For over 50 years, Vince Dooley has had an enduring impact on the University of Georgia, Southeastern Conference, and collegiate athletics across the country. Serving as head football coach at UGA from December, 1963, to Jan. 1, 1989, and as Director of Athletics from 1979-2004, he has been a man of great foresight in times of charting the future, stability in times of change, and vision in critical times that have shaped the path of college athletics.
He has been the recipient of most of the nation’s highest honors including his recent recognition as the recipient of the John Wooden Citizen Cup Award in 2016 for positive influence on the lives of others,
the 2010 Bear Bryant Lifetime Achievement Award which recognizes excellence in coaching on and off the field during a career, and the Duffy Daugherty Memorial Award in 2012 for contributions to amateur football,
His contributions to the University were recognized in 2008 with the dedication of the Vince Dooley Athletic Complex on Nov. 29, 2008. A special statue and garden commemorate his accomplishments along with the naming of all the south campus athletic facilities in his honor.
His contributions to coaching and athletics administration are significantly defined by his place as the only person ever to hold the presidency of both the American Football Coaches Association and the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics.
Dooley’s 25 years as head football coach earned him the distinction as the most successful coach in Georgia history. He guided the Bulldogs to a career record of 201-77-10 becoming only the ninth coach in NCAA Division I history to win over 200 games. The Bulldogs won one national championship (1980) and six SEC Championships under his direction. He took his teams to 20 Bowl games and coached a Heisman Trophy winner (Herschel Walker, 1982), a Maxwell Award Winner (Walker, 1982), an Outland Award Winner (Bill Stanfill, 1968), 40 First Team All-Americans and 10 Academic All-Americans.
He was named NCAA National Coach of the Year by every major poll in 1980 and by Chevrolet-WTBS in 1982. A former president of the American Football Coaches Association, Dooley was named SEC Coach of the Year seven times and NCAA District Coach of the Year on six occasions. During his tenure, seven of his players earned the prestigious National Football Foundation post-graduate scholarship and 11 former players received the equally-coveted NCAA post-graduate scholarship. Seventy-seven of his players earned Academic All-SEC recognition. He holds the unique distinction of being inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame in two different states, Georgia and Alabama. Dooley is a 1994 inductee into the National College Football Hall of Fame and in 2001 was named recipient of the Amos Alonzo Stagg Award from American Football Coaches Association presented for lifetime contributions to the sport of football.
Under his watch as athletic director (since 1979), Georgia teams won 23 national championships (ten in his final six years) including an unprecedented four during the 1998-99 year (women's swimming, gymnastics, men's tennis, men's golf). During Dooley's tenure Georgia athletic teams won 78 SEC team championships and numerous individual national titles in both men's and women's sports.
He has also authored several books including two editions of Dooley’s Dawgs (with Loran Smith), My 40 Years at Georgia (with Tony Barnhart), Dooley’s Playbook: The 34 Most Memorable Plays in Georgia Football History, Dooley’s Garden: A Horticultural Journey of a Football Coach, and History and Reminiscences of the University of Georgia. Dooley has also written an article on the “two” great football teams on the Georgia campus in 1942 that was published in the Georgia Historical Quarterly in the Fall, 2014. He is currently co-writing a book on the Civil War.
In addition to his writings, he has also done hundreds of speaking engagements and appearances as well as consulting from 20010-15 with Kennesaw State University which will begin playing varsity football in the Fall of 2015. He is currently serving on two committees, The Georgia Historical Society as Vice-Chairman and the National Civil War Preservation Trust as chair of the Education committee.
A native of Mobile, Ala., Dooley is married to the former Barbara Meshad of Birmingham. They have four children: Deanna Dooley, Daniel (married to the former Suzanne Maher), Denise (Mrs. Jay Douglas Mitchell), and Derek (married to the former Allison Jeffers) who is currently an assistant coach with the Dallas Cowboys. The Dooleys also have eleven grandchildren: Patrick, Catherine and Christopher Cook; Michael and Matthew Dooley (Daniel and Suzanne); Ty, Joe and Cal Mitchell; and John Taylor, Peyton, and Julianna Elizabeth Dooley (Derek and Allison Dooley).