Looking back, Vince Dooley never expected to last at the University of Georgia.
“To my wife Barbara, I said, ‘Don’t get too comfortable. Don’t unpack! We may not be here very long, which is the nature of the business, but I’m going to give it my best shot,’” Dooley said in an interview Wednesday with GPB.
But 50 years later, Dooley is still considered to be the most successful football coach in UGA history winning six SEC Championships and one national title.
UGA hired Dooley on December 4, 1963. At the time, Dooley recalled, fans had been hoping for a big-name coach with the experience to revive a troubled football program. But Dooley, a 31-year-old freshman coach at Auburn, was not what the Bulldog nation expected.
“At first they got excited because when they mentioned Vince, they were thinking maybe Vince Lombardi, one of the great legends of all times, but I think most people said, ‘Who in the heck is Vince Dooley?’” he laughed.
Inside the UGA archives, historical WSB-TV footage contains a speech Dooley gave to a local Rotary Club during his first season at Georgia in 1964. The tape cut short his remarks, but Dooley did outline two goals for the program.
“To win a reasonable amount of football games and secondly, to help send out young men who will represent well their state university, their hometown and their parents,” Dooley told the crowd 49 years ago.
Most fans would agree Dooley won a “reasonable amount” of games—his record stands at 201-77-10.
“I was blessed I think early on,” Dooley explained. “I put a good staff together. We had some players that were very hungry and then I always enjoyed coaching college football.”