Derek Dooley enters his fifth season with the Tigers in 2004, and during his time in Baton Rouge has proven his versatility on the staff. In four seasons at LSU, Dooley has coached two positions, coordinated LSU’s recruiting efforts, and has served as the special teams coordinator. In his first year as LSU’s running backs coach and special teams coordinator in 2003, Dooley made his impact felt right away.
Freshman running back Justin Vincent became the first rookie in LSU history to rush for 1,000-yards, which included an SEC Championship game record 201 against Georgia in the league title game. Vincent, a Freshman All-America and MVP of both the SEC title game and the Sugar Bowl, finished with 1,001 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns. Vincent capped his record-setting freshman season with a 117-yards rushing and one TD against Oklahoma in the national championship game.
On special teams, the Tigers ranked first in the SEC in net punting, kickoff coverage and punt returns. Punt returner Skyler Green returned two punts for TDs and led the nation in punt return average with 18.5 yards per return on his way to earning First-Team All-America honors in 2003 as a return specialist.
Following the 2003 national championship season, Dooley was promoted to assistant head coach for the Tigers.
In his first three years with the Tigers, Dooley played a key role in the development of LSU’s tight end corps, a group considered to be among the finest in the nation. As LSU’s tight ends coach, Dooley helped develop Robert Royal into one of the nation’s premier tight ends. Royal capped his career ranked third in LSU history among tight ends for receptions (59) and yards (707), and ranked second in receiving touchdowns (7). Royal also set the LSU record for tight ends for touchdowns in a season with five in 2000.
Following his senior season, Royal was drafted in the fifth round of the 2002 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins. Royal earned First-Team All-SEC honors in both 2000 and 2001, while Marcus Spears, now a defensive end for the Tigers, earned a spot on the Freshman All-SEC squad as a tight end.
As recruiting coordinator, Dooley engineered the nation’s top ranked recruiting classes in 2001 and 2003. For his efforts, Dooley was named college football’s fourth-best recruiter by the Sporting News in a Spring 2004 poll.
Dooley, the son of legendary Georgia football coach Vince Dooley, is no stranger to successful SEC football programs. During his time on the LSU staff, Dooley has helped lead the Tigers to four straight bowl games, two SEC titles and the 2003 national title.
Prior to his arrival at LSU, Dooley spent three seasons at SMU. While at SMU, he helped develop a young group of receivers, including Albert Johnson, who became the first player in SMU history to have three straight multiple touchdown games. In 1999, Dooley helped develop two true freshmen, Chris Cunningham and Cody Cardwell, who caught 70 passes for 1,039 yards and eight touchdowns.
A native of Athens, Ga., Dooley attended the University of Virginia, where he walked on the football team and earned a scholarship following his second season. While at Virginia, Dooley participated in three bowl games (Sugar, Citrus, All-American) and helped the Cavaliers win the 1989 ACC Championship. In 1990, Dooley was named First-Team Academic All-ACC and was invited to participate in the Senior Bowl.
He graduated from Virginia in 1990 with a bachelor’s degree in government and foreign affairs, then went on to earn his law degree from Georgia in 1994. Dooley served as a graduate assistant coach at Georgia in 1996 before going to SMU in 1997.
Derek and his wife, Allison, have two sons, John Taylor (6) and Peyton (3), and a daughter, Julianna (1).
The Dooley File
Year at LSU: Fifth (appointed Dec. 13, 1999)
Birthdate: June 10, 1968, at Athens, Ga.
Children: John Taylor, Peyton
High School: Clarke Central
College: Virginia ’91
Postgraduate: Georgia ’94
1996 Georgia (graduate assistant/defensive backs)
1997-99 SMU (wide receivers, 1997-99; assistant recruiting coordinator 1998-99)
2000- LSU (recruiting coordinator/tight ends 2000-02; special teams coordinator/running backs 2003)