ATHENS, Ga (WSAV) — While Georgia vs Tennessee might be the game of the year in the SEC, it’s with a heavy heart that the dawgs enter tonight’s matchup. It’s their first home game following the passing of Legendary Head Coach Vince Dooley.

​“He put the University of Georgia on the map,” said longtime UGA fan Bo Ryles.

When you talk about the man that was Vince Dooley, you aren’t going to make it very far here in Athens without someone bringing up memories of the legendary ball coach.

“It was just always so obvious what a great mentor, not just a coach but what a great person he was. So during those years, I wouldn’t profess that I knew him, but I met him. Anytime I’d meet him, and I think throughout his life, he always took time. He stopped, he talked, everybody was special to him and that was great,” said Ryles.

As the Bulldogs return to Georgia for their first home game following Dooley’s passing, not only is it weighing on the coaches and players—even the fans are ready to do it for Dooley.

“He was a champion, he was a class act. And it’s so nice to have Kirby now because he was one of his players, to take on that tradition. But it’s still not the same cause ya know, every home game coach Dooley was sitting there signing autographs and you know, he’s just part of southern tradition in Athens that’s no longer but, he’ll always be here,” said UGA fan Kam Carmichael. 

Not only will he always be here, but Coach Dooley also represents the University of Georgia to a tee. Not only on the football field but all across the campus, even in the classrooms as well.

“Coach Dooley was the epitome of class and I had a little tears in my eyes when he died. Just go dawgs and bless his family, Barbara, and it’s just a tradition that nobody understands unless they were there for it, go dawgs,” Carmichael said. 

“In lieu of flowers — the Dooley family is requesting donations to be put towards several University of Georgia classrooms and facilities. Something Coach Dooley took a special interest in, and areas in which he helped accel the University of Georgia.”