Q&A: Daugherty Award recipient Dooley busier than ever as retiree

“Retired” is a misnomer for Vince Dooley. There was the late-April trip to Italy with wife Barbara, which was very retired-like. But then there was also the last half of this past week:

A speaking gig at a “Planned Giving” luncheon at the Buckhead Club in Atlanta on Wednesday; a consulting appointment at Kennesaw University Wednesday afternoon; the Athletes for a Better World awards gala at the Fox Theatre Wednesday night; a Thursday trip to East Lansing, Mich., to accept the Duffy Daugherty Award for lifetime achievement at Michigan State University; a Friday drive to Anniston, Ala., to speak at the Anniston Botanical Gardens and Museum; a Saturday book signing followed by attending the UGA Terry College of Business alumni gala. Then, on Sunday, Dooley will appear at the Atlanta Braves game for the annual presentation of the Vince Dooley Awards and Scholarships.

So while Dooley is technically retired from his 40-year vocation as UGA’s football coach and athletic director, simply being Vince Dooley remains a full-time job.

We caught up with Dooley while he drove through Atlanta between appointments earlier this week to get his feelings on becoming the 2012 recipient of the Daugherty Award – named for the late Michigan State coach, it is present annually to individuals making outstanding contributions to amateur football — to ask him to share his thoughts on current events in college athletics.

Q: Congratulations on winning Daugherty Award. How do you feel about that?

A: “I knew Duffy well. He was a wonderful coach and a wonderful Irishman, somebody you truly enjoyed being around. One of the trips I made as a young coach was up to East Lansing to watch Michigan State practice after they won a national championship. He and Bud Wilkinson used to give the Coach of the Year coaching clinics every year. If you were named Coach of the Year, which I was fortunate to do a couple of times, they would get you to travel around with them to give clinics at different schools across the country. As a reward you they’d take you on a trip overseas. We went to Scotland one year and went to the Far East another time. We played golf and just had a good time. He was such a pleasure to be around.”

Q: Why do you stay so busy?

A: “The thing is, I don’t have the excuses that I used to have [laughs]. It’s been an adjustment but it’s been a fun adjustment. I had a driver for 40 years while I was coaching and athletic director. Now I do my own driving, so I’ve learned more about the state of Georgia driving around these last six years than I did in the previous 40.

Q: It looks like there is a lot of momentum nationally for a “Plus-One” format to decide a nationa champion in football. What are your feelings on the subject?

A: “I have always advocated that model. The ‘plus-one’ is a just new name they’ve given it. I just called it ‘a national championship game after the bowl games.’ I tried to introduce that but it didn’t go anywhere. It just got so much resistance back in those days from the Big Ten and the Pac-10. I think it can solve 85 percent of the BCS problems just by having that game alone. Now they’re talking about the addition of the four teams. I was on a committee with the NCAA about 20 other people numerous years ago and we discussed a four-team playoff integrated with the bowl games. The NCAA had about a four-inch book with all the details we discussed over three days. Out of that came the BCS.”

Q: Are you concerned by all the major conferences moving toward expansion, which has resulted in some leagues dismantling and others being re-configured and such?

A: ‘Well, I think it’s just a market place that has to adjust itself as it goes along. I came on at a time when we had 12 teams in the SEC, which included Georgia Tech and Tulane. So I saw the SEC go from 12 to 10 and then back up to 12 and now up to 14. Even back at that time we had conversations with Texas and Texas A&M. A&M was very interested but wouldn’t do it unless Texas would be a part of it, which it would not.”

Q: So are you happy see your vision finally coming to fruition?A: “Sometimes the NCAA works very, very slowly, which is good in a lot t cases but sometimes they should speed up a little bit. Something’s going to happen soon. I think they realized the BCS always is going to have some problems and sometimes it’s a major problem. Auburn certainly deserved to have a shot couple of years ago, and they certainly would have if we had a plus-one back then. Georgia might have had a shot in 2002 or ’07. But if you have an undefeated team you should definitely have a shot. So I think whatever comes out of all this will be beneficial.”

Q: You had a reputation as a stern disciplinarian during your days as a coach. How do you think Mark Richt is doing in that regard?

