ATHENS — Georgia coach Kirby Smart grew up in Bainbridge following Bulldogs’ football, so he was tuned into UGA legend Vince Dooley from an early age.
Smart, whose team plays its home opener against Murray State at 4 p.m. on Saturday, shared some memories of Dooley during his radio show this week.
Dooley was honored in the pregame, the Sanford Stadium named in his honor.
“It’s a big deal,” Smart said. “ You think about it, and who’s more deserving than himself, with how much energy and passion that he’s put into this place. It’s meant so much to the community, and so many coaches he’s impacted and so many players.”
Scott Howard, who hosts the Georgia football coaching show, asked what coaches other than Dooley impacted Smart’s coaching philosophy.
“Some other guys that are mentors for me Dom Capers, Mickey Andrews, Bobby Bowden, there have been a lot of coaches that have impacted my life,” Smart said. “My father (Coach Sonny Smart), and just so many you grow up around that had some kind of impact on our life.
“Those guys were really good especially early in my career, to helping me learn the dos and don’ts and what’s important and what’s not.”
Smart said one of the things he took from Dooley was the importance of having energy on the sideline.
“I certainly remember Saturdays in South Georgia growing up, watching him coach on the sidelines,” Smart said. “I was always fond of the energy and passion he coached with, and remember pictures of him running down the sidelines and lifting off in the air, and the red pants he had on, that’s the kind of things I remember.
“I just remember how much charisma, and how much passion he had.”