Between watching his son coach at Tennessee to seeing a new athletic director take over at Georgia, former Georgia football coach and athletic director Vince Dooley has had a lot to think about this year.
Dooley spoke to the Columbus Quarterback Club Monday and took a few minutes to talk about those issues and some others with Ledger-Enquirer sports writer Chris White.
It’s Georgia-Georgia Tech week. What did that rivalry mean to you when you were coaching, and how do you think it ranks among Georgia’s other rivalries?
Well, Georgia has a lot of rivalries, and certainly Florida is big and Auburn is big. But still the biggest of all is Georgia Tech, the in-state rival and the last regular-season game. And for that reason, I always put the highest priority on Georgia Tech.
Your son, Derek Dooley, is in his first season as head coach at Tennessee. Do you talk to him a lot, and if so do you offer him advice?
Not a great deal. I try to stay out of his way. I know how busy he is. His mother doesn’t understand that, but I do. So maybe I’ll talk to him once a week, twice at most. But to see how it’s going and so forth. But he’s got enough to do to be listening to my advice.
What are your thoughts on the criticisms of the season Georgia football coach Mark Richt has had, and do you think in today’s coaching climate you would have been around for so long?
Well, I’ve been through some tough times. Coach Richt is going through his first tough time as a head football coach. But every coach will have tough times, it’s just a question of surviving the crisis, address it and make the change. And I’m confident that he’ll do that. But every coach is going to go through it, and I’ve certainly been through it. I’m sure he will address it and Georgia will be an even stronger team next year.
What do you think of the job new Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity has done so far, and what do you think are some of the toughest tasks he faces?
“Well, Greg knows Georgia. He grew up in Athens and was part of the system for a long time, and then increased his knowledge by going to Florida and has brought new ideas back. And I think Greg is such a personable individual that he’ll spend most of his time trying to analyze things and not making any quick decisions, and I think that’s a compliment to him.
The students at Kennesaw State recently voted for a fee increase to help fund a football team. As a consultant to Kennesaw State through this process, do you feel like you accomplished what you set out to do there?
I was very excited that the students did vote to handle the fees, which it would take to have football. So that’s a mandate to move forward. It’s going to take four years before they can field a team, but I think that Kennesaw is a great place to start a football team. You see teams all over the country starting football, certainly Georgia State, which we know of because it was their first year. Then you’ve got UNC-Charlotte that will start, the University of South Alabama started last year, and on and on. It’s just the way it is.