Just as the Georgia Bulldogs prepare for their first-ever trip to the College Football Playoff, the last coach to lead the Dawgs to a national championship stopped in town here for a visit.
On Sunday, former coach Vince Dooley, who led the team from 1964-1988, held a book signing at Kroger on Bethelview Road. Dooley said he plans to be on hand when Georgia takes on the Oklahoma Sooners at the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1.
“I am going to the Rose Bowl. The Georgia Bulldogs are going, and I’m going to be there,” Dooley said. “What a great opportunity for Georgia to go back to the Rose Bowl for the first time since .”
The signing was originally planned for Friday until snowy weather forced him to reschedule for Sunday.
“I can tell you that today is a lot better than it would have been Friday when we were scheduled to be there,” Dooley joked on Sunday.
Dooley has authored more than nine books and was signing copies at the event.
While football is a big piece of his writing he has also ventured into history with “History and Reminiscences of the University of Georgia,” gardening in “Vince Dooley’s Garden: A Horticultural Journey of a Football Coach” and children’s literature: “Hairy Dawg’s Journey through the Peach State” and “How ‘Bout Them Dawgs.”
Dooley’s newest work, which he co-edited along with Samuel Norman Thomas Jr., “The Legion’s Fighting Bulldog,” is a printing of the letters between Confederate Lt. Col. William Gaston Delony, a UGA graduate and state representative for Athens before the Civil War, and his wife, Rosa Delony, from 1853 to 1863.
“The fellow that described him the best [said he was known] ‘for his great leadership qualities, superb generalship and the courage of a bulldog,” Dooley said. “So, that gave us the impetus to get the title, ‘The Legion’s Fighting Bulldog.’ He actually was Georgia’s first bulldog.”
Store manager Stephen Curl, who said he was personally a longtime fan of the team, said there was a good turnout and it was always a pleasure to have Dooley at the store.
“This is very exciting,” Curl said. “Each year Vince Dooley gets out and does book signings at several of our Kroger stores, and I’ve been fortunate enough for the last four years to have him at my different stores.”
When Dooley’s team won the 1980 national title, the team did so at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. This year’s sugar bowl will pit the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Clemson Tigers, with the winner facing the Rose Bowl winner for the championship.
With the Dawgs coming into the game with a 12-1 record and first SEC championship since 2005, Dooley knows Bulldog fans have a lot to be excited about.
“I think that everyone is excited about it; It’s great to win a championship — nothing like being a champion,” he said. “I’ve been asked to go, and I think there is no doubt the team is [ready], and [head coach] Kirby Smart and his staff have done a terrific job.”