Vince Dooley, longtime Georgia football coach, dies at 90

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ATLANTA (AP) — Vince Dooley, the football coach who carried himself like a professor and guided Georgia for a quarter-century of success that included the 1980 national championship, died Friday. He was 90.

The school announced that Dooley died peacefully at his Athens home in the presence of his wife, Barbara, and their four children. No cause of death was given.

Dooley was hospitalized earlier this month for what was described as a mild case of COVID-19, but he pronounced himself fully recovered and ready to attend his regular book-signing session at the campus bookstore before an Oct. 15 game against Vanderbilt.

Dooley had a career record of 201-77-10 while coaching the Bulldogs from 1964 to 1988, a stretch that included six Southeastern Conference titles, 20 bowl games and just one losing season.

He is the fourth-winningest coach in SEC history, trailing only Bear Bryant, Steve Spurrier and Nick Saban.

After retiring from coaching, Dooley continued as the school’s athletic director, a job he held from 1979 until 2004. He built a program that achieved success over a wide range of both men’s and women’s sports.

The field at Sanford Stadium was dedicated in his honor during the 2019 football season.

 A timeline of Vince Dooley’s life and career:

1932 — Born Sept. 4 in Mobile, Alabama.

1951 — Began his three-year career at Auburn, where he played quarterback under famed coach Shug Jordan.

1956 — Completes a two-year stint as an officer in U.S. Marine Corps.

1963 — With no previous head coaching experience, Dooley is hired as Georgia’s football coach shortly after the Bulldogs wrapped up their third straight losing season under Johnny Griffith.

1964 — Leads Georgia a 7-3-1 record in his inaugural season, including a victory over Texas Tech in the Sun Bowl.

1965 — Upsets Bear Bryant and defending national champion Alabama 18-17 in season opener.

1966 — Leads Georgia to its first Southeastern Conference title since 1959 with a team that finishes 10-1, its only loss a 7-6 setback at Miami. The Bulldogs defeated SMU 24-9 in the Cotton Bowl and finished No. 4 in the national rankings.

1968 — Georgia captures the second SEC title of the Dooley era, posting an 8-1-2 mark. The only loss was a 16-2 setback to Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl.

1976 — The Bulldogs capture their third SEC title under Dooley, highlighted by a 21-0 shutout of Bryant’s Alabama team at Sanford Stadium. An upset loss at Ole Miss ruined a perfect regular season, and Georgia is blown out by Tony Dorsett and national champion Pittsburgh 27-3 in the Sugar Bowl.

1977 — Georgia struggles to a 5-6 mark — the only losing season of Dooley’s coaching career.

1979 — Adds title as Georgia’s athletic director.

1980 — After landing touted running back Herschel Walker, Georgia captures the fourth SEC title under Dooley and its first undisputed national championship. The 12-0 season includes a memorable victory over Florida on Buck Belue’s 93-yard touchdown pass to Lindsay Scott and is capped with a 17-10 triumph over Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl. After the season, Dooley considers an offer to return to his alma mater but decides to stay at Georgia.

1981 — Georgia captures its second straight SEC title (and fifth with Dooley), but any hopes of repeating as national champion are dashed by an early 13-3 defeat at Clemson and a 24-20 upset loss to Pitt in the Sugar Bowl. The Bulldogs finished 10-2 and ranked No. 6.

1982 — The last of Dooley’s six SEC titles marked a third straight finish atop the league standings. The Bulldogs went 11-0 during the regular season and were ranked No. 1 heading into a Sugar Bowl showdown against Joe Paterno and No. 2 Penn State. But the Nittany Lions captured the national title with a 27-23 victory. Walker became the second Georgia player to capture the Heisman Trophy, but gave up his senior to season to sign with the upstart U.S. Football League.

1988 — In Dooley’s final season as coach, the Bulldogs finished 9-3 and defeated Michigan State 34-27 in the Gator Bowl. He finishes with a career record of 201-77-10, which at the time was the second-most wins in SEC history behind only Bryant. Dooley remains as Georgia’s athletic director.

1994 — Inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

2001 — Hires Mark Richt to launch a return to national prominence for the Bulldogs’ football program.

2004 — Retires after four decades at Georgia, a decision that was forced on him after a spat with Michael Adams, the university president.

2019 — School honors Dooley by putting his name on the field at Sanford Stadium.

2022 — Dies at his home in Athens, Georgia.


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