Legendary college football coach Vince Dooley was hospitalized Saturday with COVID-19, a spokesperson from the University of Georgia told the Associated Press. Dooley, who was the head coach for the Georgia Bulldogs from 1964 to 1988, was admitted to a hospital in Athens, Georgia with a "mild case" of COVID-19. The 90-year-old was scheduled to appear at the university bookstore before the Bulldogs take on Auburn on Saturday.
Last month, the Bulldogs celebrated Dooley's 90th birthday as the team took on Oregon in Atlanta. When speaking to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in September, Dooley talked about the Bulldogs and head coach Kirby Smart who led the team to a national championship earlier this year.
"Kirby Smart is destined to be in time not only Georgia's greatest coach, but one of the all-time great coaches in college football," Dooley said. "This year will be especially challenging coming off the national championship. There is no doubt that his philosophy that puts great emphasis on recruiting will again provide an opportunity to end up among the top four. Who knows what may happen in the playoffs? Historically, though, in modern football the odds are against repeating at that level. But standards are at a maximum height right now, and the Bulldogs' future is at an all-time high."
Dooley, who was a quarterback at Auburn, posted a career 201-77-10 record in his 25 seasons at Georgia. He led the Bulldogs to six SEC Championships and a national title in 1980. Dooley was named SEC Coach of the Year five times, was named Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year in 1980 and was inducted into the Georgia College Football Hall of Fame in 1994. He was also the athletic director for Georgia from 1979 to 2004.
"We had tremendous growth in the 1980s in most of our sports programs," Dooley said. "Football, the lifeblood, had the golden years on the field with a 43-4-1 record (three SEC championships and the 1980 national championship in 1980-83) to start the decade. Basketball, the only other revenue-producing sport, was strong under Hugh Durham, then Tubby Smith and Jim Harrick. But unfortunate circumstances prevented men's basketball from sustaining momentum built by each."