NORTH AUGUSTA — Georgia fans Bill Payne and his 9-year-old grandson Dalton were first in line Tuesday for former Bulldogs football coach Vince Dooley’s book signing at Kroger.
Dooley autographed a mug, football and one of his books, Dooley’s Playbook: The 34 Most Memorable Plays in Georgia Football History, for the two.
Dalton was excited about meeting the former coach.
“It was cool,” he said.
Bill Payne’s admiration for Dooley stems from the legendary coach’s accomplishments, he said.
“The status that Georgia has today as a dominant program in the nation, he set it up with the way he coached all those years … he set everything in place for Coach (Mark) Richt and everybody else,” the North Augusta resident said.
Dooley coached at Georgia for 25 years. During that time, the team had more than 200 wins and won the national championship in 1980.
After retiring as coach, he spent 15 years as the university’s athletic director.
Getting a chance to interact with fans is something he enjoys, Dooley said.
“It’s been fun because in the past when I was coaching or AD, I had to come in and go out and never had a chance to really spend as much quality time with the supporters as I do now when I go somewhere and have book signings,” he said.
The coach turned author has written several books about football as well as one of his hobbies: gardening.
“I’ve always been a person that loves to learn … I got into gardening just hanging around being curious and thought I’d take a course in trees and shrubs,” he said. “One thing led to another and ended up writing a book. So I’m an inspiration to anybody who wants to be gardener or a writer late in life.”