My love affair with Barbara Dooley, mother of Tennessee Volunteer coach Derek Dooley, is well established. I’ve frequently brought her on our 3 Hour Lunch radio show, I lamented her recent radio ban, and I’ve argued that more Momma Dooley is a Southern treasure. So you can imagine how ecstatic I was this morning to find out that Barbara was on the radio talking football again. This time coming to her son’s defense on Athens’ 1340 radio station because she believed Knoxville sportswriters talking about Saturday’s Tennessee-Georgia game had said her beloved son was on the hot seat.
What did Barbara Dooley do when she heard this criticism? She did what any mother would do. She drove to the radio station, walked into the studio, and defended her son.
You really do have to listen to all of it, but my favorite part is when she shoots down a congressman who is waiting to come on air.
Host: “You have to hurry because we’ve got a congressman standing by.”
Barbara Dooley: “Well, he can just wait. Football is important. Let me say this: Derek Dooley walked into kind of a mess. Florida, he walks into talent just oozing out of their ears. Jimbo Fisher walks into FSU with talent. And y’all are telling me that Derek Dooley is on the damn hot seat? Are you crazy?”
My second favorite part? Her lamentation of a bygone era when the coach and the reporters who covered him had great relationships.
Barbara Dooley: “Back when I was in coaching with my husband, the press was our best friends. Now all y’all want to do is beat the coaches to hell and back.”
I love this line because I’m convinced a Mad Men-esque story about sportswriting a couple of generations ago would be a tremendous hit. In fact, I’m convinced that a station like Versus, which doesn’t have much actual sports content, should get into original programming like this. I think it would kill.
Anyway, Barbara Dooley has great confidence in Derek. In fact, she says he’s going to be at Tennessee for 25 years.
In the meantime, I can’t wait to get to Knoxville on Saturday and see this UT-Georgia game.