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Dooley upbeat
Georgia legend halfway through radiation treatment

ATLANTA - Vince Dooley can't resist making a football analogy when talking about a good fight, and he's in the middle of a personal fight with cancer.

Check that: Dooley said Thursday he entered the second half of that fight.

'I'm doing fine,' he said. 'I'm starting the third quarter of my radiation. While the radiation is nowhere near the challenge of chemo, it does add the effect of working on you with every treatment and taking its toll.'

Added Dooley: 'It reminds me of a good grinding offense, described by some as three yards and a cloud of dust.'

Dooley on Thursday had his 16th radiation treatment - leaving 15 to go - after lab reports determined a tumor removed from his throat on May 22 was malignant.

Following the surgery, Dooley's voice began to return to normal, but as expected the radiation treatments again have left his voice increasingly hoarse.

He was upbeat as he talked about his progress.

'I'm still in my routine and everything,' Dooley said. 'The difference is after lunch I might take a 20- or 30-minute nap, and then I'm ready to go again.'

That short nap is about the only concession granted by Dooley, 74, who has refused to accept a leisurely retirement.

He continues to keep normal hours at the office he has had on campus since he left his job as Georgia's athletic director in 2004. And even with a hoarse voice, he has kept most of his speaking engagements.

'I do have commitments that I've made,' he said. 'I've told people if they can put up with a hoarse voice I would come.'

So Dooley, who won 201 games, six Southeastern Conference championships and one national title in 25 years as Georgia's football coach, plans to speak next week to a group where a former player works. He also has plans to honor a request from former President Carter to speak to an Americus Boys and Girls Club.

Dooley says the radiation 'does kind of get you tired during the course of the day.

'The good thing about this grinding, it's getting after that cancer's rear, despite the fact that it's having a little effect on me,' he said.

Dooley, who turns 75 in September, says he is 'a little embarrassed' to have so many express concern following his surgery.

'Nobody wants to have cancer, but this particular one is very treatable,' he said. 'The expectations are for a very high percentage result.

'As I have said before, I think sometimes there is too much attention paid to it. I feel badly because there are so many people that have had much, much more difficulty.'

Added Dooley: 'On the other hand, if it provides some cancer awareness, it's good that it does.'

Dooley said he has been overwhelmed by the concern expressed by fans.

'You'd like to be able to personally thank everyone, and I'd like to say how much I appreciate the outpouring,' he said.

Dooley began experiencing increasingly frequent hoarseness in the months before his surgery, leading him to have his throat checked.

'It was part of the symptoms, but it was very much come and go,' he said. 'At times you could tell. Finally after it progressively got worse, I had it checked, and I'm happy that I did.'