Here I am an eighteen year old Freshman setting foot on the University of Georgia campus in the Fall of 1962. Could not wait to attend my first football game at Sanford Stadium. At the time it held 35,000 fans, and many of the seats were wood bench types. We wore coats and ties, and the coeds dressed in their Sunday best. It was a social event because the product on the field was horrible. Most of the student body was drinking, and throwing paper airplanes they had made out of their programs. A couple of fights broke out that got more attention than anything down on the field. Johnny Griffith had not fielded a good product, nor had Wally Butts his last two years.
I could not wait for basketball season after my first football game. Then I
entered Woodruff Hall where the games were played. It was about where the
Journalism School is today. An old rickety gym that was meant to hold about
1,000 fans, but on a good night had to house about 1,500. When it rained the
roof leaked so bad that towels had to be placed on parts of the floor, and
remained there during the game. We were probably the worst basketball team in
the SEC in those day.
Then there was baseball being played on what looked like a practice field. The
team was made up of walk-ons and football players. Golf and tennis were the
sports we were doing the best at winning. The golf team used Athens Country
Club, and tennis was, at best, a second rate facility. Track was run on a field
across from the book store that was shared with the ROTC Department.
Look at our facilities today compared to then. A modern football stadium that
will now hold over 90,000 fans. A track facility that is very nice near the
Butts/Mehre practice fields (those practice fields were not there in 62). A
world class tennis facility sits near Butts/Mehre. The University Golf Course is
a great place to play golf. We have a very nice baseball facility today. II will
not even get into the weight room facility that was at Stegman Hall, and shared
with the PE classes.
I think most Dawg fans have been in Butts/Mehre to see a state of the art weight
room. Basketball has come a long way, but has to get better. The only reason
that the arena for basketball exists is it was built with agriculture money for
horse shows and livestock exhibits. It's hard to build the type of facility for
basketball until you have the years of attendance demand that football brings.
To some the argument will be the old "what comes first the chicken or the
egg". If Harrick had kept his nose clean, and continued to produce just bet
a new arena would be on the horizon.
Bottom line is this. One man has been at UGA to see us through this growth, and
had a big part is raising the money for all of this, Vince Dooley. After twenty
five years of coaching Dooley knew when his time had come to move. He realized
the game was passing him by, and his energy level for the game and recruiting
was gone. If Vince's days of being a good AD were over then he would, and he
should make that decision. He's earned that right.
For those that were not around when Vince came to campus just wanted all to
understand why some of the older Dawgs think so much of the man like I do. Would
all of this have happened without Vince?
Who can say, but it did happen with him.
One Dawg weighs in support of Dooley
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