‘He’s proud:’ Barbara Dooley reflects on how late husband would feel watching UGA win title again

ATLANTA — Of course, she was there: At Sofi Stadium on that glorious Monday night when Georgia won its second-in-a-row championship title.

“I was there in full force,” said Barbara Dooley, the wife of the late Vince Dooley.

And, of course, she thought the Bulldogs would dominate.

Channel 2′s Bryan Mims spoke to her on Wednesday, just days after the Bulldogs won their second title in as many years.

“I would talk to Vince at night, knowing that he could hear me in heaven, and I would say there’s no way TCU could beat us, no possible way,” she said.

Her husband coached the Georgia Bulldogs between 1964 and 1988 and is the university’s winningest coach.

She said he always chided her about thinking certain thoughts out loud, telling her never to underestimate the opponent.

But in Monday’s championship matchup with Texas Christian University, she couldn’t help herself.

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“There’s one thing you don’t say: This team is not good enough to stay with you on the field,” she said. “But I kept saying that.”

Her husband led the Georgia Bulldogs to a National Championship title in 1980, and the Dooleys longed for another championship win.

But more than 40 years passed before it happened again. Her husband lived to see that triumphant moment, in person, last year.

“He had a ball,” she said. “And he was so proud of Kirby and the team and the coaches.”

Coach Dooley saw his last Georgia game in October – the blowout against Vanderbilt. But he wasn’t there to cheer on the Bulldogs at Sofi Stadium on that glorious night. Still, Barbara Dooley said he didn’t miss the moment.

“He saw it,” she said. “I wish he were here so I could share it with him. It’s not a lot of fun without him.”

She had fun watching every game with her husband, and she knows he’d be over the moon to see back-to-back championship wins.

“He’s proud,” she said. “And I think he’s up there now with Larry Munson and Coach Russell and all the coaches, talking football.”


As a coach’s wife for decades, Barbara Dooley knows something about football – and knows what her husband would say about the stuff it takes for back-to-back championships.

“It takes, first of all, hard work, preparation, and luck. You got to have that extra something,” she said. “I will say Kirby is prepared. Kirby’s teams are prepared. Kirby is so focused. He is very much like my husband in that he is focused on his job.”

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