After months of speculation and days of reports and rumors, Southern University has officially announced that it is severing ties with Eric Dooley.
Southern University AD Roman Banks released the following statement on Tuesday afternoon.
“After very thorough and continued evaluations of all components related to the Southern football program, I have recommended to President/Chancellor Shields, Board of Supervisors Chairman Myron Lawson and Athletic Chairman Atty. Domoine Rutledge that a change in the leadership of the program was necessary in order for Jaguar football to reach our full potential and expectations of our football program,” Banks said. “We appreciate and thank Coach Dooley for his time here at Southern and wish him the best in his future endeavors.”
Southern University assistant head coach, special teams coordinator and linebackers coach Terrence Graves will serve as the Interim head Coach and safeties coach Sean Wallace will serve as acting head coach for the Bayou Classic. Coach Graves will have the distinction as the only coach in the 50 year history of the Bayou Classic to coach both Grambling State and Southern University as the interim head coach. Graves led Grambling State to a win over Southern in the 2021 Bayou Classic.
Southern University is currently 5-5 and out of the race for the SWAC West title. Southern went 7-5 in Dooley’s first season, winning the SWAC West title and playing Jackson State in the SWAC title game.
Eric Dooley arrived in Baton Rouge after three seasons as head coach at Prairie View A&M. He led the team to a 7-4 record in his final season there, taking that team to the SWAC championship game as well. His hiring in 2021 was celebrated as a return to the placewhere he coached under Pete Richardson. He signed a four-year deal worth $310k per year, with a fifth year option.
“If you don’t go to a place with high expectations, you’re setting yourself up to fail,” he said at the time of his hiring. “I know what they’re looking for and feel I have the ingredients to get it done. The support is going to be there. What they’re looking for is a winner.”