When the news of Coach Vince Dooley’s death broke last Friday, I was struck with a great tinge of sadness. That was my coach. He valiantly led my beloved Georgia Bulldogs to the National Championship in 1980 and became a man I deeply admired. I realized that his passing is a loss for all of us and makes me wonder… How can a coach have such an impact on a community?
During my days at Georgia, I remember seeing him riding around campus in his Lincoln Continental. He was vibrant, full-of-life and influential. He gained the respect of many through his humble presence and impeccable winning record. He was the embodiment of a Damn Good Dawg.
It was after my time at Georgia when I got the opportunity to both meet and learn about the man behind the legend. In addition to his remarkable coaching career and the hundreds of players’ lives he positively impacted, Dooley had the mind of a renaissance man. He was a master gardener, assisted in building soccer fields in Honduras and he was always available to attend and participate in events that recognized student-athletes. He lived a balanced life of service, purpose and generosity.
Vince Dooley’s life showcased how the influence of an effective coach is immeasurable. He was adored by his UGA family and respected by the entire football community. Dooley was more than a coach; he embodied integrity, hard-work and determination.
This is why supporting coaches at both the high school and collegiate level, through scoutSMART, is so important to me. I see how coaches and men like Vince Dooley inspire young-men and women to be forces of good in the world. I want to be a part of that too.