Tag Archives: Derek Dooley

Tennessee’s $111 million athletic budget in context

Vols AD Dave Hart (photo by Adam Brimer)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee’s $111.6 million athletic budget is 10th-highest in the country and fourth-highest in the SEC.

That’s from the comprehensive USA Today database of athletic budgets released on Tuesday.

The survey also showed that the Vols’ have the seventh-highest expenses in the country and that its institutional “subsidy” of $12.4 million — or 11 percent of its budget — is highest in the SEC.

All these numbers are from the 2012-2013 fiscal year. You can click on the graphic to see the breakdown by category. (Here’s a link if you can’t see it below).

Tennessee’s 2013-2014 fiscal year will end in another month, and should produce some different figures in key areas.

Here’s some context to the current numbers:

* Most of the current subsidy comes from a $11.4 million transfer from the university that helped the athletic department plug a potential deficit caused largely by $7.97 million in “severance payments” to Derek Dooley and his staff.

Even though the money wasn’t all due immediately, buyouts must be accounted for in the current fiscal year.

* In years past, the athletic department has actually made an annual contribution to the main university fund. In the 2011-2012 fiscal year, for example, the athletic department sent $5.8 million to the university. Over the last 10 years, the department has given about $40 million to the university (for a net transfer of $30 million once student fees are considered).

* When Dave Hart was hired as athletic director, he asked UT’s administration if he could end the annual transfers. By giving excess funds away at the end of the year, the department struggled to build a reserve fund. And that could cause problems in years (like this one) when expenses increased.

* UT Chancellor Jimmy Cheek agreed to “reinvest” some of the athletic department’s contributions to the university back into the department’s budget over the next three years. The biggest payment came from the transfer described in this fiscal year.

* Where does the rest of the subsidy come from? That’s the $1 million in student fees billed to students. USA Today counts student fees in their subsidy total, and most departments — even rich ones — take at least a small bit of revenue from student fees.

Questions? Let me know and I’ll try to answer them. If I don’t know, I’ll try to find out.

We think Tennessee has 31 scholarships to give — here’s how we came up with that number

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KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — In all the talk about Tennessee’s numbers crunch, there’s one question we don’t know with absolute certainty.

Just how many scholarships does Tennessee have to offer in this recruiting cycle?

For competitive reasons, most teams like to keep that exact number under wraps.

Tennessee, like all teams, can offer no more than 25 initial scholarships in any given year. But they can “count back” some scholarships against the previous class, provided the prospects enroll early and there is space available.

One problem in determining the back-counted scholarships is that back-counting seemingly can go on in perpetuity.

Also, there’s no way of knowing for certain which players arrive with a scholarship and which are walk-ons. That distinction may become even more confusing in this recruiting cycle.

But we can make some educated guesses. And I feel fairly confident in saying that 31 is as good a “magic number” as any this year. Thanks to colleague Daniel Lewis, who helped me hash out some of the details during a math-heavy instant-message conversation. The result was this tabulation that I transferred to a spreadsheet above.

If you just want to trust me on 31 scholarships and skip this part, I don’t blame you. But here’s the nitty-gritty:

The Vols had 22 scholarship players in the 2013 cycle (after subtracting Jabo Lee and adding late signees Johnathon Johnson and Kendal Vickers).

They were able to count three of those back to 2012. The 2012 class had 23 scholarship players (including the gray-shirted Tino Thomas), and was able to count one against 2011.

This is where it becomes confusing, and this is where I think UT’s 2014 maximum grew from 30 to 31. Thomas was gray-shirted and pushed into the 2012 class because Derek Dooley didn’t think there would be room in the 2011 class. As it turns out, however, some very late academic casualties opened up a couple more slots that would have allowed Thomas to enroll. So after back-counting two early enrollees to 2010, UT had only 24 initial scholarships in 2011, allowing the Vols to count back one scholarship from 2012.

The trickle-down effect of that academic casualty in the summer of 2011 action may have led to an extra scholarship in 2014.

Of course, Tennessee may sign more than 31 on Wednesday. But that’s another story.

