Derek Dooley hired as Tennessee football coach

Staff And Wire Reports

Derek Dooley has the Southern accent and the coaching pedigree, and is doing his best to reassure Tennessee fans their new coach appreciates where he’s working.

“How can you ask for anything more than the University of Tennessee?” Dooley said Friday.

The son of longtime Georgia coach Vince Dooley was introduced as the Volunteers’ second new head coach in 14 months, replacing Lane Kiffin days after he bolted for USC. Among his first challenges will be reassuring fans and players that he wants to be at Tennessee.

“The times of worrying about what happened are over,” Dooley said.

Dooley was offered the job late Friday afternoon, resigned as coach and athletic director of Louisiana Tech, and flew into Knoxville for the late news conference.

Dooley was 17-20 in three seasons at Louisiana Tech and was the only coach in major-college football to also serve as the athletic director.

Dooley was hired from a list of candidates believed to include Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, Air Force Coach Troy Calhoun, Duke Coach David Cutcliffe and Utah Coach Kyle Whittingham.

Heisman Trophy runner-up Toby Gerhart announced that he will make himself available for the NFL draft instead of staying at Stanford for a fifth season.

Gerhart, who played for Norco High, could have stayed for a fifth season because he played only one game in 2007 because of injuries, but opted for the NFL instead.


Padres to trade Kouzmanoff

The San Diego Padres agreed to trade third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff and a minor leaguer to the Oakland Athletics for outfielders Scott Hairston and Aaron Cunningham, according to a person with knowledge of the deal.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the trade was pending physicals and neither team had made an announcement.

Closer Heath Bell and the Padres agreed to a $4-million, one-year contract to avoid salary arbitration.

Tickets are still available for the seventh annual Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation’s “In the Spirit of the Game” dinner and auction, which will be held at 6 tonight at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza. Those interested in tickets, which start at $300, should call TAI Events at (310) 996-1188.

Proceeds will assist baseball scouts in need because of job loss, illness or financial hardship.

-- Mike DiGiovanna HORSE RACING

Jockeys to chip in to help Haiti

Jockeys at Santa Anita will be donating a portion of their mount fees and winnings from Sunday races to the American Red Cross campaign to assist victims of the deadly earthquake in Haiti.

When members of the jockey colony learned that the Red Cross had been invited to the track, beginning Sunday, to collect donations from the public, they decided to join the effort, said Alex Solis, who said as many as 20 jockeys are expected to take part.

-- Kevin Baxter ETC.

Palmer has lead in Sony Open

Ryan Palmer shot a four-under-par 66 in the Sony Open at Honolulu for a one-shot lead over a group that included Chad Campbell.

Campbell birdied his last two holes for a 64 and was tied for second with Robert Allenby and defending champion Zach Johnson, who overcame a triple bogey for a 67.

Defending champion Pat Perez heads a field that includes Justin Leonard, Jesper Parnevik and Mike Weir for the Bob Hope Classic golf tournament that begins Wednesday in La Quinta.

Gaining sponsor’s exemptions are Murrieta native Rickie Fowler; Sam Saunders, grandson of Arnold Palmer; 13-time PGA Tour winner David Duval and former USC golfer Jamie Lovemark.

-- Diane Pucin Ducks center Saku Koivu is expected to miss one to two weeks after spraining his right knee in Thursday’s loss to the Kings. The team also announced forward Joffrey Lupul, already out because of Dec. 17 back surgery, developed an infection in his back and the timetable for his return has been updated to indefinite, though he is expected to return this season.

-- Robyn Norwood