Eric Dooley

Eric Dooley addresses the crowd after being introduced as the head football coach at Prairie View on Friday at Prairie View, Texas.

Provided photo by Prairie View

PRAIRIE VIEW, Texas — Eric Dooley, a longtime assistant coach in the Southwestern Athletic Conference with strong ties to Grambling and Southern, now has the chance to lead his own program at Prairie View.

Dooley was introduced as the Panthers' 33rd head coach Friday after spending four seasons as offensive coordinator at Grambling, where he helped the Tigers to three consecutive Western Division titles and two SWAC Championships.

Dooley, a New Orleans native and Fortier High School graduate, played under Eddie Robinson at Grambling and later spent 14 seasons as an assistant coach at Southern (13 under Pete Richardson and one under Stump Mitchell).

Known for his easygoing nature, his attention to detail and sharp fashion sense, Dooley often drew praise from his own players and his bosses.

“I think more than anything else, he understands how to build programs," Richardson said. "He’s learned really well in terms of order and organization. Also, he’s going to demand respect and discipline from his players. The great thing about him is he understands how to recruit. He’s a great recruiter, and he understands talent. He’s well respected in the coaching profession.”

Dooley left Southern in 2011 to become offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Arkansas-Pine Bluff under Monte Coleman. The offense improved each year on Dooley's watch, and in 2012 the Golden Lions won their first outright SWAC championship since 1966.

UAPB also sent tackle Terron Armstead to the NFL draft, where he was taken in the third round by the New Orleans Saints.

At Grambling, Dooley's offense averaged at least 31 points per game and ranked first or second in the SWAC in scoring offense each of his final three seasons.

Two more players, receivers Chester Rogers (Indianapolis) and Chad Williams (Arizona) made it to the NFL during that time.

Dooley spent most of his 14 seasons at Southern as wide receivers coach. His run included four SWAC championships (1997, '98, '99 and 2003) and two of the school's most prolific receivers, Michael Hayes and Juamorris Stewart.

Dooley earned his Bachelor’s degree from Southern University New Orleans (1999), and his master’s degree from Southern (2005).

“Eric Dooley is ready for this next step and challenge in his coaching career and we are excited to name him as our new head football coach,” Prairie View athletic director Ashley Robinson said. “From receivers coach to offensive coordinator, he has been a part of or led explosive units throughout his career. ... Simply put, he’s a winner, and we look forward to him leading Prairie View A&M football to championship success.”