Tennessee fires football coach Derek Dooley

By STEVE MEGARGEE | November 18, 2012 | 2:33 PM EST

Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley watches during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game against Vanderbilt, Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart believes Derek Dooley improved Tennessee football during his three-year tenure as the Volunteers' coach.

Dooley just didn't improve the Vols enough to keep his job.

The 44-year-old Dooley was fired Sunday after posting a 15-21 record that lacked wins over ranked opponents and Southeastern Conference foes. Dooley was 4-19 in SEC games and 0-15 against Top 25 teams. Tennessee (4-7, 0-7 SEC) is 1-14 in the SEC over the last two years.

Hart said Sunday that Dooley improved the team despite inheriting a tough situation, but he noted that "you can't ignore the results at the end of the day."

Tennessee's 41-18 loss to Vanderbilt on Saturday guarantees the Vols their third consecutive losing season.

Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney will coach the Vols' season finale.