As he exits UGA, Adams should rename stadium for Dooley

Good buddies Vince and Mike share a hearty laugh. (AP photo)

Vince D. and Mike A., good buddies of long standing, share a hearty laugh. (AP photo)

Michael Adams is set to leave the University of Georgia in June 2013, which would mean he’ll have outlasted Vince Dooley by nine years. In the overheated summer of 2003, it wasn’t clear who would lose (or win, depending on your slant) the race to be last out the door.

At an institution of higher education, there was little edifying about their bitter struggle. Dooley, the athletic director, wanted to stay a little longer. Adams, who could never give a compelling reason as to why Georgia needed a new AD, wanted this one gone. Two smart and powerful men were reduced to bickering over half-years.

Dooley loyalists rallied, and such was their outrage that it seemed possible the president would be forced out before Dooley. But Adams managed to hold his job, mostly because he was, as a college president, delivering the goods. Dooley left quietly on June 30, 2004, to be succeeded by Damon Evans, and the bizarre saga reached its end.

Dooley lost his job but claimed overwhelming victory in the court of public opinion. He stamped himself as the wronged party, and when he gave the nod for his supporters to cool it — the 2003 summer convocation of the Bulldog Club of Greater Atlanta had been an embarrassment of pro-Vince overkill — he came away as statesmanlike. In the years since, Dooley has taken solace in having weakened his nemesis on campus and off. (If not for the memory of the Dooley feud, Adams might have received greater consideration to succeed Myles Brand as NCAA president.)

To say that the two men hated one another would not be overstating. Dooley considered Adams a meddler and a hothead, and Adams resented Dooley for trying to use a moment of presidential weakness — the AD asked for a contract extension not long after Adams had run off football coach Jim Donnan — as personal leverage. To suggest that either man has forgotten, much less forgiven, is a stretch.

Asked by colleague Chip Towers for a reaction to Adams’ announced departure, Dooley offered this beautifully meager kiss-off: “First of all, I commend President Adams on his retirement, his service and his contributions to the University of Georgia. I do believe it is time for a change and I look forward to the Bulldog Nation uniting under new leadership in the near future.”

Note that commendation for Adams’ “retirement” came two spots ahead of any note of his “contributions.” Note also that “time for a change” came in Sentence No. 2.

Dooley has always taken pains to note that Adams’ doctorate is in political communication, as if the only game the president had ever mastered was one that valued style over substance. But here’s where Dr. Adams can spring the ultimate bit of political jiu-jitsu: As a parting gift, he can name the football stadium after his adversary.

There were those of us who believed that should have happened a decade ago, but there was no way Adams would grant that favor at a time when Dooley’s forces were trying to get him fired. But now it’s 2012, and there could be no gesture more statesmanlike that this.

The school did affix Dooley’s name to the facilities on the southwest corner of campus in 2008, but that was thin gruel: It involved little more than transporting a statue someone had already made and holding a dedication ceremony on the morning Georgia played Tech. (Further indignity: Tech won the game.) Asked back then about naming the stadium for Dooley, Adams sniffed that the stadium “already has a name.”

But few Bulldogs fans would recoil at the notion of Sanford Stadium becoming Sanford-Dooley Stadium. (I’m of the opinion that “Dooley-Sanford Stadium” would sound funny. But maybe that’s just me.) It would be the right way to honor the greatest figure in the school’s athletic history, and it would be the right political move for a president who hasn’t always been seen as presidential.

Honoring his enemy would be a way for Adams to show that, this once if not always, he’s capable of being the bigger man. It would enhance Dooley’s legacy, but it would burnish Adams’ more. If this president left today, he’d be known as the guy who was right on academics but wrong in his handling of a popular AD. If he leaves after renaming the stadium for that AD, he’d become the guy who, in his final act, was wise enough to admit he’d gotten one big thing wrong.

That would, as even Dooley would be forced to admit, be one heck of an exit line.

By Mark Bradley

529 comments Add your comment

BamaDad

May 4th, 2012
11:39 am

BamaDad

May 4th, 2012
11:39 am

ClemsonBrad

May 4th, 2012
11:41 am

BOO YAH to you Mark! Happy Friday!

NC Dawg

May 4th, 2012
11:46 am

Do you think it will happen, Mark?

UGA Alum

May 4th, 2012
11:46 am

I think we should go the way of FSU…Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium has it all! LOVE IT

mike addington

May 4th, 2012
11:47 am

Mark, you give Adams way 2 much credit for having enough class to even consider that. and to quote Bear Bryant. “If you don’t have class, none of the rest matters.”