A: “I think Coach Richt has done a good job addressing disicpline through the policies he has and taking action. But, on the other hand, it’s not all of the sudden happening; it’s happened before. Issues are being dealt with, but I do think there are more instances of it now and they certainly are more public than ever. Of course, even back when I was coach, if there was a disciplinary action, people would find out. Reporters would always find out. But you can’t let that affect the actions you take.”

Q: Your son Derek Dooley has certainly had his share of challenges as head coach at Tennessee. Is it hard for you to watch all that from afar?

A: “It is very hard, but no worse than sitting in the stands and watching the games. You can’t do anything. You’re just sitting there. You can’t make any decisions. In the past when things went wrong I could make a decision. So that’s the tough part of it. But I don’t even go to the Georgia games. I just watch them at home on TV. I do the same thing when I go up to Knoxville; I watch from his house.

“He’s had to go through some difficult times. He inherited a really tough situation. We knew it was tough but I think it’s tougher than he realized or I realized. . . .  I think he’s done a very good job under the circumstances. . . . I think he’s heading in the right direction, but it’s not going to be an overnight thing like everybody wants. That’s the way it is in coaching. You either catch it early or catch it late. Mark is a good example of someone who caught it late. He came in and set a new standard and everything went great. Then he had a couple of off years and people got on him. If you stay in the business and you survive it, you’re going to go through that at times. Derek’s just going through it early. He’s got a lot of good things going for him. We were hoping he’d go in another direction. But he loves what he’s doing.”

20 comments Add your comment

We're immune

April 27th, 2012
12:10 pm

An UGA player and pot gets a weeks worth or more of coverage in the AJC, but a Tech player and assault, and criminal damage to property gets almost zilch. Way to work the bias AJC.
No suspension, no games missed, only extra running. Way to discipline GT and Coach Johnson.

No wonder I hate the Yeller Jokettes

Top Row Dog

April 27th, 2012
12:18 pm

Vince Dooley…..Damn Good Dog.

Dawg Haus

April 27th, 2012
1:35 pm

Good to hear Coach is doing well. DGD!


April 27th, 2012
1:57 pm

Always knew Dooley would represent UGA well…and does, then and now…..Derek is in a tough spot. He’ll need to win 8 plus to survive. The comparison will be Saban coming in to a struggling Bama program and winning big year 3. The Bar has been set. Lot’s of Dawg fans wanted Richt gone after 10 wins this past year. It’s who you lose to, not so much who you beat. If Petrino takes over Tennessee, that would be sad. Don’t hold your breath.


April 27th, 2012
2:25 pm

I adore this man. He is a class act as is his wife Barbara. Can’t say enough good about him.

Barbara Dooley

April 27th, 2012
3:11 pm

I thought I told you all before that that boy is NOT on the damn hot seat!! He walked into a damn MESS up there!


April 27th, 2012
3:26 pm

Vince is a DGD and a DFM, only thing I had against him was he went to Auburn. That was forgiven long ago though. Because of the thrashings, and pulling victories from the jaws of defeat against the Gators.
” End around to Appleby, Appleby’s gonna throw a bomb.

UGA Insider

April 27th, 2012
3:27 pm

We are loaded at every position…


April 27th, 2012
3:31 pm

Boy, exactly what TN needs to fall totally off the tracks – Petrino. Has anybody noticed a pattern – the guy can’t be trusted.

Tide Pride

April 27th, 2012
5:31 pm

Enjoying the view in watching Tennessee struggle!

As for D. Dooley – he took on a huge mess – even worse than what Mike Shuler took over at BAMA. Saban took over a fairly stable program.

As for D. Dooley – HUGE mess – ZERO depth due to the loss of several recruiting classes due to transistion from Fulmer – to Kiffin running out former players and going after his guys – then Dooley taking over – and Kiffen players flunking out, transferring, robbing gas stations, whatever.

However, I do think Tennessee will be much improved this year – but do NOT know how that will translate into the W’s and L’s.

VOLS vs UGA comparison:
Vols OLINE will be better than UGA’s
Vols WR’s better than UGA’s
Vols QB – I think will be better than UGA’s
UGA will have better TE’s and RB’s.

UGA better at DL & LB’s
Vols better in the secondary

Also – Vols switching to 3/4 – will go through some pain due to the learning curve.

Schedule breakdown
WINS: GA ST, Akron, Troy, VAndy and Kentucky
should / could win: NC State, Miss State
50/50: MO
probable loss: Florida, UGA
Loss: USCe and BAMA!

