I can’t say I know much about Vince Dooley. I’ve never met him or spoken to him unless you count being present as he and my father chatted like two old friends in the movie section of the old Circuit City in Athens.
The fact that he stopped to talk says about as much I need to know about the Georgia Bulldogs’ legendary head coach. He’s a good person in addition to his coaching attributes.
Saturday I was present as Georgia coined the field at Sanford Stadium Dooley Field. It was well deserved even if you’re just looking at what Dooley’s done from a sheer production vantage point.
Dooley compiled 201 wins and a national championship in 1980 as well as six conference titles throughout his tenure, the most the school has seen since or had seen prior.
His legacy and success made possible what we have seen of the Bulldogs since. Expectations were raised because of the winning done in the 60s, 70s and 80s by Dooley.
Today Kirby Smart roams the sidelines at UGA. Smart already has one Southeastern Conference title. Smart is a former Bulldog and surely he is well versed in the program’s history.
But are his players?
Who knows if the multiple highly regarded high school stars that have found their way to Athens in the last three years know anything about the man waving to the crowd alongside his wife prior to their game Saturday.
Many committed to Smart and Georgia to win football games. When winning is recent, it attracts the best who want to do more of it. It’s like that light that attracts flies at a barbecue. It sucks in the talent.
That’s fine. Some of the Bulldogs’ players were born as late as the year 2000. The only coach they’ve known and seen at UGA other than Smart is Mark Richt.
The 2019 Bulldogs have expectations of winning a national championship. It’s the normal standard in Athens now.
Saturday opened a new perspective to winning titles for their school. Georgia’s junior quarterback Jake Fromm has already crept his way up the Georgia passing record books to fourth in career touchdowns with 54 and has already played his way to an SEC championship. He will be remembered at UGA for a long time after he goes off to the National Football League. What Fromm saw on Saturday was that winning championships etches a name into the school forever.
“I think the fans and people around the University really embrace it and really care about those people and it’s a big thing and the love they get, I think it’s really beautiful,” Fromm said.
His resume speaks for itself. But even as a man with the accomplishments of Dooley looked a little unimpressed in himself during the dedication ceremony on Saturday. There weren’t any big gestures or boastful movements, just a simple smile, a clap and kiss on the cheek from his wife. He doesn’t take himself too seriously. Who knows if Georgia wins the national championship ever again? I just thought that it was good for someone who wasn’t searching for the spotlight to be placed in it. Sometimes subtle is the way to go.
Jeremy Johnson is the sports editor for The Oconee Enterprise. Opinions expressed are those of the writer.