It’s a big week for Derek Dooley as his Vols travel to Athens to take on the undefeated Georgia Bulldogs.
Given the fact that Georgia is a two touchdown favorite, it’s probably unfair to expect Dooley to pull off the upset. But the tension in Knoxville in the wake of an awful final eighteen minutes against Florida has Dooley’s job status as a constant topic. Which brings to local radio station WNML, the Sports Animal, the Volunteer affiliate, ground zero for Vol fan disgust.
Every morning Doc, Jeff, and Heather talk sports. The trio is an odd couple (plus one) of sorts, Doc is Mickey Dearstone, longtime voice of the Tennessee Lady Vols, Jeff Jacoby has been covering the Vols for 14 years, and Heather Harrington is a former Lady Vol volleyball player.
On Tuesday morning a caller was arguing that Derek Dooley needed to go. This same call has been received by the trio every day for the past three years.
Usually, nothing extraordinary happens, but Tuesday, lucky for all of us, something snapped.
Leading to radio gold.
Listen to the audio here. (Pause the video on the right side of the screen to ensure you hear it all).
And if you can’t listen to the audio, we’ve helpfully recreated the blow-up for you below. But, again, please listen to the audio yourself as the recreated audio can’t capture the sublime awkwardness and awesomeness of sports talk radio hosts coming undone over Dooley’s future. Between this clip and UT frat boys butt-chugging wine it’s clear that everyone in Knoxville is slowly going crazy.
Heather: “I started talking first, Jeff, I don’t know why you’re getting mad.”
Jeff: “You’ve been talking all day I haven’t been able to say a word… “
Doc: “Alright, both of you….”
Heather: “Woah, you need to BACK up!”
Jeff: “No, you need to back up.”
Heather: “You need to back up.”
Six seconds of silence, which is an eternity in radio. Trust me.
Doc: “I’ll take it from here, both of you go on.”
The two co-hosts are evicted from the studio. Where they likely continued their debate about who needed to back up outside of audio range.
Next caller: a stuttering regular named Roger who wants to talk to Heather about his putt-putt hole-in-one. Only Heather isn’t on air. If you don’t absolutely lose it when the discussion about the putt-putt course keeping your golf ball comes around, you’re a better man or woman than me.
Seriously, you can’t make up local sports talk radio.
Meanwhile, Derek Dooley, the ostensible cause of the fight, remains 3-1 on the season, 14-14 in his Tennessee coaching career.
I’m not sure anyone in Knoxville media will survive another .500 football season.
You Need To Back Up!