that botheres me. He has proven that he puts himself before ANYTHING ELSE.



  15. John

    It has been very interesting in the last few days to see how the sentiment has swung in favor of Petrino.

  16. Chuck

    Grant hit the nail on the head and drove it home. How many of the potential candidates can come in right away with a plan. THis is like hiring a Saban or a Les Miles. He has instant credibility. Sure he comes across as a prick, but to coach football, you have to be a disciplinarian to get the most out of your players. The man is a proven winner and we normally would never have a shot at a coach like this. This is the program changing hire that could change the landscape of UK football to where we all want it to be. It would be nice to have College gameday back at UK again.

  17. grant

    Chuck could not agree more. I think if you look at most of the good to great coaches you are going to find some jerk in them all. Anyone see tuberville yesterday rip the headphones off one of his coaches saturday. How long has it taken the mighty fighting to find a coach to make them relevant in college football again. They have ran through some coaches. And Brian Kelly is not going to win nice guys awards, anyone see him on the sidelines and his antics. whooh. Also anyone remember a few years ago, it might have been Brian Kellys’ first year. At practice where one of those scissor lifts fell over from the excessive wind and killed a videographer. There was a “small craft advisory” that day, and they still chose to send that kid up there. And guess what that kid is dead, and Brian Kelly is still the coach, and it happened on his watch. Not making excuses for petrino, but lets keep it in perspective.

  18. Jared

    Just want say we really appreciate all your info Larry, I have kept up with your work for years, you do great work!! Thank you Larry!

  19. grant

    also to piggyback on my previous post, along with mentioning notre dame and kelly, i want to point to paterno and his knowledge of kids being raped and did nothing about it, kind of makes the comparison to petrino pale.

  20. Clay

    I think you have to consider the possibility Petrino broke Fair Hiring laws in the employment of his girlfriend at Arkansas. He might be attractive to a private college still, but I doubt a public university will want to touch him with that spectre of prior or future liability hanging over him.

  21. JackG

    I feel if we REALLY want to go forward and get in to the business of football at UK, Petrino is the answer. I have read many comments, pro and con, but still believe Petrino is the answer. So many say too much baggage. I say his baggage has been opened. As far as I know he has always run a clean program. We all have made mistakes in life. I was raised by wonderful parents who taught me the meaning of forgiveness. I think the BBN should maybe think about this and Mitch should hire Petrino and put the excitement and fan base back in Commonwealth Stadium.

    1. Larry T Clemons

      Just remember when we courted Coach Calipari…All the Nay-sayers were talking about Baggage…” No, Not Calipari, UK’s done, slease program, yadda,yadda, BS “…Well I said it 3 weeks ago and I’ll tell you Now, ” Get coach Petrino, he will compete and Win, in the SEC. Remember, The Man, Bobby Petrino, has something to Fight For, He is a Good Man…He’s made mistakes, like us all, can you imagine, If Your Mistakes were Nationwide News…This Man, Coach Petrino, deserves this opportunity and if another SEC team (Auburn), or others Sign Him ( And, someone will ), UK will regret it…And be Beaten By Him…Forget his past, look what Coaching Kentucky Basketball has done to Polish, renew, expose and highlight the Great Guy John Calipari is…MB, Get’r Done…

      1. JackG

        I am in total agreement with you Larry. I watched Petrinos’ interview on ESPN several weeks ago and with amazement I saw a different side to him. I think he is the perfect hire and thought so of Cal. Too bad we had to go through the BG era but Mitch did right the ship. I remember going to games at Commonwealth when we ate at Ramseys (one hour wait for table), took the shuttle to the stadium (standing room only) but not this year. We need to get the economy flowing and the fan base back in Commonwealth. Bring on the future glory days for the BBN and Kentucky football. WeAreUK!!!!!

    2. Larry T Clemons

      Jack, I believe you are very Giv ing…if so you would remember me…

  22. Ira

    Last I heard Auburn was interested in Mike Gundy and I’d say UT doesn’t need the potential headache of BP for all his coaching abilities. They will go after a seasoned HC this time. If Arkansas doesn’t land Tommy Tuberville I bet UT does.

  23. Chuck

    The AD had to sign off on that hire at Arky. He wont be able to get away with that again and I would bet money that he wouldnt try to do that again either.

  24. grant

    just think of the positive ripple effect on the local economy with a thriving football team. there is more at stake here than meets the eye. i was reading an article that under petrino that arkansas worth grew 59% to a staggering 89 million dollars for 8th best in college. that would have an impact on uk as a whole and the local business area . more money for laser shows too. grow this thing.

    1. Larry T Clemons

      ” I think we believe in giving a Good Football Coach and a Man who’s made mistakes, another chance…This System, Big Money and Win at all cost, created the negative’s in Coach Petrino’s Past…I’ll take a Man that has Learned from those let downs, rather than someone who’s new to big time SEC Football…This League is for The Big Boys…someone who has went through hell and made it back to reality… could teach some incredible Lessons to Young Men, who do not truly understand the Temptations of Fame and Money…What you have to ask yourself is, ” does Coach Petrino deserve another chance, and if your answer is, Yes, then let it be at Kentucky. “

  25. JCC

    Tennessee is going after John Gruden hands down. Do they have a chance? If Petrino is UK choice 1 and Petrino say is UT choice 2…will BP wait around and see if he can get a job that he was 2nd or 3rd fiddle?

  26. UKFMLY



    Seems pretty much cut and dried…if you’re all about winning at any cost, you take him and if you don’t want to risk your reputation and integrity, you pass on him.

  28. Chuck

    Larry, do you know or can you find out if Mike Slive from the SEC wants the member schools to steer clear of Petrino?

    Also, is it possible for you to schedule an interview with him?

  29. Chuck

    Whomever our new coach is, I hope that they keep Chuck Smith on the staff. Chuck has done an amazing job with the Linebackers and hope that he is given a shot to remain on staff no matter who the hire is.

  30. JCC

    Whomever our new coach is, I hope that they keep Chuck Smith on the staff. Chuck has done an amazing job with the Linebackers and hope that he is given a shot to remain on staff no matter who the hire is.

    As long as they get rid of Mike Cassity, I am cool with Smith.

    1. Ira


      I don’t know if Cassity or Pat Washington has been here long enough to have had a fair shake yet or not. Cassity’s secondary has been all Freshmen this year, I would love to see how they play next year. Pat Washington has only been with us one year as well. Seems like our younger WR guys really stepped up their playing ability.

      Would love to see if Washington’s SEC connections come to fruition or not. About Chuck Smith, I think we’d be crazy to get rid of Smith. We’ve always had good LB’ers under him. Heck UK puts LB’ers in the NFL. Not something that the national media picks up very much.

      1. JCC

        Yes we do have young D-Backs however, all the secondary has very poor technique. I attribute that to position coach. Cassity is too old to be a position coach. leave that to the young guys that can demonstrate how to play the position.

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