Darrell Huckaby recent published an article in the Athens Banner-Herald advocating for naming the Field at Sanford Stadium for Vince Dooley. Bulldawg Illustrated would like to find out how the fanbase feels about the proposed change, so leave your thoughts in the comments section below, please.
He was my boyhood hero. He came to Athens in 1964 to become the head football coach at UGA. I was 12 — prime time for worshipping athletic heroes. Coach Dooley took my beloved Bulldogs from the depths of despair — 3 wins, 3 wins and 4 wins over the three years preceding his arrival — to a 7-3-1 season and a win over All America Donny Anderson and the Texas Tech Red Raiders in his inaugural campaign. Georgia beat Florida that year. First time in five tries. Georgia beat Georgia Tech that year. First time in four tries. Instant nirvana Between the Hedges.
Two years later, Dooley’s Dogs would win the SEC title for the first time since 1959: a seven-year drought. The 1966 championship season included wins over Florida, Auburn and a third-straight win over the Enemy from North Avenue. Georgia would go on to defeat SMU in the Cotton Bowl and finish fourth in the land.
Dooley would continue to coach my beloved Georgia Bulldogs for another 22 seasons — 25 in all. His teams would win 201 games against only 77 losses with 10 ties. His teams would win the Southeastern Conference — where it just means more — six times, including three in a row from 1980-82. In 1980, the Dogs were the “undisputed and untied, undefeated and undenied champions of college football.” Yes, the inimitable Dan Magill coined that phrase.
Dooley brought Georgia to a sustained position of national prominence in college football they hadn’t enjoyed since Wally Butts was the coach during and just after World War II. And when Dooley decided it was time to step down as head football coach, he remained as athletic director for 15 more years, building Georgia into one of the top all-around programs in the nation. He always lead with grace, dignity, integrity and honor.
And he never stops being an ambassador for the University of Georgia. He is recognized all over the world. We have had people stop us from Normandy to Warsaw to Amman, Jordan, and he is always happy to pose for pictures, sign an autograph, hug a neck and give a “Go Dawgs” to everyone he meets.
All that to say that Dooley is truly the most remarkable man I have ever spent time with. He continues to represent our institution with warmth and grace and to bring glory to old Georgia. And it is way past time his accomplishments and contributions were recognized in a proper and permanent way.
On Sept. 4, Dooley will turn 87. On Sept 21, Georgia will host Notre Dame in Sanford Stadium. Yeah, that Notre Dame. Sugar Bowl. New Orleans, Jan. 1, 1981. Georgia 17. Irish 10.
That needs to be the first game played on Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium. We don’t need to wait any longer. It needs to be done now. Not posthumously in another generation.
Get behind this. Please. We can make it happen.
Huckaby: Time to name field at Sanford Stadium in honor of Vince Dooley