Area's name honors Dooley

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ATHENS, Ga. --- Vince Dooley's name -- and likeness -- is poised to be placed in an area where he cemented his legacy in University of Georgia athletics.

Not at Sanford Stadium, where he won many of his 201 games as Georgia football coach from 1964-1988, but on athletic facilities on the southwest part of the campus where he served as the school's athletic director.

The Vince Dooley Athletic Complex is the name expected to be given to an area that includes Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall, Spec Towns Track, Woodruff Practice Fields, the Rankin Smith Academic Center, Stegeman Coliseum and practice facility, Foley Field and the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.

The UGA Athletic Association's executive board approved the proposed project -- estimated to cost between $500,000 and $1 million -- at a special meeting Monday in advance of the University System Board of Regents meetings that begin today in Atlanta.

The university cabinet also approved the proposal, which had the support of president Michael Adams.

"He was very gracious in his comments to me," Adams told the executive board about a conversation he had with Dooley about the project. "I think this is an appropriate and fitting tribute."

Dooley's tenure at Georgia came to an end in June 2004 when Adams refused to grant his request for a contract extension.

His supporters have longed for a fitting tribute to honor his contribution to the school.

The project will include a garden with a statue of Dooley -- honoring his accomplishments. It is expected to be completed by August or September, athletic director Damon Evans said.

"I want to express my sincerest appreciation to all those who were involved in this very special tribute," Dooley said in a statement. "I especially want to extend a heartfelt thank you to those who were directly responsible."

Reach Marc Weiszer at marc.weiszer@onlineathens.com.

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