Georgia won’t be able to honor Dooley on uniform vs. Florida

Credit: AJC

Here's a quick by the numbers look at the coaching career of UGA legend Vince Dooley.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Georgia Bulldogs won’t have time to honor former coach Vince Dooley with their uniforms for Saturday’s game against Florida, according to UGA officials.

Dooley died Friday after battling pneumonia and COVID-19 in recent weeks. He was 90.

The University of Georgia announced Dooley’s death shortly before 5 p.m. Friday. The No. 1-ranked Bulldogs (7-0, 4-0 SEC) face rival Florida (4-3, 1-3) at 3:30 p.m. here at TIAA Bank Field (CBS).

Dooley died at his Athens home Friday afternoon in the presence of his wife and their four children. A member of the College Football Hall of Fame and the Georgia and Alabama Sports Halls of Fame, Dooley is Georgia’s winningest football coach with 201 victories, six SEC titles and the 1980 national championship in his 25 years leading the Bulldogs (1964-88). He also was an award-winning athletic director at Georgia (1979-2004).

The Bulldogs already had plans to honor former UGA great Charley Trippi on Saturday with a “62 Trippi” sticker on their helmets, according to John Meshad, director of equipment operations. Trippi, considered the greatest football player in UGA history, died at the age of 100 on Oct. 19 in Athens.

“Unfortunately, due to the timing, we were not able to do much on our end for (Saturday),” Meshad said late Friday night. “We will honor coach Dooley more next weekend.”

The Bulldogs play host to No. 3 Tennessee a week from Saturday at Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium.

Meshad also happens to be the nephew of Barbara and Vince Dooley.

“It doesn’t matter how prepared you think you are, you’re never really prepared,” Meshad said of his uncle’s death.

Dooley’s death is particularly difficult to many long-serving employees in the UGA Athletic Association. He was boss to many of them for several decades.

Legendary sports communications director Claude Felton is one such person. He was probably Dooley’s closest professional confidante from 1979 until Dooley’s death.

“We have lost one of the legendary figures in the history of not only Georgia athletics but also college athletics in this country,” Felton told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “He was a true man for all seasons with his many interests, curiosities, and thirst for learning. He enjoyed respect and admiration throughout his life. Coach had an immeasurable impact on thousands of young people and was a standard bearer for teamwork, discipline, integrity, class, work ethic and doing the right thing.

“It’s a huge loss for his family and all those who were fortunate enough to pass his way.”