The hiring of Dooley capped a tumultuous week in Knoxville, which saw an on-campus student backlash Tuesday when Lane Kiffin bolted to USC after just one season at the SEC school.
Dooley, 41, the son of former Georgia football Coach Vince Dooley and a former walk-on wide receiver at the University of Virginia, compiled a 17-20 overall record in three seasons with the Bulldogs. He guided Tech to its first bowl victory in 30 years, a 17-10 win over Northern Illinois in the 2008 Independence Bowl.
"Derek is one of the bright young coaches in America," Hamilton said on Tennessee's Web site. "He understands our league and the competitive environment in which we compete. We are excited to welcome Derek and (his wife) Allison to the UT family."