Barbara Dooley on son Derek: ‘That’s my baby and I’m pulling for Tennessee’

Barbara Dooley, pictured with her husband of 52 years, Vince Dooley, makes no bones about it. She will be wearing orange and pulling for the Tennessee Volunteers Saturday at Sanford Stadium. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Barbara Dooley, pictured with her husband of 52 years, Vince Dooley, makes no bones about it. She will be wearing orange and pulling for the Tennessee Volunteers Saturday at Sanford Stadium. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

ATHENS – Make no mistake about it. There are no split allegiances or conflicted emotions for Barbara Dooley. The longtime First Lady of Georgia Athletics will be decked head-to-toe in orange on Saturday and rooting for the Tennessee Vols.

More specifically, she’ll be pulling for her youngest son, Derek Dooley, who at this moment happens to be Vols’ head football coach, and a beleaguered one at that.

“I’ve never been conflicted about it,” said Barbara, Vince Dooley’s wife of 52 years and Derek’s mom of 44.  “That’s my baby and I’m pulling for Tennessee. If the Georgia people don’t understand that then I just don’t get it.”

At this point, most of them get it. This is, after all, now old hat for the Dooleys. Derek is in his third  season as Tennessee’s coach. So they’ve done the road trip to Knoxville and, after Saturday, will have twice endured the awkwardness of seeing their son on the opposing sideline at Sanford Stadium. They’ve developed sort of a routine for dealing with it.

Vince, the Bulldogs’ head coach and athletic director for a total of 41 years, won’t come anywhere near Sanford Stadium on Saturday. He’ll watch the game on the television in their Milledge Circle home, where he can twist and kick and cringe in private. And Barbara will dress in resplendent orange and go to the game like always. She said she’ll sit in the same UGA press box suite she has for a half-century.

“It’ll be my routine Saturday of entertaining and getting to the game,” Barbara said. “We’ve got a house full of company. I plan on eating, making people happy, then going to the game and sitting in the middle of a bunch of Georgia people. like always.”

As for her husband, she said, “I can understand how Vincent really and truly can’t go into that stadium that he worked in for so many years. It’s such a part of his life. He can’t just go sit in there. Plus, he could never have any privacy and just watch the game.”

As for her son, these are difficult times for him. The heat has been turned up in Knoxville, where he’s 14-15 overall and 3-1 this season. At issue is Derek’s record against ranked opponents. He’s 0-11 coming into the Georgia game. The Bulldogs are, of course, ranked No. 5.

“I don’t have any illusions of grandeur,” Barbara said of Saturday’s matchup. “I just hope Tennessee plays the very, very best they can play. Then we’ll see what happens.”

It’s not likely to get better for Derek if the Vols don’t start winning big games such as this Saturday. He inherited a tough situation, following the failed one-year experiment that was Lane Kiffin. But patience is not generally equated with modern-day college football.

“I think Derek went to Tennessee and the cupboard was really bare. It was bare, bare,” Barbara said. “So I think he’s done a really good job of recruiting his own players in there. But it’s just going to take time. I hope the fans realize you can’t snap your finger and do it. They look at [Nick] Saban, who had tremendous success at LSU and tremendous success at Alabama, but the cupboards were full there. They just needed somebody to point them in the right direction. This is a whole different situation and I think the Tennessee people realize it.”

Barbara also thinks the Vols have been a bit unlucky. She referred to last year’s game in which quarterback Tyler Bray broke his thumb on the helmet of Georgia linebacker Christian Robinson. She became friends with Robinson as they both rehabbed injuries in the Georgia football training room.

“I’m telling Christian Robinson right now to keep his hands and his head to himself,” she cracked. “He killed our season.”

Barbara was asked if she was concerned about her son’s job security.

“Of course I’m worried,” she said. “I was worried when Vince was coaching. Are you kidding?”

She reeled off stories of Georgia fans hanging Vince in effigy, having an airplane drop “Dump Dooley” fliers all over Athens and coming home from vacation to find a for-sale sign in the front yard.

“Come on, I’ve been there,” she said with a laugh. “I got sick from it. Literally I was a nervous wreck. But we knew it was like that when we took the job. I remember Vince saying, ‘just keep a suitcase ready because we never know when they’re going to throw us out of here.’ So I didn’t clean the house for 25 years. I kept thinking we were going to move.”

Alas, they never did. She hopes Derek can stay put as well.

224 comments Add your comment

[...] here to see the original: Barbara Dooley on son Derek: ‘That’s my baby and I’m pulling for Tennessee’ ← Back to Home Tags: barbara dooley, brant, conflicted, dawgs, don, focal, georgia [...]

