Haslam supports Dooley firing, won't weigh in on next coach

9:22 PM, Nov 23, 2012   |    comments
Gov. Bill Haslam
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By Chas Sisk, The Tennessean

Gov. Bill Haslam - former Knoxville mayor and son of one of the University of Tennessee's most prominent booster families - says he's all for the decision to fire football coach Derek Dooley.

"Ultimately college football at a school as big as Tennessee, it is about results. I like Derek a lot. I think he in a lot of ways brought a lot of things to the program ... but for Tennessee to have the football program they need, they need to have a better won-lost record than they've had for the last three years."

Haslam said he did not have a favorite to replace Dooley. Nor would Haslam say how much Dooley's replacement should be paid - an issue for the UT athletic department as it faces a budget crunch after buying out its third coaches' contracts in less than five years.

"I don't think ultimately that's the governor's decision. In the end, the reality is Tennessee football is a big revenue-producing sport, and it helps finance scholarships for the rest of the school - student body - as well as a lot of the other, non-revenue producing sports. In order for Tennessee to work, they need to have a successful program."

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