KNOXVILLE — Derek Dooley spent part of his Friday morning in Neyland Stadium, but it had nothing to do with football.
Tennessee’s second-year coach, along with his wife, Allison, and Variety of Eastern Tennessee, presented a $220,000 check at the stadium’s West Club level to eight area children’s charities.
The Dooleys partnered with Variety, a worldwide multimillion-dollar philanthropic organization for children’s charities, for a series of events in April that raised the money.
“It starts with you want to do something because you have an ability to, a lot more so than others,” Coach Dooley said. “You want to try to parlay your position into trying to help out the community, and it’s important to me that I don’t go on a worldwide cause, that I put all my energy into trying to help East Tennessee because that’s our community. With that, I’ve always just had a great interest in young people, and it’s the business I’m in and I think that’s the group that gets shorted the most and needs the most.”
The fundraising activities — which were sponsored by a handful of corporations including Regal Entertainment Group, Pilot Corporation and Disney Studios — included the Orange and White game, an event the Dooleys hosted at their home and a golf tournament and luncheon. The eight charities are Play it Smart, Jason Witten’s Score Foundation, two Boys & Girls clubs, the Knox County Imagination Library, In Full Motion, the Cerebral Palsy Center and Camp Koinonia.
“The hardest thing is everybody wants to use you to help them raise money for something, and it’s so difficult to say no,” Dooley said. “But you have to because you can’t go on everybody’s crusade. I just channeled all my energy on young people, and I allowed Variety to use all their resources to get it to where they needed.”
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 ...