Or, as Barbara once told Vince...

September 27th, 2012
3:59 pm

…”Bubba J: I’ve never banned you or anyone else for correcting spelling errors. However, I will ban folks “…

Then how come you deleted my story on Barbara demanding that Vince “play or trade”? You know it is a true story and it was not vulgar, yet you banned it anyway…

441North

September 27th, 2012
4:02 pm

CaliDawg, couldn’t agree more. VD thought he was bigger than UGA. He signed a 6 month contract extension as AD, thinking he could get more when that expired. But when that didn’t happen, and Adams stood up to him, he showed his rear end. Very sad way to end a career.

Layinlow

September 27th, 2012
4:02 pm

Calidawg, I’ ll go one step further. He was an absolutely horrible athletic director. The decision to hire ray freakin goff and sticking with him way past the time he should have been let go. Then he goes out and tries to hire Glenn mason who was a mediocre coached at Minnesota and then Kansas to come south and coach a major sec program. Really Vince? Then after getting burned by mason and Uga being humiliated he has to make a last minute hire of Donnan to save face. And while I don’t particularly care for Adams he played a big role in landing richt regardless of what the revisionist historians say. Like I said he wouldn’t have much of a legacy at Uga without Herschel. Personally, I think the dooley’s are bitter at Uga and probably pull against the school every week.

[...] News Sources wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt [...]

Don Abernethy

September 27th, 2012
4:16 pm

Well somebody has to root for them. Jobs are hard to come by and I am sure they are interested in their son staying employed.

AltamahaDawg

September 27th, 2012
4:18 pm

Right on, Mama Dooley. As would we all.

Joey

September 27th, 2012
4:20 pm

I just with she would have said, “no comment.”

And to think I bought her book and got her autograph it for me at our chamber banquet.

I think I’ll have a private book-burning . . .

Disgusted

September 27th, 2012
4:20 pm

I can understand the Dawg Nation reactions, but most people would appreciate a mother being a mother and let it go, while cheering for the Dawgs. CaliDawg, however, you are the “SAD” one. Anyone with a brain that has truly loved and followed UGA football knows Michael Adams was and is a total jerk. His determination to not recognize Vince Dooley is pathetically small and petty and just a result of having a huge ego for no apparent reason.

Vince Dooley has every right to have an ego for what he accomplished over many years, not just limited to when Herschel was there.

As for coaches, CaliDawg, I guess you conveniently forgot Adams hiring of Harrick! Nice.

Ga/Fl.Stillman dog

September 27th, 2012
4:22 pm

Do you Babs, I would cheer for my son every year we played. Family first, all else can run a never ending Marathon.

Joey

September 27th, 2012
4:25 pm

“They look at [Nick] Saban, who had tremendous success at LSU and tremendous success at Alabama, but the cupboards were full there.”
***********************************
Whew! Spin, spin, spin, Barb.

Um, LSU was 3-8 and 4-7 the two years before Saban got there – really full cupboards . . .

Ckgator

September 27th, 2012
4:26 pm

The bigger question is why UGA has allowed the Dooleys to loaf around the program for 30 years?

His winning percentage in non-Herschel years is under .600.

Hardly the stuff of legends.

1Dog1

September 27th, 2012
4:26 pm

this may be derek’s last year at UT–he can’t coach a lick and may have to move in with barbara and vince when he runs out of money.

Chris Snow

September 27th, 2012
4:29 pm

At MJ, add a couple wins to CMR. Auburn last year, and GT in 2009.

hit a single

September 27th, 2012
4:31 pm

Why even bring this up? Damn it is her son, you better believe she should pull for him. Anybody with any family values would do the same.

hit a single

September 27th, 2012
4:34 pm

Oh yea, that is a big part of what is wrong with this world. Family values are not there with many.

You want to fix education, you fix the family!

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

Disgusted

September 27th, 2012
4:35 pm

Hey Ckgator, since you are so into stats how about his record versus Florida? Go back to the swamp!

hit a single

September 27th, 2012
4:36 pm

Sorry didn’tmean to get on soap box. Go Dawgs! Barbara, I would be disappointed if you didn’t pull for the Vols.

Dawg1

September 27th, 2012
4:37 pm

Really… This is a shocker… If it were my son, I would be pulling for UT too…

next…

Joey

September 27th, 2012
4:37 pm

Don’t get me wrong. I love Vince Dooley. Butts, Dooley, and Richt are the coaches who put UGA on, or back on the national sports map.

