Former Tennessee Volunteers head coach Derek Dooley leaves the field in the second quarter of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -
Tennessee has fired football coach Derek Dooley after he posted losing seasons in each of his three years.
The 44-year-old Dooley posted a 15-21 record that sorely lacked quality wins over conference foes. Dooley was 4-19 in Southeastern Conference games and 0-15 against Top 25 teams. Tennessee is 1-14 in the SEC over the last two years.
Tennessee (4-7, 0-7 SEC) must win its season finale against Kentucky to avoid going winless in SEC play for the first time in school history. Tennessee's 41-18 loss to Vanderbilt on Saturday guarantees the Volunteers their third consecutive losing season, which marks the first time the Vols have gone below .500 in three straight years since 1909-11.
"We very much appreciate the effort and energy that Derek Dooley and his staff have poured into our football program at the University of Tennessee," said athletic director Dave Hart in a statement Sunday. "Derek and I met early this morning, and I informed him that I believed a change in leadership, despite the positive contributions he has made to the overall health of the program, was in the best long-term interests of Tennessee football. We will immediately begin the search for the best possible candidate to assume this leadership role."
Dooley, the son of Georgia coaching legend Vince Dooley, was the head coach at Louisiana Tech from 2007-09 and took over at Tennessee when Lane Kiffin departed after one season to take the vacancy at Southern California.
"I am sorry we could not generate enough wins to create hope for a brighter future," said Dooley through the school. "Although progress was not reflected in our record, I am proud of the strides we made to strengthen the foundation for future success in all areas of the program."
The university also announced Sunday that offensive coordinator Jim Chaney will coach the Volunteers' season finale.
FOXNews.com contributed to this report.
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