BigDawg

May 4th, 2012
11:50 am

sansho1

May 4th, 2012
11:50 am

On a campus containing the Butts-Mehre complex, “Dooley-Sanford” would raise nary an eyebrow….

Steve

May 4th, 2012
11:51 am

That or name it Dooly Field at Sanford Stadium. Something though!

Steve

May 4th, 2012
11:51 am

ozzfest

May 4th, 2012
11:51 am

DOOLEY CONTROLLED HIS OWN FATE….WE NEVER PLAYED ANYBODY WHEN HE WAS THE COACH AND AD.

WE PLAYED AT MICHIGAN ONE TIME…AND HAD BYU AND UCLA COME IN TO ATHENS…BUT OUR SCHEDULE WAS AWEFUL YEAR AFTER YEAR. (….LIKE HE COULD NOT SCHEDULE AN FSU SERIES ONE FRIGGIN’ TIME???)

SANFORD STADIUM. PERIOD.

graham nicholson

May 4th, 2012
11:52 am

Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium is a better fit

dawgfan

May 4th, 2012
11:52 am

LMAO @ the caption of the photo.

Not a bad idea Bradley. Maybe that would put this crap to rest.

OakhurstDawg

May 4th, 2012
11:52 am

Jebus. I wish they’d both go away. Friggin soap opera.

Colorado Dawg

May 4th, 2012
11:55 am

Vince Dooly was great. But I think even he would say to let things be. He was accomplished and did a lot for UGA, but I think we need to reserve space on campus for people who come along and do really great things. Like donate hundreds of millions of dollars. Or get elected president. Heck, even win multiple national titles. There are a hundred ways to pay tribute to a great man, but adding his moniker to Sanford Stadium is over the top.

Steve

May 4th, 2012
11:55 am

What time to the Tech nerds arrive with their comments? Gotta love the jealousy.

Mark Bradley

May 4th, 2012
11:55 am

Uh … I don’t know, NC Dawg.

Mark Bradley

May 4th, 2012
11:56 am

Kudos to BamaDad.

Dr. Phil

May 4th, 2012
11:56 am

Joel Eaves built UGA athletics and gave Dooley his start.

Gwinnett Fred

May 4th, 2012
11:57 am

Yea, that will happen – WAIT, was that a pig I just saw fly by???

Octoman

May 4th, 2012
12:00 pm

Mark – I thought you were smarter than this. First of all the Sanford family did not and does not want the stadium name changed. Secondly, Adams & Dooley will never make peace, two huge egos. And thirdly, it’s time to move on. Who cares about Dooley? He was an average coach who happened to land #34, for which he should thank Mike Cavan every day. Let’s move on. get behind CMR and who ever the next President is and make more great moments. Let’s move on from 1980!

Old Boy

May 4th, 2012
12:00 pm

I think there’s a better chance of him naming it ‘Adams-Sanford’ stadium.

Newman

May 4th, 2012
12:01 pm

Never happen and naive to think so.

old dog

May 4th, 2012
12:02 pm

Boca Baby

May 4th, 2012
12:03 pm

I would be likely to agree to a name change had Dooley not squandered the other three or four national championship he should have won. Never has so little been achieved with such talent. There is a reason that a stadium name change occurred in Tuscaloosa. It is called six national championships, not one.

bardawg

May 4th, 2012
12:03 pm

Someone,somewhere, is speechless

Boca Baby

May 4th, 2012
12:05 pm

And for all you naysayers who say which years? ‘66,’68,’76,’81 and ‘82.

Monroe's First Redcoat

May 4th, 2012
12:09 pm

Mark: Great column. Will it happen? I doubt it. Adams is incapable of admitting he was ever in the wrong. As for Coach Dooley’s comment, I LOVED it. That was the nicest, most courteous “Mike Adams can go f*** himself” statement I think I’ve ever seen. Dooley took the high road when Adams screwed him over in ‘03, and he still does.

And ozzfest, I might take your comments a little more seriously if you could SPELL…..you must have gone to Clemson School of Tractor Maintenance….

Rickster

May 4th, 2012
12:11 pm

I think that renaming the stadium would be a bit much – plus… if Sanford Stadium is thus named, why denigrate the contributions of its name sake?

Make it “Vince Dooley Field” at Sanford Stadium – similar to “Grant Field at Bobby Dodd Stadium” or “Pat Dye Field at Jordan-Hare Stadium.”

5 Time National Champs Nebraska

May 4th, 2012
12:12 pm

Really? Just what did Dooley achieve to a stadium to be named after him? He has a long way to go before he should have a stadium named after him…..It’s not like he is Jesus.