Dooley had more SEC success than any coach in his time, other than Bear, and beat UF and Tech like a drum and sent UGA all over the country to major bowls.

And everybody knows Barb’s gonna pull for her son, but why say it? She coulda laughed it off from now – til “her baby” gets fired next year, and nobody would care.

If I were her, I would pull for my kid also, but nobody could have got me to admit it – thereby spitting in the face of the program that made me rich – the very program that provided me a free house that I still live in.

I bet Vince will wish he had stuffed a sock in her mouth when he reads this article . . .

Grantham's The Man!

September 27th, 2012
4:38 pm

Just as long as I don’t have to see Vince Dooley dressed in Orange!

Ckgator

September 27th, 2012
4:41 pm

Disgusted-
There are 3 recent SEC coaches who easily surpassed Dooley’s accomplishments in a fraction of the time (Spurrier, Saban, Meyer).

If coaching today, Dooley would be just another coach – sitting firmly on the hot seat.

But if you guys like seeing him in car commercials and think his wife’s opinion matters, have at it.

hit a single

September 27th, 2012
4:41 pm

What I will always appreciate about Coach Dooley is that he built a total athletic program. He made sure we were competitive in many sports. He made sure we had nice and clean facilities in a time when the money was there. Also his teams were well disciplined and he expected class to be shown. I bet one of his players never got in the face of an opponent without regretting it. That is what I like about this years team. Character is there and it shows.

hit a single

September 27th, 2012
4:42 pm

I meant when the money was not there. You didn’t have these spoiled big time boosters like you do today.

hit a single

September 27th, 2012
4:44 pm

ckgator- I am sorry that Charley Pell and all those other Gators couldn’t beat Coach Dooley. Gator Bowl victory, what a way to end a career. He owned the Gator Bowl.

DawginLex

September 27th, 2012
4:45 pm

ckgator

Don’t be mad just because Vince owned y’all for 25 years.
Don’t be mad because Aaron Murray left the state of Florida to play at UGA and y’all could use him
Don’t be mad because Richt owns Muschamp and will for 2 more years until Foley fires him

Don’t be mad

Devil's Advocate

September 27th, 2012
4:48 pm

The reason most UGA fans love Dooley is because no matter how good or bad his teams were you knew there was always a good chance of beating our rivals. Beating rivals keeps a coach employed.

Joey

September 27th, 2012
4:49 pm

Ckgator, it’s a little unfair to put Dooley’s career down as average. He was here a long time and a coach is bound to have ups and downs in 25 years – those guys you mentioned haven’t been anywhere near that long.

And to those who mention the “Herschel years,” didn’t every coach Ckgator mentioned have a Heisman Trophy winner involved in most or all of their best teams also?

slydog

September 27th, 2012
4:51 pm

She’s not rooting for Tennessee, she is rooting for Derek to keep his job.

ARdawg

September 27th, 2012
4:55 pm

Ckgator is a tool errrr troll. Well both. He is a bitter man but I hear an excellent fry cook

Devil's Advocate

September 27th, 2012
4:56 pm

Spurrier > Meyer

Gators are back where they belong…just pretty good.

Ckgator

September 27th, 2012
4:57 pm

Devils Advocate – you are correct sir. Other than that, a .715 winning percentage when so many of your wins are “gimme’s” is mediocre at best. Objective Georgia fans agree because I’ve seen them say as much on these forums. which is where I got the idea

DawginLex – not mad ‘ol chum. Just thankful to have had 2 coaches who brought us 3 titles in less time, had us pounding our rivals, and candidly love where we are headed.

Have a great evening all!

DawginLex

September 27th, 2012
4:59 pm

Joey

Yeah I love how the trolls say “take away the Herschel years”

OK, I’ll play along

Auburn-Take away Cam and Chizik is pathetic
Florida-Take away Tebow and Meyer does nothing
USC-Carroll-Take away Bush and Leinart-Nothing
Texas-Brown-Take away Vince Young and he is probably unemployed

dawg dude

September 27th, 2012
5:09 pm

Love Mrs. Dooley and her love and support for her son. I hope they give him another year to try….very hard to turn a program around in a few years.

SM9

September 27th, 2012
5:10 pm

Ckgator

September 27th, 2012
5:13 pm

It’s a PROGRAM that produces the consistent results you see over time at Florida, LSU, Alabama, etc. Show me another impressive Dooley stretch other than the Hershel years and I’ll listen. It’s not there – not even in his time as AD, which is even more of an indictment.