Sal Sunseri on Tennessee: ‘There wasn’t the talent that needed to be there’

Sal Sunseri talks with linebacker Herman Lathers (KNS photo by Adam Brimer)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — You could say that former Tennessee defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri has landed on his feet.

Sunseri, now a defensive ends coach at Florida State, will be gunning for his third BCS national title in the last four years.

The other year, of course, was a miserable 2012 season at Tennessee. The Vols’ defense was historically bad and coach Derek Dooley and his staff were fired after the 5-7 season.

“Going to Tennessee was interesting,” Sunseri told AL.com’s Michael Casagrande before FSU plays Auburn in the BCS title game in Pasadena, Calif. “You got up there and it wasn’t as fun as I thought it would be just because it was going to be a lot of hard work. Like anything else, when you go to a place with high expectations, you want to get it done. The people up there treated me extremely well and all that, we just didn’t have enough time to get done what we needed to get done.”

Read more from Sunseri on AL.com.

One of the reasons Tennessee treated Sunseri “extremely well?” He’s still getting a check from UT for roughly $50,000 a month.

Sunseri was lured from Alabama to UT with a three-year contract. When he was formally dismissed in December 2012, Sunseri was still owed $1.84 million through February 2015.

He makes a reported $198,000 at FSU, not including bonuses, but that’s not enough to defray the $800,000 annually owed by UT.

Tennessee’s seniors have endured 4-year SEC record of 6-25

Ja'Wuan James

Senior Ja’Wuan James talks to reporters at SEC Media Days in August (AP photo by Dave Martin)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee’s seniors are rallying around the idea of finishing the season 1-0.

The alternative is too depressing to think about.

The Vols (4-7, 1-6 SEC) play Kentucky (2-9, 1-6) on Saturday in Lexington (TV: ESPNU, 7 p.m.)

Win or lose, Tennessee’s seniors will leave with the worst four-year record in school history.

You can read my full story in the News Sentinel’s HUGE Thanksgiving Day paper.

As of today, Tennessee is 20-28 overall and 6-25 in the SEC since 2010.

The numbers are so astonishingly bad that I double-checked just to make sure that I wasn’t miscalculating. I wasn’t.

What’s even more remarkable is this: Tennessee’s signing class was ranked No. 7 nationally in 2009 and No. 8 in 2010 (according to the 247Sports Composite ratings, which aggregate all major recruiting services).

That’s an important reminder that recruiting is only one part of the equation. Developing and retaining the most talented players when they arrive on campus is equally important.

With addition of Midwestern ‘brick,’ Vols 2014 class continues to move north

The geographic midpoint of Tennessee's 2014 recruiting class as of Oct. 28, 2014.

The geographic midpoint of Tennessee’s 2014 recruiting class as of Oct. 28, 2013.

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — When defensive end prospect Dewayne Hendrix verbally committed to sign with Tennessee in the 2014 class, Vols coach Butch Jones tweeted that he had added another “Mid-West brick.”

The addition of Hendrix, an O’Fallon, Ill., native, gives the Vols five Midwestern “bricks” in the 2014 class, pushing the geographic midpoint of the class about 100 miles north of the 2013 class that Jones patched together in the final weeks of the recruiting class.

The 28 current members of the 2014 class are centered on Kingston, Tenn., just a few miles west of Farragut. The 2013 class was centered on the Chattahoochee National Forest in north Georgia, near Ellijay.

Why did the class move north? Part of the impact is the Midwestern additions. But the Vols also have less of a south Florida influence than they did in Derek Dooley’s years.

Here are Tennessee’s current 28 commitments:

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Vols’ odds to make a bowl game drop to about 70 percent after new projections

Butch Jones greets Nick Saban before Saturday’s game (AP photo by Dave Martin).

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Four games in November will decide Tennessee’s season.

A 2-2 record will send the Vols to their first bowl game since 2010, Derek Dooley’s first season. The Vols started that year 2-6, but won their last four games to reach bowl eligibility.

In 2013, the schedule is harder for first-year coach Butch Jones, but Tennessee must only win two of the final four games.

How likely are they to do so? We updated our Monte Carlo simulation after the Vols’ loss to No. 1 Alabama and tweaked some of the inputs to make them more consistent.