I can see Vols beating UGA or Florida if these teams do not show up to play. Vols defense will be real shakey.

I do not see Vols beating BAMA or the chickens.

So there you have it – the BIG ORANGE should win 7 games – possibly 8.

As for UGA:
WINS: Buffalo, FL ATL, Vandy, KY, Ole Miss, GA Southern
should/could win: TN, GT
50/50: MO, AUB
Loss: FL, USCe

Mizzou – dangerous game, UGA lost similar games OK STATE on the road and Colorado.
Auburn – just too wierd a series that the unexplainable happens. too many strange upsets.
Florida – better defense than UGA – offense is question mark – at JAX where superior UGA teams have choked (Richt even had a losing record against ZOOK when UGA clearly had better teams).
USCe – Spurrier knows how to beat UGA – and has done so the last 2 years in a row. He will do so again in columbia. USCe defense will be better than UGA – and with a healthy Lattimore and a stable QB in Shaw (will be better than Murray next year – just wait and see) predict USCe to win by 10 or more.


April 27th, 2012
5:36 pm

Tide Pride – brevity!!!!! What is your breakdown for Alabama. Seems to me that your team may have lost some serious talent and depth.

Missouri Tiger Fan

April 27th, 2012
5:58 pm

Glad to be in the SEC – where we actually feel wanted versus a line company for U of Texas. I realize that Missouri was not a popular choice as an expansion partner – but we are happy to be a part of a stable conference. We will bring a competitive football program and a great basketball program to the money making sports and hope we will be an added value entity to the SEC.

One thing I would like to Georgia fans to know.
We, MISSOURI, are not afraid to line up and play. I am reading that we do not realize what we are getting into in playing the mighty SEC.

Well, let me address that. Georgia might have a more nationally known program than Missouri in football, but exactly who did Georgia beat last year? Or the year before?. Is this not the same program that lost to B12 members OK STATE and COLORADO? The same Colorado team that beat Georgia and the very next week got drilled by Missouri 26-0. And what about that game against UCF? And the BLOW LOSS to LSU last year. and the CHOKE against Michigan State.

Missouri is used to playing nationally Elite teams every year – like TEXAS and OKLAHOMA – and solid other solid programs as well. We will give Georgia a great game – and I can see Missouri winning this game. I also see Missouri beating Tennessee and Florida this year as they are rebuilding. South Carolina and Alabama will present problems for us – but bring them on!!!!

Yes, we will enjoy being in the SEC – and away from Texas and their little brother Oklahoma (a school that can not think for themselves and afraid to fart unless Texas says it’s ok to do so). Thank you for letting us in the conference.

Tide Pride

April 27th, 2012
6:04 pm

DawgMan – here are my predictions for BAMA nest year.

We will be and still are head and shoulders better than what UGA will ever be. Keep dreaming that you will be as good as Alabama – because that is where UGA will find their success – in your dreams!

50/50 game: LSU
Favored: Michigan
Wins – the rest

LSU is looking good to me this year and will represent a challange for us this year.



April 27th, 2012
6:26 pm

Wish we could play SC earlier in the season. Can always count on them having some players suspended or to be down a few scholarships.


April 27th, 2012
7:46 pm

Missouri Tiger Fan
Don’t let anyone yank your chain dude, your team will fit in just fine and compete very good. Me and most Ga. fans, I’m sure, welcome you, your program and all the Tiger fans into the SEC! WOOF! WOOF!!!


April 27th, 2012
7:52 pm



April 27th, 2012
8:06 pm

Dooley has more class in his little finger than you could ever have. I thought about ringing you family tree into this, but that would make me like you, classless…

Dawg Bite

April 27th, 2012
9:37 pm

Was not ” Vince the Prince” the coach at UGA when Jan Kemp blew the whistle? Kingdaddy, you may worship that guy, but he was not the saint you think he was. Sounds as though you have drank the “Dooley Kool Aid” to the fullest! Class, my Arse!


April 28th, 2012
1:05 am

Dawg Bite
What have you accomplished in your life? You hate Dooley because of J. Kemp? Really? You sir, don’t have a clue, and your favorite coach is who???


April 29th, 2012
12:51 pm

The only thing the Tide is head and shoulders above is their coach Nick Bonaparte. 2 to 3 losses for the tide this year.