You may not like it, but the Gators are 4-0 and 3-0 in the SEC. The Dawgs have a great shot at the East (nothing beats that schedule) but the biggest games are ahead of all of us.

Oh, and you guys will crush UT.

Orlandodawg

September 27th, 2012
5:13 pm

All I got to say is any Dooley is a friend of mine…Go Dawgs!

Joey

September 27th, 2012
5:20 pm

Exactly Lex.
” ”
” ”
” ”
Couple more –
Florida-Take away Wuerffel and Spurrer does nothing
Alabama- Take away Mak Ingram and Saban does nothing

Truth is, there’s a Heisman winner or top 3 in the vote, to go along with nearly every Title.

I said “nearly,” cause Saban didn’t need one last year.

Devil's Advocate

September 27th, 2012
5:31 pm

Ckgator,

Programs provide the resources and culture for success, coaches realize it. It’s laughable that you include Florida with LSU and Bama if you want to talk about history and bang on Dooley.

Florida had a pretty good 20 year run but outside of that they were above average at best. They had zero SEC Championships before Spurrier and only won them under Meyer because of Tebow and Leak. Florida is 5th in SEC Championships behind Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, and LSU (in that order). Like I said before, Spurrier is legit and the best coach Florida ever had. He would have won 4 BCS Championships in a row with the talent Meyer had. That man knows how to create some offense. Heck, he has South Carolina playing at a respectable level. So yeah, I’ll give Florida 1990 – 2010 but the glory days are over for the Gators. You guys are back to where you belong and that’s just pretty good.

If you want to look at all-time wins, the same order applies with the top 4 but add Auburn, Texas A&M, Arkansas, and even Georgia Tech before you get to Florida.

How about all-time win percentage? Florida .630, UGA .645, LSU .647, Tennessee .687, and Bama .710.

Yeah, Florida is elite alright…

Joey

September 27th, 2012
5:33 pm

“Show me another impressive Dooley stretch other than the Hershel years and I’ll listen”
*******************************************
That’s my point, ckgator. He didn’t have “stretches,” but had many great teams in his career. Even the year AFTER Herschel left, we lost by 6 points to Auburn, before beating #2 Texas in the Cotton Bowl.

Plus:

‘66) 10-1 and SEC Champs
‘68) 8-0-2 and SEC Champs
‘71) 11-1 and late season to Pat Sullivan’s Auburn kept UGA out of National Title game
‘76) 10-1 and SEC Champs, and played Tony Dorsett’s Pitt for National Title

6 SEC titles, 1 Undesputed National Title, lost another National Title by 3 points to Penn State, 3 unbeaten regular seasons, numerous Top 5 and Top 25 final rankings.

Joey

September 27th, 2012
5:43 pm

I bet if Richt saw this, Mr Jackson wouldn’t get back on the Dawg’s practice field:

http://washington.cbslocal.com/2012/09/27/samuel-l-jackson-asks-voters-to-wake-the-f-up-support-obama/

matt

September 27th, 2012
6:26 pm

We need to keep this woman away from our players, She has no business in Athens anymore.

Snoopy

September 27th, 2012
6:28 pm

What wonderful role models they both are.

Woofy One

September 27th, 2012
6:28 pm

Barbara get him out of those Orange pants !!

Mark from Augusta

September 27th, 2012
6:36 pm

Barbara: I’m an 83 grad from UGA. I think your son is a class act. I despise Kiffin for leaving a great SEC program. I hurt for the Razorbacks this year. I have stayed behind Richt through all the bad times. He’s the right man for the job. Your son is the right man for that job. I wish him the best of success (just not against the Dawgs). I really wouldn’t mind your husband attending the game in Sanford stadium in orange. It’s what we do down here–it’s about family. Please tell Vince to get over it. I have and would give you and him both a hug whether he was wearing orange or Red.

flo-ri-duh

September 27th, 2012
6:37 pm

Dooley’s have no loyalty…… Vince should have kept his word and stepped aside for Erk Russell who was the real brains behind UGA’s greatness during the Herschel Walker years.

BigDawg

September 27th, 2012
6:46 pm

Who cares? Pull all you want for the UGLY ORANGE, you losers are going down, 3 years in a row! Dawgs Rule, woof woof woof

icedawg

September 27th, 2012
6:58 pm

A no brainer for momma.

59bulldawg

September 27th, 2012
7:05 pm

I’ve got no problem with Barbara pulling for the Vols. And I hope Tennessee does well except for this one game. DD is a class act and is rebuilding the Vols the right way. The only question is whether or not he can do it quick enough to suit the alums.