One-on-One with THE ONE

Vince Dooley was Georgia's head coach from 1964 to 1988 and he was the athletic director from 1979 to 2004. He had 201 career wins and won 6 SEC titles. He won a national championship following the 1980 season and won 20 more as the school's athletic director. Now he spends his time at the Rankin Smith Academic Center and traveling throughout the world. This week I got to talk to him.


Dave McMahon -- What is a typical week for Coach Dooley now?

Vince Dooley -- Not sure if anything is typical now. If I am in Athens I spend time here at the Academic Center, but it is the summer time and that is when we go on trips. I just got done following the trails of Nez Perce tribe in the west. Pretty soon I will be going to South Dakota where they are carving a statue of Crazy Horse out of mountain that is bigger than Mount Rushmore. After that I will be going to Gettysburg. I also have some book signings and I will be giving some lectures. So nothing is typical.

DM -- How often do you go to football games? Home games? Away games? Other sports?

VD -- I go to all the home games. Last year I missed some away games, mostly the night ones that are far away. I go to some of other sports as well. Not as much as I would like to, but I still keep up with them all the time.
DM -- Where do you sit at Sanford Stadium?

VD -- My family has a box in the endzone area, but I also move around so I can talk to various people.

DM -- When you watch the games do you ever find yourself coaching in your head?

VD -- I do from time to time, just like any fan.

DM -- This week is SEC media days in Birmingham, do you remember your first one as a head coach?

VD -- Back then individual sports writers would come to each school one at a time. They would watch practice and then we would go out to dinner. The next day another writer would watch practice and then eat dinner. It would go on all throughout two-a-days. Then it got too big for that. So then they had what was called "Sky Writers." Forty writers would fly in at a time to do interviews. When that got too big they doubled it and 80 writers would come. It finally got too big and now it is like it is now in Birmingham.

DM -- What do you miss most about being a head coach?

VD -- I miss the closeness with my players. I miss the challenge of team building which we had to do every year. I miss the thrill of victory, although I never miss the agony of defeat.

DM -- In December of 1963 you were hired as the Georgia head coach, if you didn't accept it, did you have other offers?

VD -- The day I accepted the job was the same day Frank Broyles of Arkansas offered me a position as the Quarterbacks and Backfield Coach. So I guess Joel Eaves pannicked I hurried up my deal. I still have the contract hanging over there (points). It is a one page, 3 paragraph contract for $12,000 a year and $2,500 for extras. I always tell people if I was the athletic director back then, that I wouldn't have hired me. I was a freshman coach from a rival team, but Joel Eaves and I had a good relationship and he knew I could get the job done.

DM -- Your first game was against Bear Bryant at Alabama, did you ever think... what did I get myself into?

VD -- It was against Bear Bryant and Joe Namath and we lost big. I got back home around 2:00 am and Barbara asked "How did you do?" I just smiled and laughed a little, but we came back and had a pretty good year.

DM -- Later on you faced Auburn, a team where you played and coached, did it seem strange that you coaching against them?

VD -- Yes and no, but once the game starts you don't think about that. You just want to win, unfortunately so did the Auburn players. All of them wanted to beat their old coach and they did.

DM -- Do you still keep in touch with some of the old coaches that you coached against?

VD -- I am on a coaches committee, so I talk to some of them all the time. I talk to Pat Dye, Lavell Edwards, Frank Kush, Bo Schembechler. That is just a few of them.

DM -- When did you know, enough was enough in coaching?

VD -- I did everything I wanted to do as coach. I wanted to explore other things. At one point I wanted to go into politics, but I loved athletics too much. I wanted more challenges and concentrate on helping all the men's and women's sports teams. I am glad I got to leave head coaching on my terms.

DM -- Who were some of your first hires as athletic director?

VD -- Andy Landers was my first hire. Later on I hired Jack Bauerle and later on I hired Ray Goff, Jim Donnan and some more.

DM -- What did you like the most about being an athletic director?

VD -- Being there for all the teams. I wanted all the teams able to be able to compete for a national title. I want them to have the best facilities. I think Damon Evans is doing a fine job in continuing what I was doing while I was athletic director.

DM -- With all of your travels, do you ever visit UGA at his home in Savannah?

VD -- I have done it several times. Of course they were different UGA's, but I have been there many times. I remember years ago picking up little Magilicudy and I asked Sonny Seiler if he thinks this UGA will be big enough. He said by fall, he will be big enough and he was.

DM -- Thank you so much of your time and have fun during your numerous travels.

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