Legendary former University of Georgia football coach and athletic director Vince Dooley died peacefully at his home in the presence of his wife and their four children Friday afternoon at the age of 90, the university announced.
A member of the College Football Hall of Fame, as well as 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).
Here are some reactions to his passing:
“He is with Jesus!!!’ - Deanna Dooley Rogers, his daughter, to the AJC
“Our family is heartbroken by the death of Coach Dooley. He was one of a kind with an unmatched love for UGA! He and Barbara embraced my family from day one. He will be missed in our community, university, and in college athletics.” - Current Georgia coach Kirby Smart via Twitter
“He was a great man and a loyal friend.” - Former Georgia coach Jim Donnan to the AJC
“It’s very unfortunate because he did so much for us at Georgia. I think he set standards that were higher than before he came here. He’s the best. I saw him a couple of weeks ago. I talked to him and Mrs. Dooley. They have always been very kind to me and always have been. He was an advanced age, but you just don’t expect it. I just found out and I’m still kind of processing it.” – Former Georgia coach Ray Goff to the AJC
“Obviously, one of the greatest coaches of all time, but also the man who hired me and mentored me in the my first head coaching opportunity at Georgia. I owe a lot to Coach. May God bless Barbara and the rest of the Dooley family.” – Former Georgia coach Mark Richt to the AJC
“Marty, the girls, and I are truly heartbroken by the passing Coach Vince Dooley. Like most Georgians, especially those who attended our state’s flagship university, we were monumentally impacted by this legendary man, proud husband, loving father, and cherished friend. Not only will that impact continue to be felt by countless Georgia students and fans, it will also live on in our family that was profoundly included and made better by having personally known this man of greatness.
“Throughout his years on and off the field, he inspired his players and all those who knew him to be better, stronger, and more accomplished versions of themselves. His character and work ethic not only ensured the Georgia Bulldogs met with success, they also ensured he would be a fixture in the hearts and memories of the entire Dawg Nation that we mourn with today.
“During the time of remembrance and grieving, we are praying for Barbara, their children – Deanna, Daniel, Denise, and Derek – and the entire Dooley family. May memories of this revered Georgian bring them comfort as we honor his life and enduring legacy.
“Coach Dooley was truly a Damn Good Dawg!” - Georgia Governor Brian Kemp in statement
“I saw him at the last home game against Vanderbilt. We were signing at the bookstore together and I was just stunned that he was there. You know, I said, ‘Coach, you need to be at home.’ He said, ‘Well, I made a commitment to be here.’ That sort of took my breath away. He didn’t look good. We heard this week that he’d gone into hospice, so you start to prepare yourself. But, I mean, it’s a big loss for the Bulldog Nation and all these players and people whose lives he’s touched as an athletic director and coach. My heart goes out to Barbara and his two daughters and two sons. They’re the ones who are hurting, so I can’t help but think of them today. As far as football goes, he’ll be missed but he’ll never be forgotten.” – Buck Belue, quarterback of 1980 national championship team, to the AJC
Credit: AJC archive
Credit: AJC archive
“I was fortunate and very thankful, along with my wife, Jan, to have had the opportunity to visit with him on Tuesday. His mind was as sharp as ever. This is what I told my fellow seniors when I got the news: I choose to celebrate his great life! How lucky we would be to live such a rich life full of curiousity, learning and making a generational impact on young men. Blessed to have had him in my life. My deepest thoughts and prayers are with Barbara and the family during this difficult time for them.” – Former Georgia player Frank Ros, team captain of the 1980 national championship team, to the AJC
“My heart breaks at Coach Vince Dooley’s passing. Coach Dooley was like a second father to me and his family became my family. Coach put his trust in me and I put my trust in him. He taught me about the values of hard work and perseverance. There is no one who loved America more than Coach Dooley, and he proudly served his country in the United States Marine Corps. Without Coach Dooley, there is no Herschel Walker. He helped make me the man I am today and I will never be able to thank him enough for everything he did for me. Julie and I are praying for Barbara Dooley and Coach’s entire family during this difficult time.” - Former Georgia player Herschel Walker
“I am at a loss for words right now. We all new he had been struggling. Met Coach 45 years ago,and playing for him changed my life. He was my mentor, teacher, but most importantly my friend. I would not be in the College Football Hall of Fame were it not for Vince Dooley.” - Former Georgia player Scott Woerner, member of the 1980 national championship team, to the AJC
“Absolutely heartbreaking to hear about the passing of Vince Dooley. He was one of the kindest people I have ever met. The world was a better place with Vince here but I know he is in a better place.” - Former Georgia player David Pollack via Twitter
“He was and is everything that we love about Georgia football. May the Lord bless, keep and comfort the Dooley family during this time. Thank you coach. Rest In Peace.” - Former Georgia player Benjamin Watson via Twitter
“It is impossible to quantify what Coach Dooley has meant to the University of Georgia. He embodied everything that UGA represents and made where this program stands today possible. Dawg Nation, we celebrate and honor the life of a DGD! Thank you, Coach.” - Georgia Football via Twitter
“Vince Dooley was a legend and he leaves a legacy that impacts not only the University of Georgia and the Southeastern Conference, but all of college sports. He was strong and kind, and he had a passion for his players and the university. Our prayers are with Barbara and the entire Dooley family and everyone at the University of Georgia.” - Statement from Southeastern Conference commissioner Greg Sankey
“Vince Dooley was one of my favorite people in the world and a wonderful friend to the entire Saban family. Vince represented the University of Georgia and all of college football with tremendous integrity and class as both a coach and athletics director. No place was that more evident than his impact on the young men he led over a lifetime as a coach. Terry and I are deeply saddened to learn of his passing and our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Barbara and their entire family. He will be missed by many.” - Statement from Alabama coach Nick Saban
“In loving memory of Vince Dooley, former Auburn player and coach and one of the most iconic figures in the history of the SEC. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Dooley family and our friends at the University of Georgia.” - Auburn Football via Twitter
“He was my role model, mentor and most all my friend. He will be missed. Love you Coach!” - Current Georgia athletic director Josh Brooks via Twitter
“I join the entire Bulldog Nation in expressing our sadness over the loss of our legendary and treasured athletic leader and dear friend. I first had the opportunity to spend significant time with Coach Dooley when I served as Faculty Athletics Representative 20 years ago. I have always been grateful for the many ways he worked to make the University of Georgia a stronger and better institution. My fondest memory is going to his home to tell him we planned to name Dooley Field in his honor. He will be missed by all who had the opportunity to know and learn from him. We extend our deepest sympathy to Barbara and all members of the Dooley family.” - UGA President Jere W. Morehead to the AJC
“I am deeply saddened to learn of Vince Dooley’s death. His contributions to the University of Georgia both as head football coach and athletic director were important, deep, and abiding. I have lost a friend and the University has lost one of its greatest citizens.” - Former Georgia president Charles Knapp
“I’m glad he got to see one more national championship. I hope it doesn’t change the way they play tomorrow. … It might give them a boost tomorrow.” - Long-time UGA fan Randy Stone of Alapaha, Ga.
About the Author
Credit: Ben Hendren for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution