COLUMBIA, Mo. – University of Missouri Head Football Coach Barry Odom has added veteran coach Derek Dooley to his staff, as announced today. Dooley, who has been part of record-setting offenses all throughout his 20-year coaching career – including six years of collegiate head coaching experience, will take over as Mizzou’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Details of Dooley’s contract will be released once fully executed, along with the completion of human resources procedures.
“I’m excited for our football program, Derek brings tremendous energy, knowledge and experience to our staff,” said Odom. “He will do a great job of mentoring our student-athletes in all areas of their lives, and I know he will add great benefit and loyalty to our staff room with his experiences he’s gained over his career. His football knowledge and offensive beliefs are in line with what will make Mizzou very successful. We have a great foundation to build on and along with the rest of the offensive staff we will put our kids in position to be their very best. I’m very happy to welcome the Dooley family to our organization!”
For the past five seasons, Dooley has been with the National Football League’s Dallas Cowboys as wide receivers coach, where he coached wideout Dez Bryant to three Pro Bowl selections. In Dooley’s Dallas tenure, the Cowboys reached the NFL Playoffs twice.
Prior to joining the Cowboys, Dooley served as head coach for the Tennessee Volunteers for three seasons (2010-12), earning a bowl berth in his first year at the helm. In 2012, Dooley’s offense broke multiple records, including the second-most yards in a season (5,711), a school-record combined 1,303 yards in consecutive games (2012) and the fourth-most points in UT history (2012). Dooley was named Tennessee’s 22nd football coach in 2010, and his first two recruiting classes included the SEC’s leading receiver in 2011 and a first-team All-SEC selection, six Freshman All-Americans, and nine players who were named Freshman All-SEC.
Before his arrival in Knoxville, Dooley served as the head coach at Louisiana Tech from 2007-09 and also doubled as the school’s athletic director for the last two years of his tenure in Ruston. As the head coach of the football team, Dooley led the Bulldogs to an 8-5 mark in 2008, including the school’s first postseason victory in 30 years at the Independence Bowl. Tech finished second in the Western Athletic Conference that season and played in a bowl game for only the third time since joining the major college ranks in 1989. For his efforts, the Louisiana Sports Writers’ Association named him 2008 Coach of the Year.
“I am excited to be a Mizzou Tiger and look forward to helping Coach Odom carry out his vision for the program. I am grateful for this opportunity, and am ready to get to Columbia and go to work,” said Dooley.
Dooley first joined the professional ranks as the tight ends coach for the NFL’s Miami Dolphins from 2005-06 under Head Coach Nick Saban. During his two years in Miami, Dooley oversaw the continued development of tight end Randy McMichael, who ended his Dolphins career as the team’s all-time leader in receptions by a tight end.
Dooley served on Saban’s LSU staff as the recruiting coordinator and tight ends coach from 2000-02 and then running backs coach and special teams coordinator from 2003-04. He helped the Tigers land No. 1 classes in 2001 and 2003. The Tigers won SEC championships both of those seasons, claimed the 2003 BCS National Championship, and Saban promoted Dooley to assistant head coach for the 2004 campaign.
He began his coaching career in 1996 as a graduate assistant at Georgia under defensive coordinator Joe Kines. He then served from 1997-99 as wide receivers coach and co-recruiting coordinator at SMU, where Dooley helped the Mustangs to the school’s only winning season over a 20-year stretch.
The youngest son of Georgia legend Vince Dooley, who coached the Bulldogs for 25 seasons and claimed six SEC titles and the 1980 national championship, Dooley never accepted the predetermined path to success. He played his college football at Virginia, turning down scholarship offers elsewhere to walk on and later earn his own scholarship from Cavaliers Hall of Fame Head Coach George Welsh.
He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in government and foreign affairs, and then went on to earn his law degree from the University of Georgia in 1994. Before embarking on his coaching career, Dooley practiced law at a private firm in Atlanta for two years.
In Dallas, Dooley’s receivers played a big role in rookie quarterback Dak Prescott’s transition to the NFL in 2016. With the new signal caller adjusting to the Cowboys offense, he was able to spread the ball around among his new receivers. Leading the way was a breakout campaign from Cole Beasley, who led the team in receptions (75) and receiving yards (833) – both career-highs – and was second with a career-high tying five touchdowns. Bryant rebounded in 2016 to lead the team with eight touchdowns – which also included surpassing Michael Irvin (65) for the second-most career receiving touchdowns in franchise history – and was second with 796 receiving yards and third with 50 receptions to earn his third trip to the Pro Bowl. Overall, the unit tallied 20-of-25 receiving touch- downs on the year.
The 2015 season got off to a difficult start, with All-Pro receiver Bryant fracturing his foot in the second game – missing seven games – and Dallas starting four different quarterbacks after Tony Romo twice fractured his clavicle. Bryant finished with 31 catches and three touchdowns – including the 50th touchdown connection between he and Romo, breaking the all-time franchise record of 49 set by Troy Aikman and Irvin. Dooley coaxed big seasons from Terrance Williams and Beasley. Williams continued to be a big play threat, averaging 16.2 yards-per-catch on 52 catches with a team-leading 840 yards. Beasley set then career-bests with 52 catches for 536 yards and a team-leading five touchdown receptions. Under Dooley’s watch, the receiving group accounted for 12 of Dallas’ 16 touchdowns through the air.
In 2014 – Dooley’s second season in Dallas – Bryant established a club single-season record with a league-best 16 touchdown catches while tallying his third consecutive 1,000-yard season with 1,320 yards (second in his career and tied for seventh in team history) on a team-best 88 catches en route to his second straight Pro Bowl nod. Bryant also became the third Cowboy (Bob Hayes, 4, and Terrell Owens, 3,) with at least three straight 10-touchdown seasons. Dooley continued the mentorship of second-year receiver Williams, helping the wideout finish second on the team in touchdown catches (eight), third in yards (621) and tied for fourth in receptions (37). In the postseason, Williams’ three touchdown catches averaged 40.7 yards. Beasley also emerged as a clutch receiver, especially on third down, as 26 (fourth on the team) of his 37 catches went for first downs, including 11 (third) on third or fourth down.
Dooley’s first season with the Cowboys coincided with the mercurial rise of Dallas’ top receiver, Bryant. Under Dooley’s guidance, Bryant built a successful campaign in his third season, leading the team with a career-high in receptions (93) along with 13 touchdowns (13) and 1,233 receiving yards – his second consecutive 1,000-yard season – en route to being named to his first career Pro Bowl. Bryant’s 13 touchdowns marked his second straight 10-touchdown season, be- coming only one-of-four players in team history to do so.
Dooley was also responsible for teaching the pro game to rookie Williams who finished third on the team with 736 yards and five touchdowns and fourth with 44 receptions. Williams’ totals tied for fourth in a season in club rookie annals in receptions and touchdowns and ranked fourth in receiving yards. As a whole, the receiving group was responsible for 22 of the team’s 33 receiving touchdowns.
Dooley and his wife, Dr. Allison Jeffers Dooley, are the parents of sons John Taylor and Peyton, and daughter, Julianna.