Former University of Georgia head football coach and director of athletics Vince Dooley was presented the Wooden Citizenship Cup Wednesday night in Atlanta during annual ceremonies at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre.
Sponsored by the Athletes For A Better World organization, the award is presented to the professional sports personality who has made the greatest positive influence on the lives of others.
Also honored were five college athlete nominees for the collegiate Wooden Cup Award. Bob Ryan, famed sportswriter for the Boston Globe and analyst for ESPN served as the Master of Ceremonies. Previous recipients of the Wooden Citizenship Cup, named for legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden, include Jack Nicklaus, Pat Summitt, Dikembe Mutombo, Drew Brees, Mia Hamm, Peyton Manning, John Smoltz, John Lynch, Andrea Yaeger, Shannon Miller and Cal Ripken, Jr.
Dooley became the head football coach at the University of Georgia in 1964 at the age of 31. During Dooley’s twenty-five year tenure as head football coach, the Bulldogs won the 1980 national championship, six SEC championships, won 201 games, and played in 20 bowl games. He led the Bulldogs until he retired in1988 and is among the winningest coaches in the history of college football. In addition to excellence on the field, Dooley encouraged academic excellence in his players. Under his leadership more than 100 student-athletes received academic awards and post-graduate scholarships.
Dooley served as the University of Georgia’s athletic director from 1979 to 2004. Dooley has been a member of the College Football Hall of Fame since 1994, received the NCAA National Coach of the Year award twice, and “Georgian of the Year” by Georgia Association of Broadcasters and National Volunteer of the Year. He received the Amos Alonzo Stagg Award, presented by the American Football Coaches Association in 2001. He was an analyst on ESPN college football telecasts, president of the American Football Coaches Association. In 2011 Dooley was named a Georgia Trustee by the Georgia Historical Society, which recognizes those whose accomplishments and community service reflect the ideals of the founding body of Trustees.
Among Dooley’s many philanthropic interests, he served over 25 years as chairman of the Georgia Easter Seals and is involved with the Salvation Army, Boy Scouts of America, and numerous other charitable organizations. He is a Civil War expert and a member of the Civil War Round Table. Additionally, he is a renowned horticulturist with several books published on plants and gardens.
John Wooden, who won ten national championships during the years 1964–1975 as basketball coach at UCLA is regarded as the greatest college coach of any sport who ever lived. He is universally regarded as one of the finest human beings to ever grace the world of sports, and his character, conduct and selfless gifts stand at the highest level by any standard. When Coach Wooden learned about Athletes for a Better World, he gave authorization to attach his name to this annual award and he attended and addressed the inaugural event in Los Angeles in 2005. In his honor, the Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup is presented to two distinguished athletes, one collegiate and one professional or Olympic, for their character and leadership both on and off the field and for their contributions to sport and society.
Recipients of the Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup are chosen by voting done by the Board, the Advisory Board and over 100 distinguished individuals involved in athletics across the country.
About Athletes for a Better World: Founded in 1998, Athletes for a Better World (ABW) exists to change the culture of sport by developing individual character, teamwork, and civic responsibility through commitment to the Code for Living. ABW’s vision is to have the Code become a part of every sport at every level, so that it becomes the common language and standard expectation of behavior for everyone. ABW provides free support and resources to coaches and athletes across the country who want to teach and live out these values. “The Code for Living” can be found on playing fields, locker rooms and athletic facilities across the country. Currently, ABW players and coaches are represented in every state and several foreign countries.