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Dooley's a Southern icon

Mentally scanning through the list of head coaches in the SEC, most of them don't seem to fit the image in my head of a Southern football coach.

Georgia's Mark Richt. Don't think so. Boca Raton, Fla., ain't really the South.

Florida's Urban Meyer. No way.

LSU's Les Miles, Alabama's Nick Saban, Arkansas' Bobby Petrino - annoying transplants, all of them.

Only one truly fits the bill, Tennessee's Phil Fulmer. Like him or not, he's Southern, he's country and he fits the mold in my mind.

Growing up in the South, the college football coaches I remember as a kid were good ol' boys like Vince Dooley, Pat Dye, Bear Bryant and Johnny Majors. Often they spoke with such accents you couldn't understand them if you weren't from here, but that was part of the charm.

They didn't run the spread offense, they ran the wishbone. In fact, they ran the football at all costs, surviving on that, a good defense and solid special teams.

They roamed the sidelines in ties, sports coats and slacks, not tight fitting Under Armour shirts and designer sunglasses. They couldn't be spotted on the golf course often, but they did their fair share of hunting and fishing. Current coaches still endorse Golden Flake potato chips, but other than that, the times - and the coaching ranks - are changing.

That's why we need to embrace those SEC coaching legends and soak up their stories about Southern football from another era. Many of those coaches have written books and make regular speaking appearances, giving longtime fans the opportunity to get a taste of their coaching lives.

One of those coaches is Dooley, a UGA legend who will be in Lawrenceville on Saturday to speak and autograph his book. If you get a chance to attend the Garden Plaza event, which is open to the public, it will be worth it, if for nothing else to hear Dooley's drawl.

But you'll also hear some good tales from a Southern football coach about the way things used to be. And still are in my mind.

Will Hammock can be reached via e-mail at His column appears on Thursdays.

SideBar: Signing

What: Speaking and book signing with UGA icon Vince Dooley

When: Saturday, 10:30 a.m.

Where: Garden Plaza at Lawrenceville

Phone: 770-236-8333