Mark, really liked your article, but I'll have to disagree with you 100 percent. The bottom line is that, at the time of Dooley's hiring the athletic department and the University was reeling because of Lane Kiffin's "slash and burn" exit strategy. Dooley was hired with little knowledge of who he was (as a coach and as a person--other than he was Vince Dooley's kid). Slowly the layers have been peeled off--perhaps a good lawyer and a professional and even a person but incapable of possessing the skills to run and win at a big time SEC program. As far as X and O's--Dooley has never even been a coordinator at a SEC program. I think the failure here lies with a long gone AD that made a desperation hire for a coach that was illprepared to run and lead a big time college football program. This program needs to be energized in a way that it has failed to be since the last few years of Fulmer, Hamilton failed in that regard--he failed to let Fulmer go out in a graceful way and he failed in the Dooley hire. Dave Hart now has a chance to make the correct and informed choice.
Saban will not leave for the NFL. He's done that game--worn that T-shirt and realizes where he is the grass is greener. If you are suggesting Jim Haslem needs to hire Nick Saban away and in some way that would take "the heat off" Tennessee you are way off base. If Saban were to ever step away---Alabama--as a brand flush with cash and relevance--could hand pick any coach they wanted. Unlike UT whose brand is so diminished and stock so low (and this was especially true at the time of Fulmer's last few years) are desperate to get relevant again. 1998 is ancient history--the University needs to make the next head coach a name that the 18 or 19 year old kid would know and at the same give all due respect to the rich football tradition of Tennessee. After Dooley's gone, it's all on Dave Hart to get this right again.