Vince Dooley's Tales from the 1980 Georgia Bulldogs

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9781582617664: Vince Dooley's Tales from the 1980 Georgia Bulldogs

Even Moses could not have parted the red sea of fans who engulfed the Georgia Bulldogs football team after it clung tenaciously to 17-10 victory over Notre Dame in the 1981 Sugar Bowl, capping a perfect season to win the school's first consensus national championship. Vince Dooley had the perfect view of the bedlam, riding atop the shoulders of his players, and he had the perfect view of everything that happened in 1980 that led up to the ultimate climax. They played with the tenacity of Bulldogs all year, yet it might have been the purloined pig that united the team. It was also the year the silver britches returned. It was the last year for the fans on the railroad tracks. And on the eve of a national championship, Vince Dooley almost left Georgia to return to Auburn to coach his alma mater. One year removed from a mediocre 6-5 season, Georgia certainly got a boost from freshman tailback Herschel Walker, the most sought-after schoolboy athlete in the state's history. It was so important that Georgia sign Walker, in fact, that backfield coach Mike Cavan moved to Wrightsville, Georgia-100 miles south of the Athens campus from Christmas to Easter-when divine intervention seemingly moved Walker to a decision. But Walker alone was not enough. That became clearly evident when a dramatic comeback was needed to overcome Florida, and a wide receiver who had lost his scholarship for disciplinary reasons and suffered an offseason injury in a car accident resurrected his college career with the most incredible play in Georgia's history. Yet the championship season was almost derailed before it started in the season opener, when Nate Taylor, Pat McShea, and even punter Jim Broadway epitomized the roles of the unsung heroes in a onepoint win. From beginning to end, it was a year of unusual drama, sprinkled with generous doses of humor. And when it was all done, the 1980 team had reached a place no Bulldog team had ever gone before.

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About the Author:

Vince Dooley was head football coach at the University of Georgia from 1964 to 1988, winning 201 games, six Southeastern Conference championships, and the 1980 national championship. He was the SEC Coach of the Year seven times and national Coach of the Year in 1980 and 1982. He has been inducted into both the Alabama and Georgia sports halls of fame and the College Football Hall of Fame. Blake Giles was sports editor of the Athens Banner-Herald from 1971 to 1983. He was with Athens newspapers from 1969 to 1996, also serving as sportswriter, associate editor, business editor, and managing editor for sports. He was a two-time winner of the Georgia Sports Writers Association's Sweepstakes Award for the best sports story of the year and received numerous awards from the Associated Press and the Georgia Press Association.

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Vince Dooley
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