The nuns, whom Dooley had known since childhood, were effusive in their praise for the Mobile, Ala., boy who had grown up and was now standing on the precipice of glory. ‘Now Sisters, don’t forget,” Dooley said, stopping them for one small request. ” “Oh no,” the nuns replied, clasping their tickets. ’” Now, almost 40 years removed from that moment, the demigod of Southern football sits on a sofa in his Athens man cave, the remnants of his inalienable coaching life surrounding him: hundreds of miniature bulldogs in various sizes, portraiture hanging on walls, framed programs and signed 8x10s. When Dooley speaks, his voice has an aristocratic quality: a scratchy, plantation timbre that harkens to the Old South.On a coffee table rests , a thick compilation of letters by Lt. There is something majestic about him, almost regal, and as he tours his great-columned home and the gardens along its perimeter, it is clear that here, Dooley has found peace.Perhaps the more natural telling of Vince Dooley’s story would involve a step-by-step chronicle of his life, from the streets of Mobile, where, as a boy, he used to draw up plays between cars; to the oaks of Auburn, where he quarterbacked the team from the “loveliest village on the plains,” became a coach, and met the love of his life.
He spent five years as a consultant for the upstart Kennesaw State football team, now in its third season.
He has spoken before thousands, rapt at attention, all across the United States.
The great games in which he participated — the joy of victory and the anguish of defeat.
And people: individuals who came within his orbit that made his time richer, fuller.
For 41 years of his life, Vince Dooley patrolled the Georgia campus, his duties overlapping for a decade, as from 1964-1989 he held the position of football coach, and from 1979-2005 the position of athletic director.
Although there were many suitors along the way, there were only two instances when the bonds of Dooley’s loyalty to this great Southern institution were seriously threatened, when the gusts of fate could have blown in a different direction. The call came on the eve of the national championship game pitting Dooley’s Georgia Bulldogs and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Then the nuns wondered if Dooley might score them tickets to the game. He gladly handed over the tickets as the nuns said their goodbyes and began for the door. Delony, a Civil War soldier considered the first Georgia bulldog, edited by none other than Vince Dooley himself. In 1980, Vince Dooley received a phone call from a group of Mobile nuns. “I wasn’t going to turn the nuns down.” Arriving the morning of the game, the Sisters ran in the room and threw their arms around Dooley in adulation.“Bud Wilkinson was, early on, a hero,” Dooley said. “(He) called me and said, ‘you ought to at least go out there and see.’” After Dooley toured the Norman campus, school president Dr.George Lynn Cross took his recruit to the same spot where, many years previous, the job had been offered to Wilkinson. ” Upon his return to the Georgia campus, Dooley received an outcry of support.Cloistered now in this verdant nook of Athens a mere two miles from Sanford Stadium, Dooley has downsized his life to speaking engagements, gardening, exercising, reading, writing, and traveling.