Here are the odds of Tennessee winning each of its last four games:

Nov. 2: @ Missouri: 23 percent

Nov. 9: vs. Auburn: 41 percent

Nov. 23: vs. Vanderbilt: 62 percent

Nov. 30: at Kentucky: 75 percent.

The odds listed above are educated guesses, but I tried to use a consistent method. I calculated an expected margin of victory based on Sagarin predictor ratings, which are sometimes similar to the point spreads set by Vegas. Then I converted the spread to a rough money line and converted the money line to an implied percentage.

Then I entered all the numbers in my make-shift simulator and ran the rest of the season about 1,000 times.

Here’s what it spat out:

4-0 finish, 8-4, 5-3 overall: 4.46 percent

3-1 finish, 7-5, 4-4 overall: 25.73 percent

2-2 finish, 6-6, 3-5 overall: 41.13 percent

1-3 finish, 5-7, 2-6 overall: 24.92 percent

0-4 finish, 4-8, 1-7 overall: 3.76 percent

The bold numbers give Tennessee bowl eligibility.

I ran a few smaller simulations just for the heck of it.

Missouri has a higher-than-I-expected 17 percent chance of winning out this season and a 45 percent chance of finishing 10-2, 6-2.

Will No. 1 Alabama finish the regular season with an undefeated record? My quick simulation put the odds at about 70 percent.

Derek Dooley

Derek Dooley is now with the Dallas Cowboys (Knoxville News Sentinel photo)

KNOXVILLE, TennesseeDerek Dooley offered some interesting comments in one of his most extensive interviews since he was fired at Tennessee last December.

Dooley spoke by phone with the Athens (Ga.) Banner-Herald, his hometown newspaper.

Here are some excerpts:

“I did what most coaches do. They get rid of the old gear and put on the new gear, so I’m wearing the blue and the silver and the Dallas star. I’m enjoying anonymity. That’s probably the best thing about it. … I’m used to talking to 30 people a day for five days a week. Now I get one about every three months.”

“You’re never prepared for sitting there and you don’t have a job and you’re not sure what to do. The most important thing I had to do was heal because it’s very difficult when you don’t achieve what you wanted to achieve when you had a job. I spent the month of December trying to get myself right and get myself in order.”

The full link is here.

As many as 65 scholarship players could return to UT in 2013: Here’s their story

butch-jones-maxims.JPGKNOXVILLE, Tennessee — New Tennessee coach Butch Jones will sign a hurriedly assembled recruiting class in one month.

But the success of his first year will largely be determined by the players that are already here — the 60-some scholarship athletes he inherited from Derek Dooley’s staff.

(Read my Jan. 1 newspaper story that wrapped up 2012 while looking ahead to challenges and opportunities for Jones in 2013).

There will likely be attrition during the offseason. Positions will change. Some true freshmen will make an immediate impact. But for right now, the numbers below offer a big-picture glimpse of Tennessee’s roster composition as of today.

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Derek Dooley briefly emerges on Twitter, starts but doesn’t finish Top 10 list

derek-dooley-tennesssee-ncstate.JPGKNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Social media has been all the rage in Knoxville since the hiring of new coach Butch Jones and his tech-savvy staff.

But while Jones and his coaches offer plenty of rah-rah optimism, what was missing was the wit and snark for which Twitter is known.

Enter former Tennessee coach Derek Dooley, whose Twitter debut has been long awaited since he sent his first tweet shortly after being fired.

While Dooley’s first new tweets today got us off to a rousing start, he left us hanging only 10 percent into the countdown. 

UPDATE: No. 9 has been posted.

Read on for the Storified details…

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Butch Jones: ‘You’re not going to find a harder working coach’ in recruiting

butch-jones-gatorade.JPGKNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Butch Jones has spent enough time recruiting in the South to know just how competitive the landscape is.

He had some interesting comments about that on two radio shows he did this week.

Asked about how tough it was to play in the SEC, Jones offered that it was just as tough to recruit.

“There are no off-days,” he said. “You have to bring your A-game. That’s what makes it exciting. If you are a competitor, you want those challenges each and every day.

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