Vince Dooley, legendary Georgia football coach and athletic director, passes away at 90

Vince Dooley, Georgia’s most decorated football coach in program history, has died at the age of 90. The University of Georgia announced Dooley’s death in an official statement.

Dooley coached football from 1964 through the 1988 season, compiling a 201-77-10 record during his time at Georgia. The Bulldogs won the SEC six times under Dooley and were national champions in the 1980 season. He also served as the school’s athletic director from 1979 through 2004, hiring many of Georgia’s most successful coaches during that span. .

“I got off the elevator the other night and I thought it was a sign when the elevator opened on the 15th floor and Vince Dooley was sitting on a bench locked out of the his room,” Smart said. “I thought, God put him there to see the night before his game, and he was waiting for his key to come to his room. I knew that meant something.”

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In Dooley’s 25 years of coaching at Georgia, the Bulldogs only had one loss. At the time of his retirement, only Alabama’s Bear Bryant had more wins among SEC coaches.

Dooley was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1994. He is also a member of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame and the Florida-Georgia Hall of Fame.

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Georgia renamed the field at Sanford Stadium after Dooley in 2019, honoring the famous Georgia sports figure.

“It was a very moving experience, a moving day,” Dooley said during the ceremony. “I’m grateful for everyone who was a part of making it happen, and everyone involved in this, and that’s the greatest joy of all.”

Related: Georgia’s Vince Dooley was surprised to learn of the field naming honor at Sanford Stadium

By the time Dooley retired from coaching after the 1988 season, he had been working hard as the program’s athletic director. Many of Georgia’s best coaches were hired by Dooley such as track and field coach Suzanne Yoculan, Jack Bauerle in swimming and diving, Manny Diaz in men’s tennis, Jeff Wallace in women’s tennis and Chris Haack in men’s golf. All have won multiple national championships for the University of Georgia.

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Dooley became famous in later years for his gardening, which he liked to be away from athletics. He is survived by his wife, Barbara and his children Daniel, Deanna, Denise and Derek Dooley, along with 11 grandchildren.

Service/memorial details have not been announced at this time.


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