- Chris Low, ESPN Senior Staff Writer
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Barbara Dooley has her son's back, or as she calls him, her "baby."
To everybody else, her "baby" is Tennessee coach Derek Dooley, and you better not go talking about any hot seats and her "baby" in the same breath if she's around.
Mama Dooley made an impromptu appearance on an Athens, Ga., radio show Thursday morning and good-naturedly chastised two reporters from the Knoxville, Tenn., area after she heard the words "hot seat" and Derek Dooley mentioned in the same conversation.
The exchange was priceless, and you can go to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's website for an audio link.
Mama Dooley, who has her own show on that same station (WGAU-AM 1340), happened to be listening and drove to the station to offer up her two cents worth on whether or not her "baby" should be on the hot seat, even though the two writers, Andrew Gribble of The Knoxville News-Sentinel and Dave Hooker of ESPN.com, never suggested that Dooley should be or was on the hot seat.
The word 'hot seat' was used at some point, though, and that's what stoked Mama Dooley's fire.
"I want to ask you guys something. Back when I was in coaching with my husband, the press was our best friends. Now all y’all want to do is beat the coaches to hell and back," Barbara Dooley told Gribble and Hooker.
She later added: " Let me say this: Derek Dooley walked into kind of a mess. Florida [coach Will Muschamp] walks into talent just oozing out of their ears. Jimbo Fisher walks into FSU with talent. And y’all are now telling me that Derek Dooley is on a damn hot seat? Are you crazy?"
A couple of different times, Hooker tried to interject that he never said Dooley was on the hot seat.
But Mama Dooley wasn't buying it. She heard the words "hot seat," and that was enough for her.
"You’ve got mama’s rile up now, buddy," she said. "You know [Derek Dooley] played 17 freshmen against Florida?
"I just want you to be nice and fair and know that you probably got the greatest coach in the country ... and he’s going to be there 25 years."
Derek Dooley joked back in the summer that his mother frequently violated his media policy, and he even got her to quit doing her regular gig on The Paul Finebaum Show.
Still, he knew she wouldn't completely stay off the airwaves.
"For 43 years, I’ve never been able to get my mom not to do something she wanted to do, so why would it start now?" Dooley told The Tennessean's David Climer.
The "baby" boy sure knows his mama.
Barbara Dooley has her son's back, or as she calls him, her "baby."To everybody else, her "baby" is Tennessee coach Derek Dooley, and you better not go talking about any hot seats and her "baby" in the same breath if she's around.