Southern University fires head football coach Eric Dooley

Dooley had two years remaining on a contract that pays him $310,000 annually

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A shake-up in leadership is underway for Southern University’s football program.

In a statement Tuesday, Director of Athletics Roman Banks said the university had parted ways with coach Eric Dooley, who was in his second season. Assistant coach Terrence Graves will fill the head coaching position on an interim basis.

Southern University head coach Eric Dooley before the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship NCAA college football game against Jackson State, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Jackson, Miss. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

Safeties coach Sean Wallace will serve as acting head coach for the annual Bayou Classic matchup in New Orleans against Grambling State on Nov. 25.

Banks thanked Dooley for his service and wished him well in the future but said a change was needed in the program’s leadership “in order for Jaguar football to reach our full potential and expectations.”

Reports of Dooley’s firing surfaced Monday, just two days after the Jaguars lost 27-21 to Prairie View A&M to fall to 5-5 on the season (4-3 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference). Dooley was hired in December 2021 after a previous 12-year stint with Southern as an assistant coach under Pete Richardson, which overlapped with the Jags’ 1997 and 2003 HBCU titles, as well as the 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2003 SWAC titles.

Under Dooley, Southern went 12-10 overall and 9-6 in SWAC play. In his first season, Dooley’s team won the West Division with a 5-3 record but lost 43-24 to Jackson State in the championship game.

Southern has not announced a timeline for finding a permanent replacement for Dooley, who has two years remaining on a contract that pays him $310,000 annually.

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