Longtime University of Georgia football coach Vince Dooley died Friday. He was 90 years old.
Dooley coached the Georgia Bulldogs from 1964-1988, a tenure that included winning the 1980 National Championship.
However, long before his UGA accomplishments, Dooley's roots were in Alabama.
Dooley was born in Mobile and attended Mobile's McGill Catholic High School (now McGill-Toolen), where he excelled as a basketball player. Though better known for his basketball prowess, Dooley also played quarterback for McGill and on the 1949 Mobile City championship team. He would later attend Auburn with the hope of being a two-sport athlete in basketball and football. However, an injury ended his basketball playing career.
He played quarterback for Auburn from 1951-1953. After college, Dooley served in the U.S. Marine Corps as an infantryman for two years and then coached at Auburn under head coach Ralph "Shug" Jordan through the 1963 season before accepting the head coaching position at the University of Georgia.
Dooley also served as Georgia's athletic director until 2004.
"Our family is heartbroken by the death of Coach Dooley," UGA head coach Kirby Smart said in a statement. "He was one of a kind with an unmatched love for UGA! He and Barbara embraced my family from day one. He will be missed by our community, university, and in college athletics."
Former Auburn athletic director and sports information director David Housel spoke on behalf of Auburn University in offering condolences.
"It takes a very special man, a special coach, to be revered and loved by two fanbases," Housel said in a statement issued by Auburn. "Vince Dooley was such a man. Yes he was Georgia's most successful coach, but he was still loved, cared about and admired here at Auburn, because he's one of us."
Alabama head football coach Nick Saban also spoke fondly of the late Dooley.
"Vince Dooley was one of my favorite people in the world and a wonderful friend to the entire Saban family," Saban said in the statement. "Vince represented the University of Georgia and all of college football with tremendous integrity and class as both a coach and athletics director. No place was that more evident than his impact on the young men he led over a lifetime as a coach. Terry and I are deeply saddened to learn of his passing and our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Barbara and their entire family. He will be missed by many."
Dooley died at home in the presence of his wife and four children. He is survived by his wife, Barbara, and four children – Deanna, Daniel, Denise, and Derek.
Jeff Poor is the executive editor of 1819 News and host of "The Jeff Poor Show," heard Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-noon on Mobile's FM Talk 106.5. To connect or comment, email jeff.poor@1819News.com or follow him on Twitter @jeff_poor.
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