I don’t know if you’ve heard about it, but a number of Coach Dooley’s former players have been organizing an effort to have the football field named in his honor. This was emailed to me and I’m reprinting it here in its entirety:
Please pass this attached information along to all of your club members if you would like to help ensure that this initiative gets approved…and soon! At the end of Tim Callaway’s note are the names and addresses of 4 key leaders who need to be encouraged via a letter writing campaign to make this happen.
UGA Football ’64, ’65, ’66, ‘67
I have been in contact with many others who are much more influential than I. A lot is going on behind the scenes, but it has become evident that there are certain powers that are not convinced that this is a big deal on the state level. We as players are up in arms but it is not getting as much attention as we would like. People who I have spoken to have agreed that a LETTER WRITING CAMPAIGN is a good idea. Emails can be deleted, but paper requires attention.
If you want to help, pls send letters to the following. I suggest one page briefly stating your UGA experience, Coach Dooley’s impact on you, your post playing accomplishments and the need/ obligation for UGA and the State to honor his impact on both. Those such as Lawhorne who have written eloquently on the subject should attach those documents.
There are only 70 addresses here. Please send this to friends, family, teammates to join in. We cannot use the G Club to do this for us since the club is part of the Athletic department. We want this, and to get it, we have got to do the work. It is the start of the 4th quarter, and we have to start driving–the clock is literally ticking, please act now.
Addresses below. Suggest letters addressed to the President with copies to everyone else.
Dr Jere Morehead
Office of the President
University of Georgia
220 S. Jackson St.
Athens, Ga 30602-1661
Chairman, Board of Regents
Waters Capital Partners, LLC
200 E Julian Street, Ste 100
Savannah, Ga 31401
Gov. Brian Kemp
Office of the Governor
Atlanta, Ga. 30334
Greg Mc Garity
Director of Athletics, UGA
1 Selig Circle
Athens, Ga 30602
If you want to do something, this is it. You have to be heard. Please enlist non-players also.
Thanks, Tim Callaway, 67, 68, 69
2017 AJC Op-Ed Letter by Tommy Lawhorne
A Modest Proposal
On September 4, 1932, Vincent Joseph Dooley inhaled his first breath in Mobile, Alabama, where he lived his childhood years. A good athlete, he was awarded a football scholarship to Auburn University where he played quarterback for Coach Ralph “Shug” Jordan. On the Plains, he earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s in history, but he managed to overcome that unfortunate academic experience. He has been bestowed with many, many awards and honors through the years. Vince Dooley served as head football coach at the University of Georgia from 1964 to 1988. He was also Athletic Director in Athens from 1979 to 2004. His football teams won six SEC championships and a national championship in 1980, when he was selected as National Coach of the Year. Five times he was SEC Coach of the Year. He has been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, the Marine Corps Sports Hall of Fame, and UGA Circle of Honor. In 2011, the Georgia Historical Society selected Coach as Trustee. He has won the Amos Alonzo Stag Award and the James J. Corbett Memorial Award, given by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. His community service has been sustained and conscientious, with yeoman efforts rendered for the Boy Scouts, Salvation Army, Heart Fund and Georgia Easter Seals Society. The above list highlights only a few of his honors and achievements.
A coach is essentially a teacher, and there are many of us who are most grateful our lives intersected with Vincent J. Dooley in Athens. From the outset the relationship was very vertical and coach’s posture was all business: tough, laconic, strict and fair. He was held in such reverence that I, for one, was hesitant to talk to him or look him in the eye, if I were alone. It is interesting and intuitive that the difference in ages 32 and 18 is more than the difference between 84 and 70. He emphasized, of course, the fundamentals of blocking and tackling, as well as the synergy of team. Immediately before every game, he would review several principles or rules, and he always concluded with, “We are all for one and one for all.” During my senior year, I remember walking onto the plane in transit to Lexington and seeing Coach Dooley reading a history anthology; I mused then that few college football coaches would be reading a history text before a big game. He was and is a cut above. In his personal life, he has been a devoted husband and father, and a man of faith–though he would never wear his religion on his sleeve. He and his wife Barbara (a character herself) have parented four alliteratively named progeny: Derek, Deanna, Daniel, and Denise.
As the years have progressed, he has taught us how to grow old and how to ‘retire.’ Coach has many and varied interests. Heck, he still arises daily at 6:00 a.m. for exercise and often audits university classes. How many college coaches are horticultural experts or Civil War scholars? Vince Dooley is an exceptional man; indeed, intellectually curious, he is a Renaissance man who
has authored several acclaimed books. Naturally, at age 84, Coach Dooley has endured a few routine health issues and recovered from all with aplomb. This man exudes character. I have seen him blame himself for a below par showing of a Georgia team, stop and give an autograph to a shabbily dressed kid, or walk into a noisy room of players–immediately there is absolute silence. Goethe wrote, “Talents are nurtured in solitude; character is best formed in the stormy billows of the world.” Each game Coach Dooley’s work was displayed publicly in full view of 90,000 cheering or jeering spectators, radio broadcasts, and television cameras. Daily he quietly displayed his character to his colleagues and players.
Winning is an almost sacred tenet in football, but some losses are inherently inevitable. Coach Dooley emphasized winning with grace and losing with dignity. One of his favorite aphorisms was, “Games are won and lost on third down.” Yet, this coach has taught us more than the subtleties of football; this coach has taught us about about life. As his players have scattered into various walks of life to pursue different goals, we have forgotten our assignments on a Split-60 defense against a Pro-I formation with the ball on the hashmark in the fourth quarter, with a 10-3 lead. Yet, we shall forever remember those intangible lessons instilled in us: hard work, perseverance, “third effort,” sanctity of the team. There are hundreds of us who cherish our times on the gridiron with Coach Dooley; and, I daresay, there are hundreds of thousands of Georgia fans who are proud Vince Dooley was there in Athens as our coach for a quarter of a century. The nexus of our relationship in those early years was intense reverence, akin to fear, which has now evolved into a more powerful four-letter emotion–love. Indeed, we love you, Coach…and Happy Birthday!
