ATHENS — Vince Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium is now official.
The University System of Georgia Board of Regents made it official with a vote Tuesday at its monthly meeting in the shadow of the state capitol in downtown Atlanta.
Not that there was much doubt. Vince and Barbara Dooley actually attended a luncheon in the Trinity-Washington Building where the University System of Georgia Board of Regents is located before the vote. But the actual vote itself was considered a mere formality after the UGA Athletic Association’s Board of Directors unanimously approved two weeks ago the motion put forth by UGA President Jere Morehead to name the playing field at Sanford Stadium after the Bulldogs’ most successful football coach and athletic director.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution higher-education reporter Eric Stirgus, who was covering the meeting, was first to report the news.
Noticeably absent from the vote were former regents Don Leebern and Richard Tucker, who had backed former UGA President Michael Adams in his battle to force Dooley into retirement in the early 2000s. They also happened to serve in leadership roles on the regent’s facilities committee.
Leebern, the second-longest-serving regent in board history, was informed last month by Gov. Brian Kemp (R-Athens) that he would not be appointed. Tucker also was not included on Kemp’s new list of appointments after a brief legal battle overturned their previous appointments outgoing Gov. Nathan Deal.
Kemp has downplayed his role in getting Dooley’s name to the stadium, a movement which has long been championed by Georgia fans.
“Coach Dooley didn’t need anyone pushing anything for him because he had some great offensive linemen doing that,” Kemp told the AJC earlier this month. But he added that he felt the honor was “very, very deserving.”
Dooley, 86, was Georgia’s head football coach from 1963 to 1988 and athletic director from 1979-2004. His football teams won the 1980 national championship and six Southeastern Conference championships. Under his tenure as athletic director, UGA athletic teams won 23 national championships and 78 SEC championships.
Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium will be dedicated as on Sept. 7 this fall before Georgia’s home opener against Murray State.