Vince Dooley, Legendary Georgia Football Coach, Dead at 90

by Jonathan Howard
(Photo by Todd Kirkland/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Some sad news out of Athens ahead of college football Saturday as Vince Dooley, legendary Georgia Bulldogs football coach, has died. He was 90 years old. Coach Dooley was a force with the Bulldogs. Not just coaching their team to tons of wins and multiple championships.

From 1964-1988, Vince Dooley led the Georgia football program. It was in 1979 when he took up a second role at the university as the director of athletics. He served in that position until 2004. He is the most-winning coach with 201 wins and is a member of multiple halls of fame.

The University of Georgia released a statement today in honor of their late coach and AD.

Vince Dooley was born in 1932 in Mobile, Alabama. While he went on to play quarterback for Auburn from 1951-1953, Dooley went on to make his name at Georgia as a coach. In fact, he only ever made two stops in his coaching career. It was Auburn and Georgia and nothing else for the football coach.

In total, his record was 201-77-10. He made Georgia into the program that we think of it as today and is beloved by generations of Dawgs fans. The Dooley family knows football. Noto only did Vince Dooley find success as a coach in the SEC, but his brother Bill Dooley ran multiple ACC programs – North Carolina, Virginia Tech, and Wake Forest.

While Vince was at Georgia and Bill at UNC, the two brothers faced off in the 1971 Gator Bowl. Both teams had one loss coming into the game, but the Dawgs came out with the victory in a 7-3 final score.

Of course, it was his work in the 1980s that earned him legendary status.

Vince Dooley and the 1980 National Championship

After more than a decade at the helm of the Georgia Bulldogs, Vince Dooley got his team right. Dooley had success prior to 1980. He had won multiple SEC championships by that time. He won in 1966, 1968, and 1976. But 1980 was special.

That year was a dominating performance for the Dawgs. The team went 12-0 and with his longtime defensive coordinator Erk Russell, Georgia held it down. No team was able to score more than 21 points against the Bulldogs that season. It included three shutouts against Kentucky, Vanderbilt, and Texas A&M.

In the championship game, the 1980 Sugar Bowl (played on January 1, 1981), Georgia and Vince Dooley went on to defeat the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 17-10 in front of almost 78,000 people. The Dawgs would go on to win the SEC Championship the following two seasons as well in 1981 and 1982. They would play in the Sugar Bowl those two years as well, losing to Pittsburgh and then Penn State in the National Championship game.

Vince Dooley’s legacy will live on for decades and he will be remembered by generations of fans.