Many area universities have honored iconic coaches with the naming of athletic venues: Vaught-Hemingway, Jordan-Hare, Bryant-Denny, Williams-Brice, Neyland. There are numerous precedents. In fact, in April, 1988, the Georgia Board of Regents named Bobby Dodd Stadium at Grant Field. This is a wonderful recognition of Georgia Tech’s great football coach Bobby Dodd, whose record (22 years, 165-64-8, .713) is not quite as good as Dooley’s (25 years, 201-77-10, .715). The time has come to honor Coach Dooley by naming the field on the UGA campus ‘Vince Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium.’ Doing so would properly honor his immeasurable contributions to the University of Georgia.
Tommy Lawhorne, the author, is a vascular surgeon who practices in Columbus, Georgia. He played football for UGA in 1964-67 and was defensive co-captain in 1967. He was valedictorian of the 1968 graduating class and received his medical education at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He has served as a member of the UGA Athletic Board and UGA Foundation.
Huckaby: Time to name field at Sanford Stadium in honor of Vince Dooley
By Darrell Huckaby
Posted Mar 10, 2019 at 10:00 AM
Familiarity breeds contempt. Or it doesn’t.
Enter Vincent Joseph Dooley.
He was my boyhood hero. He came to Athens in 1964 to become the head football coach at UGA. I was 12 — prime time for worshipping athletic heroes. Coach Dooley took my beloved Bulldogs from the depths of despair — 3 wins, 3 wins and 4 wins over the three years preceding his arrival — to a 7-3-1 season and a win over All America Donny Anderson and the Texas Tech Red Raiders in his inaugural campaign. Georgia beat Florida that year. First time in five tries. Georgia beat Georgia Tech that year. First time in four tries. Instant nirvana Between the Hedges.
Two years later, Dooley’s Dogs would win the SEC title for the first time since 1959: a seven-year drought. The 1966 championship season included wins over Florida, Auburn and a third-straight win over the Enemy from North Avenue. Georgia would go on to defeat SMU in the Cotton Bowl and finish fourth in the land.
Dooley would continue to coach my beloved Georgia Bulldogs for another 22 seasons — 25 in all. His teams would win 201 games against only 77 losses with 10 ties. His teams would win the Southeastern Conference — where it just means more — six times, including three in a row from 1980-82. In 1980, the Dogs were the “undisputed and untied, undefeated and undenied champions of college football.” Yes, the inimitable Dan Magill coined that phrase.
Dooley brought Georgia to a sustained position of national prominence in college football they hadn’t enjoyed since Wally Butts was the coach during and just after World War II. And when Dooley decided it was time to step down as head football coach, he remained as athletic director for 15 more years, building Georgia into one of the top all-around programs in the nation. He always lead with grace, dignity, integrity and honor.
I admired Dooley from afar for a long, long time and appreciated his efforts on behalf of my alma mater. And then I got to know him on a much more personal level. The adage referenced at the top of my column to the contrary, the more I got to know Dooley, the more my respect for the man grew.
Over the past five years, he and I have travelled together across most of Europe. Sometimes our mutual friend, Gary Hill, joined us. Sometimes our wives, Barbara and Lisa, have been along — making life on the road quite interesting. But we have spent many days, traveled thousands of miles and visited remarkable historical sites, such as Hitler’s Wolf Lair and the horrible death camp at Auschwitz all alone — just the two of us.
You learn an awful lot about a man when you travel with him in close quarters over a long period of time. 24/7 is a lot of time to spend together. It could be easy to grow weary of a companion and to have his faults and annoyances easily exposed.
Except not with Dooley. He is the same person day after day after day. He is a gentleman, through and through — polite to each and every person he encounters, no matter the capacity. He is a brilliant conversationalist, and one of the most well-rounded and intelligent people I know. He loves to talk about three things primarily — his family, flowers and history. He doesn’t talk about football much, unless prompted, but can call upon his near eidetic memory to regale an audience of one or of hundreds with story after story of players and games and seasons past.
Dooley always beats me to breakfast in the morning, sets a strong and steady pace all day and after I turn in, stays up late into the night reading and learning about what we had seen that day or would see on the morrow.
And he never stops being an ambassador for the University of Georgia. He is recognized all over the world. We have had people stop us from Normandy to Warsaw to Amman, Jordan, and he is always happy to pose for pictures, sign an autograph, hug a neck and give a “Go Dawgs” to everyone he meets.
All that to say that Dooley is truly the most remarkable man I have ever spent time with. He continues to represent our institution with warmth and grace and to bring glory to old Georgia. And it is way past time his accomplishments and contributions were recognized in a proper and permanent way.
On Sept. 4, Dooley will turn 87. On Sept 21, Georgia will host Notre Dame in Sanford Stadium. Yeah, that Notre Dame. Sugar Bowl. New Orleans, Jan. 1, 1981. Georgia 17. Irish 10.
That needs to be the first game played on Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium. We don’t need to wait any longer. It needs to be done now. Not posthumously in another generation.
Get behind this. Please. We can make it happen.
If nothing else, were this to become a reality, it would piss off Michael Adams to no end. There’s something to be said for that.