What started as a dream turned into one of the most moving and intriguing interviews in my young career as a sports media personality. Ever since I can remember, as a young child captivated by the beauty of Southeastern Conference Football, I can vividly recall the folklores and names like Dye, Dooley, Bryant, Majors, and many others who carved the game of SEC Football that we love today. Like many from the Southeast, I had dreams of what it would be like to talk with just one of those powerful men, and five years into my career, I was honored with that opportunity. Even as a kid who grew up loving Kentucky Football, I always dreamed of the day that I could sit down and have a simple conversation with a man like Coach Vince Dooley.
As I prepared for the conversation with Coach Dooley, for the first time in a long time, butterflies and nerves had overcome me because my dreams of interviewing Vince Dooley were coming true. To a simple Southern boy like myself, Coach Dooley has always been the bridge between present-day SEC Football and the past that makes this Conference what it is today. What’s crazy, Coach Dooley didn’t have to grant me his time, but he did. Without realizing it, he had unlocked a core memory that will forever stay with me.
Fast forward to interview day, the nerves had gone away, and the magnitude of the moment had finally sat in with me. I was about to interview the legendary Coach Dooley on a podcast I had created five years ago with a dream of making a difference in somebody’s life like those who came before. Here I was, about to have a conversation with the man himself that many folks would give anything to have the opportunity to do so.
My phone rang, and it was an Athens, Georiga number. On the other end of that line, I could hear the raspy but powerful voice of Vince Dooley saying, ” Hello, Mitch! It’s Coach Dooley.” At that moment, all the nerves were gone, and like a kid, I soaked in every second I had to talk with Coach Dooley.
In that conversation, Coach Dooley and I talked about the time he almost went to Auburn from Georgia, his recruitment of Herschel Walker, and even the 2021 National Championship that Kirby Smart had just won a few months prior. Yet, none of that could come close to the emotions felt when I asked Coach Dooley about Georgia and what the school meant to him and his family. Coach Dooley briefly paused before saying, ” Georgia is my place.” When he mustered the words that ” Georgia was his place,” I immediately felt cold chills down the spine of my back. Although a graduate of Auburn, Coach Dooley has an unmatched love for the school who took a shot on a young Coach back in 1964.
Coach Dooley and his family have poured their entire lives into the University Of Georgia, and there is no better representation of the school than Coach Dooley. Coach Dooley and I shared a magical conversation that I will forever cherish with me for as long as I can. That conversation with Coach Dooley was one that I hope will bring the same emotions to those who listen to it as it did for me at that moment I had with Coach. Looking back, Coach Dooley gave more to me as a College Football fan at that time than I could have ever imagined. There is none as humble as Coach Dooley, and his legacy will forever be a part of the landscape of SEC Football.