As the only head football coach in the country who also serves as the university's athletics director, Derek Dooley enter his third season at Louisiana Tech leading both the football program and the athletic department into a new era of unprecedented change.
Since he stepped on campus Dec. 17, 2006 when he was named the 31st head coach in Bulldog football history, Dooley has rebranded not only the reputation but the perception of Louisiana Tech Athletics on a regional and national level.
His work ethic and incredible vision during his first year as the Bulldog head coach was so impressive that Louisiana Tech President Dr. Dan Reneau added a line to Dooley's business cards March 6, 2008 when he named him athletics director.
Dooley's hiring and immediate success at Louisiana Tech have drawn rave reviews from some of the university's top alumni.
"Derek is exactly what I hoped he would be," said NFL Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw. "As far as I am concerned, he has exceeded everyone's expectations, including the 65,000 alumni. He is making people stand up and take notice of Louisiana Tech.
"What we have is a man who has a vision for this program and this university; he wants to make it something special. He has a plan. It is an energetic, aggressive plan, and I could not be more proud to have him as our AD and our football coach."
In just his first year as athletics director, Dooley has overseen a complete overhaul in the infrastructure of the athletic department from staffing to facilities to external operations.
Some of the external highlights include:
Restructuring the athletic foundation by creating LTAC, Team Tech 100 and the new LA Tech Kids Club (private giving increased by more than 150 percent in the first year).
Increasing net corporate sponsorship revenue by 123 percent in his first year.
Contracting with Learfield Sports as the exclusive multi-media rights holder, thereby creating LA Tech Sports Properties starting in the 2009-10 fiscal year.
Restructuring ticket operations and implementing an on-line ticketing system, the first in LA Tech history. Ticket sales revenue increased 51 percent in one year and a new record for football season tickets was set.
Contracting with Ticketmaster (effective this year) to modernize the LA Tech Ticket Office in order to better serve the fan base.
Contracting with Rickabaugh Graphics in the rebranding of the Louisiana Tech athletic logos.
Plenty of facility improvements have also taken place in the past season or are scheduled for the upcoming year including:
Joe Aillet Stadium
o Received a chemical wash and new paint job on the interior and exterior of the stadium.
o Louisiana Tech legends banners were installed on both the east and west sides of the stadium honoring Joe Aillet, Terry Bradshaw, Fred Dean and Willie Roaf.
o A new FieldTurf was installed in the summer of 2008 which included the new LA Tech logo
o New box seats are being installed and will be ready for 2009.
A Daktronics state-of-the-art high definition video display scoreboard is being installed at Joe Aillet Stadium and will be operational starting with the home opener Sept. 19. The video display area is almost 1,500 square feet, making it the largest in the Western Athletic Conference.
Thomas Assembly Center
o Received a chemical wash and new paint job on the exterior
Women's Soccer Field
o A new women's soccer field is being constructed and will be ready for the opening of the 2009 season.
o Louisiana Tech's student-athletes are now being housed in student apartments on campus that include 2- and 4-bedroom designs, private bedroom phones and television, kitchens equipped with ranges and refrigerators, high-speed internet, and easy access to the heart of campus.
Dooley also has made his mark as athletics director with personnel, promoting former Lady Techster legend and two-time Kodak All-American Teresa Weatherspoon as the head of the women's basketball program in early February. With the Techsters in fifth place in the WAC standings at the time of the move, Weatherspoon led the team to a perfect 7-0 mark down the stretch and a regular season conference championship title.
Dooley is no stranger to collegiate athletics, growing up as the son of legendary Georgia head coach Vince Dooley, who also served in the dual role of athletics director during his time in Athens.
As a football coach, he comes by his talent honestly.
In just two short years as head football coach, Dooley has led the Bulldogs to their first bowl victory in more than 30 years as LA Tech defeated Northern Illinois in the 2008 Independence Bowl.
The bowl appearances was only their third since Louisiana Tech joined the FBS ranks 20 years ago.
After posting a 3-10 mark in 2006 the year before Dooley was hired, Tech recorded an 8-5 mark this season, which includes wins over SEC foe Mississippi State and bowl-bound Fresno State, and a second-place finish in the Western Athletic Conference standings -- a conference that boasts six bowl eligible teams out of the nine members.
Dooley's work the past two years didn't go unnoticed as he was named the Coach of the Year in the state of Louisiana by the Louisiana Sports Writer's Association, the first time a LA Tech coach earned the honor in a decade.
Tech's football program has also been recognized nationally for the student-athletes work off the playing field.
Bulldog senior linebacker Quin Harris was named a 2008 National Scholar-Athlete, one of only 15 in the country and Louisiana Tech's first ever. Harris was awarded an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship for this honor and was a finalist for the coveted National Football Foundation's Draddy Award, known as the "academic Heisman Trophy."
Harris was also one of 13 finalists for the coveted Wuerffel Trophy, which is presented to the college football player who best combines exemplary community service with outstanding academic and athletic achievement.
The Bulldog program was also recognized by the American Football Coaches Association as one of only 32 schools to graduate 70 percent of its football student-athletes. Tech was the lone member of the WAC and the only school from the state of Louisiana to receive this honor.
Dooley came to Louisiana Tech in December of 2007 following a two-year stint as the tight ends coach for the Miami Dolphins, and at age 41, he is one of the youngest head coaches in the FBS ranks.
Prior to joining the Dolphins, Dooley spent the previous five years at LSU, including the 2003 season when the Tigers won the National Championship. He also spent the 1997-99 seasons as wide receivers coach at SMU after a one-year stint as a graduate assistant at the University of Georgia.
Dooley played football at the University of Virginia where he helped lead the Cavaliers to three bowl appearances and the 1989 ACC championship. He graduated from the Charlottesville, Va., school in 1990 with a bachelor's degree in government and foreign affairs, and went on to earn his law degree from Georgia in 1994.
Before embarking on his coaching career, Dooley practiced law at a private firm in Atlanta for almost two years.
Derek is married to Dr. Allison Jeffers Dooley, a practicing OBGYN at the Woman's Clinic of Ruston. The couple has two sons, John Taylor (10) and Peyton (7), and a daughter, Julianna (5). Allison organized and spearheads "Bulldogs Tackling Breast Cancer," an annual fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
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