SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Condolences poured in Friday night as those around the Peach State remembered beloved former University of Georgia football coach and athletic director Vince Dooley.
The legendary Vince Dooley died Friday afternoon. In the video above you can see an appearance, he made during a book signing in Rincon in 2016. Dooley was head coach from 1964 to 1988.
He led the bulldogs to the historical 1980 national championship along with 6 SEC championships.
Dooley was 90 years old. He was a mentor, teacher, and friend. WSAV’s chase justice takes a closer look at coach Vince Dooley’s life, incredible impact, and lasting football legacy.
“A very dear friend, I met him the day he was hired in Athens…what a trip after that,”
Very few people had a front-row seat inside the life – of legendary Georgia football coach Vince Dooley, quite like Sonny Seiler.
“Well of course we owned UGA, we had the mascot, he knew that and he liked UGA…so we got to know one another real fast.”
The Seiler family has the responsibility of raising each and every UGA mascot – something they’ve been doing for decades now. Dating back over 60 years, before anyone even knew of the name Vince Dooley.
“I know that he came and nobody knew who he was. Our president didn’t even know who he was,” said Seiler.
But between the hedges, Dooley was unlike anything Georgia football had ever seen. He posted a record of 201-77-10 as Georgia’s head ball coach, including six SEC championships and a national title in 1980. A big reason for that title was Heisman trophy-winning running back Herschel walker.
A statement released by walker says in part:
“My heart breaks at Coach Vince Dooley’s passing. Coach Dooley was like a second father to me and his family became my family. Coach put his trust in me and I put my trust in him. He taught me about the values of hard work and perseverance. There is no one who loved America more than Coach Dooley, and he proudly served his country in the United States Marine Corps. Without Coach Dooley, there is no Herschel Walker.”
Dooley went on to become Georgia’s all-time winningest coach before transitioning to the role of athletic director in 1979, a position he held until 2004. But let Seiler tell it – even following his retirement, you couldn’t keep Dooley away from that team.
“He would frequently go over and watch practice. He never tried to get involved, that wasn’t his nature, and he went to all of the games and he would always be there to congratulate them. He was part of the team without being a part, if you know what I mean,”
He even attended Georgia’s most recent national title appearance earlier this year.
This would be the last time the two men, both born in the year 1932 – last saw one another.
“I just knew him so well as a person because I traveled to games with him, sat with him. And as I told you I went to the last national championship game with him. We’d talk about football, sometimes we’d talk about fishing and sometimes we’d talk whatever he wanted to talk about, but it was a pleasure to be his friend.”