Rickster

May 4th, 2012
12:13 pm

Make it Vince Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium.

Matt the Brave

May 4th, 2012
12:14 pm

Better yet: Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium. And rename the dang press booth the Larry Munson Press Booth.

Al Ciraldo

May 4th, 2012
12:15 pm

HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

Nope

mark

May 4th, 2012
12:17 pm

This article is just entertainment. The name will never change period!

DAWG GUY

May 4th, 2012
12:17 pm

I know coach Dooley and he would say leave it be. But it would be a great gesture.

Boca Baby-I hope your not saying Bama won a NC in 81 and 82? 81 was Penn State who beat UGA in the Sugar Bowl and in 82 Pitt beat UGA in the same bowl when Pitt had Marino and that a-hole Mark May

Lowcountry Bulldawg

May 4th, 2012
12:17 pm

Munson Field at Sanford-Dooley Stadium would be my vote.

dbc

May 4th, 2012
12:19 pm

They should honor #34 before they should honor Dooley. And in the end, Mark Richt will surpass Dooley as the most successful coach in UGA history. What then? Sanford-Dooley-Richt Stadium? I say honor Herschel for putting UGA football on the map and let history play itself out.

Bobby Dodd

May 4th, 2012
12:19 pm

You’re on crack if you think that it will and or should happen.

Rickster

May 4th, 2012
12:20 pm

There are at least two stadiums in the SE (not the SEC) with different Field/Stadium names (Bobby Dodd @ Grant Field, Pat Dy @ Jordan-Hare.)

Gwinnett Fred

May 4th, 2012
12:20 pm

In all seriousness though – in most things involving UGA that are OUTSIDE of personal conflicts between Adams and various individuals in the athletics world, the school has greatly enhanced it’s national reputation under his presidency.

I would think that is what he wants his legacy to be, not something like this. UGA should be proud of more than it’s football team and I get the impression that’s the way Adams wants it.

Shug Jordan

May 4th, 2012
12:21 pm

I’m rolling in my grave…..Rolling in my grave and LMAO!!!!!

Ben

May 4th, 2012
12:21 pm

Adams is lowlife scum. This is the guy that hired his good buddy Jim Harrick after Harrick had been caught cheating at two other schools. And then he hired a future DUI poster child for AD. Of course it’s also UGA, where the students are too drunk to care that their President is dishonest, rude, lowlife scum.

GT Dude

May 4th, 2012
12:22 pm

Mark you just like stir the pot…
It will be a cold day in H@ll, pigs will fly, and UGA will win a football NC before Adams ever names anything but the women’s restrooms after Dooley
Just “ain’t goin happen”

Homepage | MrSEC

May 4th, 2012
12:23 pm

[...]  This writer says retiring Georgia prez Michael Adams should rename Sanford Stadium after Vince Dooley… who he forced out as AD back in 2004.  (I wouldn’t hold my [...]

JoeFann

May 4th, 2012
12:23 pm

Mostly agree, MB. Sanford-Dooley does sound better. However, as a life-long Dawg fan, in retrospect, I’m not sure Adams made the wrong move. Handled it wrong, definitely, but I think the accomplishments and progress in the athletic program justify the decision. I love Vince Dooley, and admire his legacy and demeanor, but UGA athletics on-field performance was stagnant and new blood and fresh perspective re-energized the program and the Nation. True, a great deal of credit is due Dooley for the long-range development of the physical plants, but his evaluation of coaching talent and development of same did not translate into the same legacy as his coaching ability. Still, you’re spot-on on Mr. Adams’ opportunity to mend fences and build bridges on his way out. I hope he will do so.

jd

May 4th, 2012
12:24 pm

Eliminate the football team and the athletic fees that make it hard for students to pay for their education , sell Sanford Stadium to the Falcons, take all that money and educate some future workers!

Spanky

May 4th, 2012
12:24 pm

graham nicholson and UGA Alum have the best idea…Welcome to Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium!!

Thanks Boca!

Forrest, Forrest Gump

May 4th, 2012
12:24 pm

Even I am smart enough to know this won’t happen.

Would you like a chocolate?

YoungDawg

May 4th, 2012
12:24 pm

NO! Adams just needs to leave as soon as a successor is picked. Can Sonny Purdue start June 1, 2012?!? The next President needs to name the filed for Dooley so it should be Dooley filed at Sanford Stadium.

Rickster

May 4th, 2012
12:26 pm

Pat Dye even!