published Thursday, December 15th, 2011

UT AD Dave Hart discusses football program and Derek Dooley

Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart
Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
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KNOXVILLE - Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart broke his silence this afternoon.

Since Hart took the Volunteers' top position in September, UT's football program lost three blowouts and ended the season with an ugly loss to Kentucky for the program's first consecutive losing seasons in 100 years.

Hart sat down with the Times Free Press for interview on Thursday afternoon for nearly half an hour, and much of the discussion was the rebuilding football program and coach Derek Dooley.

"No season where you lose more than you win is acceptable because I think you do have to set standards, and I think the bar has to be high because if it's not, complacency sets in," Hart said. "I think people need to know what the expectations are, and we'll be very specific about expectations across the spectrum of our athletics program. Obviously when you have a season that results in more losses than wins, then no, that's not acceptable to anybody. It's not acceptable to Derek, it's not acceptable to anybody who touches the program: players, coaches, support staff. That's very obvious."

Hart spoke of an "expectation of winning," which he said was lacking for the Vols' football, men's basketball and baseball programs as they face the early phases of respective rebuilding projects. Growing up in an athletic family, Hart has seen the pressures of the win-now mentality and its effects. The former athletic director at Florida State said there has to be a balance of patience as an athletic director in handling the situation the Vols' football program is currently facing.

"I think you do have to be realistic because I think Derek and Cuonzo [Martin] and Dave [Serrano], they are facing rebuilding projects," Hart said. "This is not a magic wand, snap your fingers, it's fixed and let's move down the road. I think part of the success I've witnessed over the years being a part of those programs that have had a lot of success, they had a great foundation, they had resources, they built an expectation of success and confidence within those programs.

"I think this, we're not young anymore in football. We're not young anymore. While it is realistic and it is factual to say that we have fielded an inexperienced team the last year or two, we're not going to field inexperienced teams anymore. Those are the kinds of things you have to sit down, talk about and assess. I have thoroughly enjoyed Derek Dooley. I think Derek Dooley has the skill sets to be a highly successful coach."

Plenty more from the TFP's conversation with Hart is ahead. Follow Vols beat writer Patrick Brown on Twitter for more updates.

about Patrick Brown...

Patrick Brown has been the University of Tennessee beat writer since January 2011. A native of Memphis, Brown graduated from UT in May of 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Electronic Media and worked at the Knoxville News Sentinel for two years on the sports editorial staff and as a freelance contributor. If it’s the NBA, the NFL or SEC football and basketball, he’s probably reading about it or watching it on TV. Contact him ...

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Good to know that adults are still in charge and not the bloggers, talk radio, and comment board jockeys. All three men's programs are in better hands, today, than three years ago.

Be patient, Vols fans.

December 15, 2011 at 3:58 p.m.
Astropig said...

He just put Dooley on the hottest seat in the SEC.

December 15, 2011 at 4:03 p.m.
Salsa said...

Dooley has a 6 year contract at 1.8 million $ per year. If they fire him, the buyout will lessen that heat quite a bit.

December 15, 2011 at 4:14 p.m.
gstarnes said...

Hart just put Dooley on notice that next year may be his last if the football team does not show huge improvement. Good riddance.

December 15, 2011 at 7:33 p.m.
eastridge8 said...

I agree with BTG....be patient Vol fans...

December 15, 2011 at 9 p.m.
chet123 said...

HELL EASTRIDGE....I AMIT THIS IS NOT DOOLEY MAKING....HE INHERITED A DOWN-HILL FOOTBALL PROGRAM....THIS IS FAT PHIL BABY!

TENNESSEE BRAND-NAME IS SO BAD THAT ITS HARD TO RECRUIT TOP PLAYERS AS IN PAST......WHO EVER THE COACH IS ...THEY WILL HAVE TO MAKE RADICAL DECISIONS......RIGHT NOW TENNESSEE COACHES AND FANS ARE IN DENIAL.....BRAY CAN NOT SAVE THIS PROGRAM....THE TENNESSEE FANS ARE STILL LOOKING FOR A SECOND COMING OF PEYTON MANNING. IT WONT HAPPEN IN A 100 YEARS VOLS NATION.....

TAKE MY ADVICE....I HAVE BEEN SAYING THIS FOR 12YEARS..AFTER PEYTON MANNING AND TEE MARTIN I PREDICTED A DECLINE FOR TENNESSEE FOOTBALL..TENNESSEE NEED TO STOP PLAYING THE OLD NEPOTISM GAME. ECT....AINGE, CLAUSEN, SIMS,DOOLEY MANNING...ALL FROM FAMOUS OR RICH FAMILIES AND TENNESSEE JUST WANT TO KEEP RECYCLING FAMOUS NAMES....IF HASNT PAID OFF FOR TENNESSEE.....TENNESSE WILL CONTINUE TO LOOK LIKE HIGH TEAMS UNTIL THEY LEARN TO GET THEIR PLAYER FROM TOWNS LIKE RHEA COUNTY AND BRADLEY COUNTY AND CHATTANOOGA(REGGIE WHITE).....THEY DONT LEFT TO COME FROM FAMOUS FAMILY.....THEY HAVE EVEN START PICKING COACHES FROM FAMOUS FAMILIES....DOOLEY AND KEEFIN.......SOMEBODY GOT TO HAVE SOME SINCE UP IN KNOXVILLE

AND WHY DO THEY GO ALL THE WAY TO CALIFORNIA TO GET A QUARTERBACK Hmmmmmmmm...SOMEBODY NEED TO BE FIRED FOR MAKING SUCH STUPID DECISION......THIS IS WHY TENNESSEE GOT TO WORK ON THEIR BRAND NAME.TENNESSEE CANT EVEN HOLD ON TO THE FEW GREAT FOTTBAL PLAYER IN ITS OWN BACK YARN...THESE PLAYER WILL RATHER GO TO KENTUCKY THAN TENNESSEE(RANDALL COBB AND MANY MORE IN TENNESSEE BACK-YARN)...I WILL GIVE YOU A HINT...GET A QUARTER BACK WHO CAN MOVE HIS LEGS.....BRAY CAN THROW THE BALL BUT HE IS SKINNING AND HE HAVE CEMENT BLACKS FOR FEET......HE WILL STAY INJURED.....THE BIG SEC TACKLES AND LINEBACKER WILL KILL THE BOY...

I'M SAYING ALL OF THIS BECAUSE I SEE TENNESSEE FOOTBALL SINKING EVEN DEEPER IF SOMEONE DONT WAKE-UP......FAT PHIL LEFT THE WRONG TYPE OF CULTURE.....

REMEMBER WHAT I SAID...GET A QUARTERBACK WHO CAN THROW AND MOVE HIS FEET FOR HEAVEN SAKE!

January 2, 2012 at 9:43 a.m.
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