Delta dedicates Dooley jet

Tuesday was a dedication day for Delta: the Atlanta-based airliner dedicated as special plane named in honor of longtime Georgia Bulldog football coach and athletic director Vince Dooley, who died last October at the age of 90.

From WSB TV…

Georgia football’s national championship last year was the first since Vince Dooley took the undefeated Dawgs to a title in 1980.

Sadly, the legendary coach died at the end of October before he could get the chance to see the team finish their title defense this year.

Channel 2′s Steve Gehlbach learned how the Dawgs and Delta Air Lines found a way to celebrate his life and legacy.

Delta has been flying UGA for decades, even to the first national title down in New Orleans more than 40 years ago. On Tuesday, Delta dedicated the special charter plane taking the 2022 team to Los Angeles in honor of Dooley.

Gehlbach spoke with Dooley’s widow Barbara Dooley about the emotional day.

“They’re taking this plane with the team…unbelievable,” she said. “He’ll be with them, I know.”

Barbara Dooley and three of the couple’s four children along with Gov. Brian Kemp, Delta CEO Ed Bastian and UGA greats unveiled the logo honoring her late husband.

Coach Dooley passed away at age 90 in October. Barbara says she knows he was watching from above when the Dawgs won the Peach Bowl at the stroke of midnight.

“I think he was there…I think he hit that field goal kick.”

Dooley, the winningest coach in Georgia’s history, appeared in 20 bowl games and won 201 games. He also served as athletic director and built the program into one of the most successful in the nation.

Kemp said he impacted his family and the countless of other athletes who played, knew and learned from him.

“He became not only a mentor, but over the years became a great friend. And we still value the lessons that he taught us many years ago. And today is a reminder on the impact he had,” the governor said.

While Coach Dooley attended Georgia’s national championship win over Alabama, Barbara had to stay home because of COVID-19.

This year, she’s going to make up for it and hopes to keep the undefeated streak going.

“We are reliving the glory years of the 80s and I’m just so sorry he’s not with me because this is unbelievable.”

When the plane brings the team home next week hopefully with a trophy in tow, it will go into service on Delta routes around the country.

Tim Bryant

Tim Bryant

Tim Bryant hosts Classic City Today, 6-10 weekday mornings on 98.7FM & AM 1340 WGAU in Athens.

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