Dooley is Shown the Money

It’s official: Tennessee’s new head football coach is not on a fixed income, the University has protected itself in case Coach Dooley bolts for pastures perceived as greener, and UT will have to pay Derek handsomely if they choose to fire him. Lane Kiffin got off cheap in his exodus from Knoxville to Los Angeles.  Here are the details.

  • 2010 salary is $1.8 million, which will be increased $100,000 each year to $2.3 million in 2015, the final year of his six-year contract.
  • Bonuses include: (1) $40,000 for a non-BCS bowl appearance; (2) $150,000 for a non-championship BCS bowl appearance; (3) $80,000 for a SEC Championship game appearance; (3) an extra $70,000 if Tennessee wins the SEC Championship game; (4) $150,000 for a National Championship game appearance; (5) $50,000 for a National Championship game victory; (6) $25,000 if Dooley earns SEC Coach of the Year; and (7) $50,000 if he is awarded National Coach of the Year.
  • Tennessee will pay Louisiana Tech, Dooley’s previous employer, $250,000 due 1 June 2010 and and additional $250,000 due 1 June 2011.
  • If Dooley is fired: (1) he would receive $5 million if fired before 16 February 2013; (2) $4 million if fired between 16 Feb 2014 and 15 Feb 2015; and (3) $2.5 million if fired after 15 Feb 2015.
  • If Dooley chooses to leave Tennessee for another job: (1) he would owe UT $4 million if he left before 15 Feb 2012; (2) $3 million if he left between 16 Feb 2012 and 15 Feb 2013; (3) $1 million the following year; (4) $750,000 the year after that; and (5) $500,000 the final year of his contract. There is no language specific to any particular school in the contract.

Compare this buyout clause to that of Lane Kiffin who left Tennessee at the end of last season for Southern Cal after only one season at UT: Kiffin owed Tennessee only $750,000 instead of $4 million! Sounds like UT’s AD Mike Hamilton has learned well from his recently burned hands. There is nothing like learning on the job to galvanize priorities during the drafting of contracts. I would love to know if UT’s initial contract offer to Kiffin had a higher buyout amount schedule only to be negotiated downward by Kiffin.

Here’s hoping our young coach receives a boat-load of bonuses to be added onto his base salary in the years to come.


Dooley’s Deal By The Numbers (

Buyouts for Derek Dooley, UT Hefty (GoVolsXtra)

Bonus Breakdown for Dooley (GoVolsXtra)



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