Vince Dooley, the winningest Georgia football coach in program history, has died at the age of 90. The University of Georgia announced the death of Dooley in an official statement.
Dooley served as the football coach from 1964 through the 1988 season, compiling a 201-77-10 record in his time at Georgia. The Bulldogs won the SEC 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 in that span.
“I got out of 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 his room,” Smart said. “I thought, God put him there for me to see him the night before his game, and he was waiting for his key to come to his room. I just knew it meant something.”
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In Dooley’s 25 years of coaching at Georgia, the Bulldogs only had a losing record just once. 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, Alabama Sports Hall of Fame and the Florida-Georgia- Hall of Fame
Georgia renamed the field at Sanford Stadium after Dooley in 2019, honoring the legendary Georgia sports figure.
“It was a very moving experience, a moving day,” Dooley said during the ceremony. “I thank all the people who were involved in making it happen and all the people who are involved in this, which is the biggest thrill of all.”
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By the time Dooley stepped away from coaching following the 1988 season, he was already working hard as the program’s athletic director. Many of Georgia’s best coaches were hired by Dooley such as gymnastics coach Suzanne Yoculan, Jack Bauerle of swimming and diving, Manny Diaz of men’s tennis, Jeff Wallace in women’s tennis and Chris Haack in men’s golf. All won multiple national championships for the University of Georgia.
Dooley became known in his later years for his gardening, a passion of his away from athletics. He is survived by his wife, Barbara and his children Daniel, Deanna Destry and Derek Dooley, who served as the head coach at Louisiana Tech and Tennessee.
Service/memorial details have not yet been announced at this time.