Vince Dooley looks back on his time as UGA football coach
ATHENS, GA (CBS46) -
The University of Georgia football program is about to celebrate a milestone. On Dec. 3, 1963, the school named Vince Dooley as its new football coach.
The Bulldogs had suffered through three successive losing seasons after the retirement of legendary coach Wallace Butts. Dooley returned the program to dominance, posting just one losing season in his 25 years on the sideline, while winning six Southeastern Conference Championships and the national title in 1980.
Dooley later brought the same winning attitude to his expanded role as Georgia's athletic director, overseeing dozens of conference crowns and more than 20 national championships in all sports.
CBS Atlanta Sports Director Larry Smith sat down with "The Coach" to reflect on his career and today's SEC.
Smith: "Tell us how you came to Georgia."
Dooley: "Those that were around when it happened will tell you it was probably the greatest surprise that had happened in the state of Georgia in a long, long time. Georgia was looking for a coach and when they finally announced the new coach is Vince, everybody was thinking Vince Lombardi. And then, when it was announced me, which I had no qualifications whatsoever. I've mentioned many times as an athletic director, which I was, there's no way I would have hired a 31-year old coach who was a freshman coach at a rival school."
Smith:"In today's world, that probably would never happen."
Dooley: "It would never happen, but then of course it would never happen that a person would stay at one place 40 years."
Smith: "Looking at your ring from 1980 – 'National Champions, Georgia'"
Dooley: "Yeah, and then each one of those (gems) represents a victory, so it's 12-0. National champions, 1980. When I was active coaching and recruiting, I wore it all the time."
Smith:"Oh, I bet you did!"
Dooley: "But we've got, in addition to this national championship ring, we've got six other SEC championship rings that we're very proud of, but also I've got a lot of other championship rings from other sports that I'm very proud of. But this has got to be the best of all, because it's 12 not exactly diamonds, but nevertheless they represent that we were 12-0, the only undisputed, undefeated national championship team at Georgia."
Smith: "When you watch the games today, can you believe this is the same league that you coached in and had so much success in for so many years?"
Dooley: "Well, only Alabama looks like one of those teams still of the old past of playing defense. There's a couple of reasons for it. There are so many experienced quarterbacks now in the league. The passers are so much better than they've ever been. You've got receiving like I've never seen. One hand catch this week, back of your head, some incredible catches. And because of that, that certainly adds to this incredible offensive production that we're seeing in this league. There's so many good athletes. You've got so many young people on defense right now. Besides that, the fundamentals I think are not very good. I don't think we tackle as well in the Southeastern Conference as we need to do."
Smith: "Speaking of Alabama, if you can, step away from your love for Georgia. They look as strong as ever and the team to beat come January."
Dooley: "At this point and time, because they've been playing such good defense. But then again, we also know how injuries can take a toll. If you lose 1 or 2 key players, if can make a difference, as we have seen with the Georgia offense. Two running backs, a couple of great receivers, and the offensive production has really went down. So, we don't know. All we know is what's happening right now. Alabama looks dominant, but we don't know what's going to happen in the future."
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