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While Vol Fans Erupted, Derek Dooley Stood Quietly Eating Spaghetti in the Background

Derek Dooley
Former Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley. Photo via Tennessee Football (@Vol_Football) on Twitter.

Tennessee’s victory celebration after defeating Alabama was a picture-perfect mix of both controlled and uncontrollable chaos.

However, in the midst of that chaos, one former Tennessee coach found a (somewhat) quiet section of the stadium for a quick bite to eat… No, really. senior insider John Talty captured a one-of-a-kind photo of former Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley eating spaghetti and meatballs from a Tupperware container in the depths of Neyland Stadium after the game. Dooley is currently an offensive analyst with the Alabama Crimson Tide.

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“After Saturday’s game, Dooley, now an offensive analyst at Alabama, quietly ate a container of spaghetti and meatballs in the corner of the bowels of Neyland Stadium as ecstatic Tennessee fans celebrated a few feet away from him,” Talty wrote in his postgame report for

Derek Dooley became Tennessee’s head coach in 2010 following the departure of now-Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin. The Athens, Georgia native had a 15-21 record over the span of his three-year career with Tennessee from 2010-2012.

Following his time in Knoxville, Dooley moved on to the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys as the wide receiver’s coach from 2013- 2017.

The former Tennessee coach returned to the college game in 2018, serving as the offensive coordinator and quarterback’s coach for the Missouri Tigers for two seasons. After those two SEC seasons, though, Dooley would return to the NFL.

Dooley had a two-year stint with the New York Giants, first serving as a senior offensive analyst in 2020 and then switching to the tight end’s coach in 2021. Ironically enough, former Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt was also on that 2021 Giants staff as a senior defensive analyst.

Now, Dooley currently is a senior offensive analyst with the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Although Alabama’s offense was strong on Saturday behind the arm of quarterback Bryce Young, Dooley’s Tide offense wasn’t able to outscore Tennessee, who won the ballgame 52-49 on a last-second field goal from kicker Chase McGrath.

Here’s to hoping the spaghetti wasn’t too cold, at least.

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