Dooley comes to Dallas with 15-plus years of coaching experience, including six years as a head coach at the collegiate level and two years as an NFL assistant.
In Dallas, Dooley is re-united with head coach Jason Garrett after the two served on the same coaching staff with the Miami Dolphins from 2005-06.
Prior to joining the Dallas Cowboys, Dooley served as the head coach for the Tennessee Volunteers, where his club finished with a 15-21 record, earning a bowl berth in his first year. 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 eight players who were named Freshman All-SEC.
Also during Dooley’s tenure, quarterback Tyler Bray threw 69 touchdown passes and set the school record for highest completion percentage in a game. Wide receiver Justin Hunter also set a Tennessee freshman record with seven receiving touchdowns and averaged a team-best 25.9 yards-per-catch in 2010.
Before his arrival in Knoxville, Dooley served as the head coach at Louisiana Tech during the 2007-09 seasons 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 WAC 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.
Dooley first joined the professional ranks as the wide receivers coach for the Miami Dolphins from 2005-06 under head coach Nick Saban. He served on the same staff as Jason Garrett, who was the club’s quarterbacks coach at the same time. During his two years in the NFL, 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 followed Saban to the professional ranks after serving on his staff at LSU 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 BCS national championship in 2003, 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 league 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 head coach George Welsh.
As a wide receiver, Dooley earned that scholarship after his second season and went on to help the Cavaliers to three bowl appearances and the 1989 Atlantic Coast Conference championship. In 1990, he was named first team Academic All-ACC and helped Virginia to a Sugar Bowl bid against Tennessee. During his playing career, Dooley caught 41 passes for 604 yards and three touchdowns and participated in the Senior Bowl following the 1990 season.
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 law firm in Atlanta for two years.
Dooley is married to Dr. Allison Jeffers Dooley, an OB/GYN and Fort Worth, Texas, native. They have two sons, John Taylor and Peyton and a daughter, Julianna.
In June of 2012, the Dooley’s hosted the Big Orange Experience, an annual fundraising event for Variety, an organization that provides financial support for numerous children’s charities. This past year the proceeds from the event funded the Dooley-Witten Learning Center at the Halls/Powell Boys and Girls Club of the Tennessee Valley, a project on which Dooley teamed up with former Vol and Dallas Cowboys All-Pro tight end Jason Witten.