Our lives are full of heroes and leaders. People who set examples and challenge us to become what we didn't think was possible.
They're our coaches, our bosses and our friends. They're in our favorite books and movies. They're the people we want to implicate.
They're strong, self-sacrificing, mentally tough, pushing through physical and emotional pain with no thought to their own convenience or safety.
Head coach Derek Dooley leads Tennessee's football team, their coaches and their players. Dooley makes personal sacrifices for the team and Dooley takes the hit for every game and every loss. There's no one to pass the buck to.
He has made the sacrifices and he has done everything he can to coach to the best of his abilities.
I'll stand on this. Dooley is a positive in the program. He's a good leader and he doesn't take crap from anyone.
I've said in the past that our greatest issue is having "talented" players who are overhyped. We have all watched star quarterback Tyler Bray fall apart and highly recruited wide receiver Justin Hunter drop catchable balls.
On the defense, tackles are missed right and left and opposing teams are marching down the field.
I still don't think the above is Dooley's fault. I still don't think he should be fired.
Dooley disappointed me. He didn't disappoint me when the team lost to Georgia or again when we lost to Mississippi State.
He didn't disappoint me when they lost 44-13 to Alabama.
He disappointed me when he failed to make the sacrifices a great leader makes. He disappointed me when he didn't try to push through physical and emotional pain with no thought to his own convenience or safety.
While my above comment may sound harsh, I don't expect that kind of commitment from just anyone. I do expect it from coaches and leaders. I expect that kind of commitment from people who should be their players' hero.
I said previously that Dooley was a good leader and I'll stand by that. I'm no longer sure I'd say he was a great leader.
A great leader would have overlooked the pain from his recent hip surgery and shown his players what it meant to do the "impossible." If Dooley had thought about it, he would have stood on the sideline at Mississippi State and grinned.
His decision to coach from the press box and again from a stool at the Alabama game shows a weakness that I find alarming. It isn't the strong, John Wayne-style leadership this team needs.