Vince Dooley Biography
Vincent Joseph Dooley (September 4, 1932 – October 28, 2022) was an American college football coach and athletic director at the University of Georgia from 1964 to 1988. (UGA). Dooley compiled a 201-77-10 record as the head coach at UGA during his 25-year tenure. His teams won six Southeastern Conference championships and the national championship in 1980. Following the 1980 season, Dooley was named “Coach of the Year” in college football by several organizations, including the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association, whose annual award has since been renamed the Paul “Bear” Bryant Award.
Early life and education
Dooley was born on September 4, 1932, in Mobile, Alabama. He had Irish and Italian ancestors. He studied at the McGill Institute, which was run by the Brothers of the Sacred Heart. He competed for McGill’s athletic teams, known as the Yellow Jackets, and considered basketball to be his best sport for a few years. 
Dooley received a football scholarship to attend Auburn University, where he played and later coached under Ralph “Shug” Jordan. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1954 and was a member of the Phi Kappa Theta fraternity. He returned to Auburn after serving as an infantry officer in the United States Marine Corps from 1954 to 1956, and eventually earned a master’s degree.
Dooley’s other hobby was gardening, about which he wrote a book. Dooley also collaborated with Mascot Books to release two children’s books about the University of Georgia mascot, How ‘Bout Them Dawgs! and Hairy Dawg’s Journey Through the Peach State. From 2016 to 2018, Dooley was the Chairman of the Georgia Historical Society’s Board of Curators.
In March 1960, Dooley married Barbara Meshad. They met while both were students at Auburn, and remained married until his death. They have four children together. Derek Dooley was the head football coach at the University of Tennessee and Louisiana Tech University, as well as an assistant coach for the Miami Dolphins, the University of Georgia, Missouri, and LSU, and a position coach for the New York Giants.
Bill Dooley, Dooley’s younger brother, worked on the Georgia Bulldogs’ football staff before becoming a well-known college head coach at the University of North Carolina, Virginia Tech, and Wake Forest. During the December 1971 Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida, the two brothers found themselves on opposing sides of the field. Dooley died at his home in Athens, Georgia, on October 28, 2022. He was 90 years old and had recovered from mild COVID-19 symptoms the month before his death.
Awards and honors
In Dooley’s honor, the Georgia Historical Society established the Vincent J. Dooley Distinguished Fellows Program in 2018. The Dooley Distinguished Fellows Program is intended to achieve two goals that are consistent with Coach Dooley’s life and legacy: recognizing senior historians and mentoring and developing emerging historians. Author Rick Atkinson and historian David Blight have been named Vincent J. Dooley Distinguished Teaching Fellows.
The football field at the University of Georgia was renamed “Dooley Field” in honor of the coach on September 7, 2019.
The Vince Dooley papers were donated to the Georgia Historical Society in 2009. From the 1950s to 2004, the papers contain correspondence, memos, clippings, financial records, football schedules and calendars, applications, contracts, speeches, photographs, audiovisual materials, and publications.