From The Editor: Get in your seats by 3:30 p.m. on Saturday for a historic day at the University of Georgia, the dedication of Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium!

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From The Editor: Get in your seats by 3:30 p.m. on Saturday for a historic day at the University of Georgia, the dedication of Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium!

Vance Leavy
Vance Leavy

One victory is in the books as our Georgia Bulldogs took care of business last Saturday night in Nashville. The same definitely can be said for the Bulldog Nation, who once again took over an opponent’s stadium with an awesome display of red.

In this space last week, I called for the team to not only “Do More,” but to also look good doing it. I’m happy to report that the team did in fact look good, but there is certainly plenty of room for improvement. Surely most folks out there didn’t think perfection was going to occur in game one, right? Personally, I think the fact that the gritty Commodores team kept our starters on the field for virtually the entire game was just what the doctor ordered. Nothing beats game reps versus a quality team, which Vanderbilt proved themselves of being well into the Nashville evening.

On Saturday, our Dawgs get the opportunity to show their fans and the nation that stellar, crisp play can be achieved without 100 yards of penalties. Playing fast, but controlled is certainly what Coach Smart and his staff began preaching after the Vandy victory.

As you can see by our cover, Saturday’s game versus Murray State has a bonus attraction as former Georgia coach and athletic director Vince Dooley will forever have his name tied to Sanford Stadium.

Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium … what an awesome day it will be as we honor Coach Dooley’s decades of service to making the University of Georgia one of the top athletic programs in the country.

Provided I set the page sequencing correctly (fingers crossed), beginning on page 25 is an eight-page tribute that can be pulled out as a souvenir. And I must say, Cheri and I are quite proud of how the pullout came together. It was certainly made easier by the dynamic writing of Murray Poole, Jeff Dantzler and Loran Smith (and the design of BI’s Stacey Nichols). Also, a huge shout out must go to Steven Colquitt who is an associate director with Georgia’s sports communication department. Steven has the painstaking responsibility of archiving most of Georgia Athletics’ images. With one email to him, I had a link to over 200 usable images of Coach Dooley.
Clearly, because of Coach Dooley’s accomplishments and commitment to the University, this pullout had to score a touchdown. However, it has extra meaning to everyone here at Bulldawg Illustrated because it was Coach Dooley, who gave Cheri and me his blessings to start BI 17 years ago in his athletic director office at Butts-Mehre. Coach didn’t shoot us down. Instead, he asked how he could help, which even resulted in him writing a column in BI during our first few years.

I’m sharing this fun personal anecdote because in my opinion it displays the uniqueness of Vincent Joseph Dooley. His accolades and intellect speak for themselves, but his willingness to be a mentor is why Coach Dooley deserves the awesome honor of having his name shared with Georgia’s beloved football stadium.

Be it football players, administrative employees, garden or history enthusiasts and yes even to a young (at the time), fearless newspaper couple with a decent idea, Coach Dooley’s greatest asset was and continues to be that of a supportive teacher.

Please enjoy our special pullout section to Coach Dooley. I hope it brings a smile to your face and inspires you to be inside Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday as we all are afforded the opportunity to thank his family and him.

As I wrap up, I leave you with one of my favorite photos from Saturday’s victory over Vandy. Throughout the game, I zeroed in on how Coach Smart literally coaches on every play. If a kick returner takes the ball out of the end zone when he shouldn’t, he gets a warm greeting from Coach Smart when he returns to the sideline. The same could be said for a silly penalty. The list goes on and on. However, Coach Smart is also the first to offer praise when a player executes properly on the field. He is animated and 100% into every play of the game. Without a doubt, Coach Smart reminds me of the former Georgia coach, who will have the field named after him on Saturday. Go Dawgs!!

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