UGA President Michael Adams had originally forced Dooley to except a two and a half year extension but recent improvements in their relationship opened the door to lengthen the contract.
"Coach Dooley and I met yesterday to discuss several athletic-related items, and in the course of our conversation, he and I agreed that the term of his new contract would be extended six months for a three-year commitment through June 30, 2004, consistent with his request this past December." Adams said. "Our attorneys will prepare this contract arrangement which will be in effect pending customary Athletic Board review and approval."
Their relationship soured after Adams overruled Dooley's recommendation that former head football coach Jim Donnan be allowed to coach another season. Donnan was dismissed in early December after coaching the team to a disappointing 7-4 regular season.
"I am very pleased with the contract extension and I'm looking forward to serving the University and addressing the many challenges in Georgia athletics over the next three years." Dooley said in a statement released by the university.
Dooley, 68, has been employed by the University of Georgia for the past 37 years. The school's athletic director since 1979, he retired as the Bulldogs' head football coach in 1988 after 25 years. At that time he was among the top ten coaches in all-time National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) I-A victories with 201. He led the Bulldogs to six Southeastern Conference and two national championships--1968 and '80.