Vincent J. Dooley Distinguished Fellows Program

The Vincent J. Dooley Distinguished Fellows program honors Vince Dooley for his lifelong commitment to history and higher education. As a longtime member and Chairman Emeritus of the Georgia Historical Society’s Board of Curators, Coach Dooley has demonstrated his strong belief in and support of the Society’s mission as a nationally recognized research and educational institution.

Vincent Joseph Dooley was born in Mobile, Alabama, on September 4, 1932, the son of William and Nellie Dooley. Vince attended Mobile’s McGill Catholic High School and went on to play football for legendary coach Ralph “Shug” Jordan at Auburn University. Vince married Barbara Anne Meshad on March 19, 1960. After two years in the Marine Corps, Vince returned to Auburn, earning a bachelor’s degree in business management in 1954 and a master’s degree in history in 1963. In December 1963 he was hired as the head football coach at the University of Georgia at age 31. He coached for 25 seasons at UGA, retiring in 1988 with a record of 201 wins, 77 losses, and 10 ties. He won six Southeastern Conference championships and played in twenty bowl games, winning the National Championship in 1980. Coach Dooley also served as UGA athletics director from 1979 to 2003.

The Dooley Distinguished Fellows Program is designed to accomplish two goals consistent with Coach Dooley’s life and legacy: recognizing senior scholars in the field of history and mentoring and developing emerging historians.

Individuals designated as Dooley Distinguished Teaching Fellows of the Society are national leaders in the field of history as both writers and educators whose research has enhanced or changed the way the public understands the past. In addition to their outstanding scholarship, Dooley Distinguished Teaching Fellows have served the Georgia Historical Society as faculty in teacher training seminars, as lecturers, as consultants, or in a similar capacity. Being designated as a Dooley Distinguished Fellow recognizes and formalizes the relationship forged through this service.

The Dooley Distinguished Research Fellows Program mentors the next generation of historians by giving younger scholars the opportunity to conduct research for a specific period of time in the vast collection of primary sources at the Georgia Historical Society Research Center. The research is expected to lead to a major piece of scholarly work such as: a dissertation, a book, an article in a refereed scholarly journal, a chapter in an edited collection, or an academic paper presented at a scholarly conference.

The Vincent J. Dooley Distinguished Fellows Program permanently associates Coach Dooley’s name with outstanding historical research and scholarship through the ongoing recognition of Teaching and Research Fellows.

The Vincent J. Dooley Distinguished Fellows Program was established by the GHS Board of Curators in 2017 and is supported by an endowment funded by friends and admirers of Vince Dooley.