With a voice raspy from recent throat cancer surgery and daily radiation treatments, Dooley addressed Walker County Chamber of Commerce members Tuesday, saying he feels fine.
People think Im supposed to feel bad, and it makes me feel bad that I dont, he joked to the full-house luncheon audience at the Walker County Civic Center.
It was the first of two Walker stops for Dooley, 74, who achieved more than 200 wins in his 25 seasons heading the UGA football program.
Gateway Bank & Trust sponsored both his speaking appearance at the Chamber and a later stop at their LaFayette branch to sign copies of the three books hes penned.
Promotion of the books goes hand-in-hand with a grueling schedule of speaking engagements for the affable coach, who is ranked 10th in college football career wins.
The latest book, How Bout Them Dawgs, is a childrens book dedicated to his 11 grandchildren.
I was real sure to spell each one of their names correctly, he said.
Athletics and academics have always shared high priority in Dooleys life. He was the quarterback and captain of the Auburn University football team and has a masters degree in history.
Dooley recalled how he took the UGA job at a point when the team had suffered losing seasons in seven of the previous nine years.
There was a national search for a coach, and all the Bulldogs fans were excited when they heard that Vince was going to be the new coach, said Dooley, whose original contract was for a $12,000 salary. It was too bad that they were thinking it was Vince Lombardi.
With college footballs top coaches now pulling in multi-million dollar salaries, Dooley says his wife Barbara considered that he got in the game too early. Its amazing what a market economy has done for college football, he said.
Barbara is a recent breast cancer survivor as well as an author, having penned Put Me In Coach Confessions of a Football Wife.
We have had 44 wonderful years of marriage, which isnt bad out of 47, Dooley said of his bride, garnering the biggest laugh of the day.
Dooley counts among his friendships over his 40 years in college football the likes of great coaches Bobby Bowden of Florida State, Penn States Joe Paterno, the late Woody Hayes of Ohio State, and current Bulldogs football coach Mark Richt.
Mark is the total package of leadership a combination of moral qualities, integrity, the trust of his players and a top-notch resolve to win, he said of Richt.
Dooley assumed the duties of athletic director at UGA in 1979, performing in that capacity along with coaching the football team until 1984, when he stepped down as coach. He remained head of the athletic department until retiring in 2004.
In comparing his dual roles, Coach Dooley said the decision-making process was the biggest difference. As athletic director I could appoint a committee which may come back with results in three weeks. As a coach I was often alone in coming up with an answer in three seconds.