Originally created 03/16/05

Dooley resolution dead for now

ATLANTA - A resolution to rename the University of Georgia's football stadium to honor former coach Vince Dooley died Tuesday in the House.

However, the main sponsor said he might still attempt to attach language from his original legislation onto one of a number of resolutions already adopted by the Senate.

"It has opportunities; There's lots of resolution out there," said Rep. Earl Ehrhart, R-Powder Springs, a Georgia graduate and chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee, which controls the flow of legislation in the House.

Tuesday was Day 33 of the legislature's 2005 session, a milestone by which legislation must have passed at least one chamber in order to be approved this year.

Since House Resolution 13 - Ehrhart's original measure - never made it out of the House Higher Education Committee, it is no longer able to advance on it's own.

Still, Ehrhart said Tuesday he is continuing to examine how he might honor Dooley, either through a piece of legislation or some other action.

Ehrhart said he only considers his renaming efforts dead if he can't "find a vehicle to put it on."

The language of H.R. 13 calls for Georgia's Sanford Stadium to be renamed as "Dooley-Sanford Stadium."

Dooley led the Bulldogs during their 1980 national football championship season and later served as the university's athletic director during a 40-year career.

S.V. Sanford is a former Georgia president and chancellor for whom the stadium was named in 1929. Ehrhart's measure generated some controversy upon its unveiling in January. While most lawmakers support the idea of honoring Dooley, they also acknowledged that the Legislature has traditionally stayed out of the naming process of university facilities.

Currently, the state Board of Regents, the body that governs Georgia's 34 public colleges and universities, is the group that oversees name changes.

Many lawmakers said Tuesday they were happy H.R. 13 was dead for the year and hoped Ehrhart would work in the future with the Regents in order to honor Dooley.

"He is working diligently, I am sure, to see that something is done to honor Coach Dooley for his long years of service," said Rep. Bob Smith, R-Watkinsville, referring to Ehrhart. "It needs to go through the proper channels."

Rep. Keith Heard, D-Athens, said he also thinks it's a good idea to pay tribute to Dooley, but not at the expense of usurping the Regents' power.

"The Board of Regents has set a process that we have to go through to name buildings and I think we should let that process work," Heard said.

Reach Brian Basinger at (404) 681-1701 or brian.basinger@morris.com.


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