“He felt strongly about ‘Dixie’…”

Interesting story told by Vince Dooley about how he navigated the football program out of the segregation era.

When it came to integration, college football didn’t lead the way – it couldn’t, Dooley said in a private interview after his speech. The pipeline had to be created, and that was the job of Georgia’s high schools.

“In these little towns, even though they were initially pretty prejudiced, if a guy goes out on a football field and performs – they respect that,” Dooley said. “That unfolded over a four- or five-year period, then it all blended in with the colleges. The colleges then were much better prepared for integration.”

College football couldn’t lead, but at least it could consolidate what others did to lead.

13 Comments

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13 responses to ““He felt strongly about ‘Dixie’…”

  1. He was a fine Auburn man.

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  2. 3rdandGrantham

    My favorite CFB integration story ever involves Bear Bryant and USC’s Jim McKay, in which long time integrated USC beautifully thumped Bryant’s all white Bama squad in ’70 I believe. Afterwards it was discovered that Bryant purposely scheduled the match up knowing he most likely would lose, but it would allow him to hopefully integrate his team in the totally myopic south.

    In fact, I believe The Bear flew out to L.A. in either ’68 or ’89 to setup the game, as he was getting all sorts of resistance back home in regard to integration. I believe a documentary was made about the whole affair, and some of called that ’70 USC-Bama game the most significant CFB game ever.

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    • Yep. Allen Barra relays this story in his book The Last Coach. Bryant did it as a way to push along integration at Alabama.

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    • 69Dawg

      Sam “the Bam” Cunningham was the USC back that integrated college football in the south. He ran over, around and through the Alabama defense. After the game Coach Bryant went to the USC dressing room and congratulated them on the game. He returned to Alabama and the rest as they say is history.

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  3. Vindex

    As I recall, it was announced just after the end of the 1969 season that NCAA was allowing teams to go from a 10 to an 11 game season. But Bear Bryant wasted little if any time in contacting his good friend John McKay at USC to use the new 11th game to schedule and home & home between the Tide and the Trojans. The two schools did have a little bit of older history from back in the pre-1946 era before the Rose Bowl went to a (then) Pac-8 vs Big 10 contract. Alabama had played Southern Cal a number of times in the Rose Bowl. Our one appearance there at the end of the 1942 season was against UCLA.

    People forget (or perhaps don’t want to find out) what a political football intercollegiate football became in the Southeast from 1954 to 1964. The political correctness of that era decreed that Southern teams could not schedule games with teams outside the region which had black players. The one occasion was when Georgia Tech wound up being invited to the Sugar Bowl in 1955, only to be matched up against Pitt which had <gasp!> a black player. The State’s ignorant asshat Governor of that era, Marvin Griffin, threw a terrible tantrum about about, demanding that the school revoke its acceptance of the invitation. Of course, he had no problem rounding up enough “lawmakers” in the State legislature to support him.Tech students, to their credit, demonstrated outside the Governor’s mansion, hanging him in effigy, although it is undoubtedly a mistake to see that as a sign of creeping racial liberalism. They were upset about being cheated of a visit to New Orleans as indeed they should have been.

    Tech kept its date with the Sugar Bowl but the Board of Regents was extremely rattled by the whole dustup and quietly requested that the two State schools with major CFB programs be very careful about whom they might schedule in future. That is probably why there was never a visit by Michigan to Athens before or after our game in Ann Arbor in 1965. By the beginning of the 1970s however, the whole political and social, landscape had changed.

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    • GaskillDawg

      I know you remember that Mississippi State won the SEC basketball championship in 1963 and were to play Loyola of Chicago in the first round (which was the round of 16, now called “:”Sweet Sixteen” in those days). Mississippi law prohibited MSU from playing the game because Loyola had some black players. Coach Babe McCarthy snuck the team out of Starkville in the middle of the night to fly to wherever the game was and played the game. Loyola won and in fact won the NCAA championship that year.

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      • Chopdawg

        Tech was all set to go to the NCAA if Ms State had stayed home

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      • Vindex

        Yes, McCarthy must have been frustrated beyond words, even as a native Mississippian who grew up in the Jim Crow era. His teams had won or tied for the SEC Championship for three out of the four season just prior to 1963, yet had to sit out each post-season and decline the automatic NCAA tourney invitation. At a certain point, he was just fed up and said the hell with it. Interestingly enough, he was supported by many of the students on the then all-white campus and finally by the school’s President, Dean Colvard, in spite of the noises made by peckerwoods in the Mississippi legislature about what could happen to the school’s appropriations if the sacred laws of racial purity were violated on the basketball court.

        Looking back over 50 years, we can at least be grateful that Georgia never descended into Mississippi Madness in the 1960s, although our State’s history in such matters between 1865 and 1965 is assuredly nothing to be proud of. I believe that I got to watch the first time a black player ever appeared in Sanford Stadium, when the Houston Cougars came in 1968 to return a visit the Dawgs had made out there the previous year. Their RB Paul Gipson gashed a solid Erk Russell D for mega-yards, we were lucky to salvage a 10-10 tie at the end. I was disappointed although we remained undefeated at that point. Then a couple weeks later, a bunch of us were watching evening sports with the day’s scores and on the screen it said, Houston 100 Tulsa 6. The room was suddenly filled with gasps and whistles.

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  4. Russ

    Nice to read that Squab was consulted. He was a DGD.

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  5. Cojones

    Let the old farts abide today. Lotta memories without looking up the true stats. Good to see that here. We aren’t sports reporters, jus’ fans.

    Squab incredibly could throw the football 100yds in the air. Saw him do it one day from a vantage point where I did research. Standing alongside was “Mr Clean”, arms folded and in a clean T-shirt.

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  6. Chopdawg

    VD might be the greatest Dawg of all time!…but as almost everybody knows, the correct response to HBTD is Them Dawgs Are Hell, Ain’t They

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