December 6, 2013

Dooley is still a fan favorite

In 1963, a little-known college football coach named Vince Dooley was announced as the man to lead the University of Georgia.

Five decades later, the line to meet him continues.

That was the case Thursday at the Kroger on Walnut Avenue in Dalton as Dooley signed autographs for patrons, many sporting their Bulldogs fandom with attire or memorabilia. Dooley and his Dogs won the 1980 college football national championship, and he led the Bulldogs for 25 years. He has written many books about both Georgia football and life at the university, and some of those writings were available for purchase at Kroger.

On Dec. 4, 1963, 50 years and one day from Thursday’s appearance, Dooley remembers the press conference when he was introduced to the Bulldogs fanbase. He was an assistant at Auburn, where he graduated, before accepting the Georgia position.

Dooley remembers the “more-candid Georgia fans” weren’t exactly thrilled with the choice.

“They said, ‘Who in the heck is Vince Dooley?’ It’s amazing because as an administrator, which I was, there’s no way I’d hire myself,” he said. “I was 31 years old and a freshman coach at a rival school. I somehow survived 50 years.”

After winning six Southeastern Conference championships, accumulating a 201-77-10 record and 20 bowl appearances, surviving in the Peach State probably becomes pretty easy.

“I’ve had a good run at a great institution,” said Dooley, who now works as a consultant helping start Kennesaw State University’s football program. “I’ve been very active since retiring with a lot of things.”

Many times during the signing event, a line formed to meet the legendary coach. Regardless, there almost always was a fan waiting to speak with him. Dalton resident Larry Minchew had “Dooley’s Playbook: The 34 Most Memorable Plays in Georgia Football History” signed for his grandson, Alex Taylor.

“You can’t think of Georgia football without thinking of Vince Dooley,” said Minchew, who met Dooley last year when he visited the same Kroger for a similar event.

Eric Hayes, another Dalton resident, is a lifetime Georgia fan and also met the coach. He got multiple 8-by-10 photos signed, plus a helmet and the same title as Minchew. Hayes met Dooley two years ago when he visited Kroger.

“A lot of coaches and players in college it’s hard to meet,” Hayes said. “I’ve been lucky to meet him twice. ... To me, he is Georgia football.”

Dooley agreed that interacting with fans wasn’t common when he was a coach.

“I never could do it,” he said. “You fly in, say hello and then you’re gone. You’re back to work.”

Text Only
  • Eder Mora.jpg Dalton's Eder Mora will not play football

    Dalton High School football coach Matt Land confirmed Friday morning that star linebacker Eder Mora will not play football this fall.
    “Eder, obviously, is not here,” Land said after the opening of the first day of conditioning for area high school teams. “He has an opportunity to do something really special in soccer.”

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7on7 day 1 '14 23 mlh.jpg Conditioning for success

    Local high school football teams have had voluntary workouts, seven-on-seven drills and other practices and camps throughout the summer.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Summer of Satterfield: Rising star goes low for latest victory

    Chatsworth’s Savannah Satterfield is proving her mettle on the golf course this summer, and her latest tournament outing resulted in another title and a record round.

    July 25, 2014

  • Roadrunners’ Mitchell receives high academic honor

    Chatsworth’s Tyler Mitchell hopes to make his living playing professional golf. But if his dreams of courtesy cars and big checks on the PGA Tour don’t come through, he knows he can rely upon his education.

    July 25, 2014

  • Larry Case: Camping a sure cure for the big city blues

    In case you haven’t noticed, we are looking right down the gun barrel at winding down on another summer.

    July 25, 2014

  • Chris Whitfield's Fairways & Greens: Nob North prepares for 'big date'

    Like anyone getting ready for a big date, golf courses get dressed up when it is time for a major event. But while a woman may put on a little makeup and a man may add a spray of cologne, Nob North Golf Course in Varnell is getting something more akin to Botox.

    July 24, 2014

  • DSCgolf-col.jpg Dalton State notebook: Women's golf looking forward to tee time

    After a “redshirt” year for the entire program in 2013-14, Dalton State College’s women’s golf team is looking forward to its inaugural campaign.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Todd roasted 1 mlh.jpg One last 'Goodbye' for coach Todd

    Charles Todd talks to parents and coaches before his going-away party Tuesday in the Dalton High School commons area.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fishing Lures3cw.jpg Turner lured into love of learning fishing business

    Fishing and tall tales go hand in hand, and after nearly three decades in a business supplying local anglers, Phil Turner has heard just about all of them.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • U.S. Amateur dreams over for local golfers

    Dalton golfers Chase Miller and Will Morrow traveled to Cincinnati on Tuesday in an attempt to earn a spot in the U.S. Amateur Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club, but neither earned one of the three qualifying spots at the 6,588-yard, par-70 course at Camargo Club.

    July 23, 2014

Devin Golden's sports updates
AP Video
Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites