The veteran coach of the University of Georgia football team for 25 years, Dooley will visit Cartersville Wednesday, Nov. 3, at the Clarence Brown Conference Center to speak on various subjects and meet with guests. In a Wednesday interview, Dooley spoke to the passion for football that captivates fans and how that fervor has affected the University of Georgia.
"There is a great passion for football, particularly in the Southeast as you know, and in each town there is also a passion for football in those particular towns and they just happen to follow it right on. Then there's a great affection for a particular school, as in this case Georgia, brings people back to the campus. It helps to tie the university as a state university about as much as any single thing could, other than just be confined to Athens, Ga.," Dooley said.
Sponsored by the Bartow Business Connection, proceeds raised from Dooley's visit will benefit the Community Christmas Luncheon. After lunch and remarks by Dooley, a meet and greet and signing session will be held for guests to purchase books, art and other memorabilia, which can then be autographed by the coach.
"We just felt like this would be a good opportunity for folks to hear a great coach and have good fellowship, support a worthy cause and at the same time get to buy his books and autographed memorabilia. We thought it was a win-win all the way around," said Parnick Jennings, co-founder of the Bartow Business Connection. "He reflects on his years as football coach at the University of Georgia, he mixes in anecdotal stories that reflect leadership and good values and incorporates that into his presentation so that it presents an opportunity for older people and young people to learn the values and opportunities he had as a football coach."
Although Dooley makes speaking appearances regularly, this presentation will stand out for its inclusion of artist Steve Penley in conjunction with the coaching legend. Penley, aside from having art featured in the Booth Western Art Museum and in galleries around the country, has illustrated books authored by Dooley, which will be on sale at Wednesday's event.
The duo's latest collaboration was "Vince Dooley's Garden: A Horticultural Journey of a Football Coach," a book chronicling Dooley's fascination with gardening and plant life that led to his expansive Athens garden. This event will be the first time Dooley and Penley have had the opportunity to speak at the same engagement.
"I think it'll be interesting with him being there, particularly in light of the museum and his connection to Cartersville, since we've teamed up and done two books together -- companion books, coffee table-type books that bear his illustrations, which are great. So I look forward to seeing him there," Dooley said.
Executive Director of the Booth Western Art Museum Seth Hopkins spoke to the prominence of Penley's work and his ability as an artist. He added that Penley's artwork has been honored on national and international levels as it was featured in the official poster for the 2004 G8 Summit held at Sea Island, and is currently displayed at the Coca-Cola Museum in Atlanta.
"Steve is one of America's most popular artist. He has three paintings at the Booth Museum, one of which is Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders. ... It's like 14 by 20 feet and that's the largest painting he's ever painted. And he's also very well known for doing not only historic icons but pop culture things" Hopkins said.
Dooley explained that he prefers to keep his appearances informal and allows for the audience to determine the pace of conversation. Topics discussed will vary depending on reception garnered from those in attendance.
"I rather suspect they'll want to talk about football a little bit. So I'll talk about Georgia football at that point in time. I'll talk about what I've been doing since I retired and a little bit about my history and what's going on on a national basis in football and sports and some of the issues that could be surrounding that," Dooley said.
The luncheon will last from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. with a book signing from 1 to 3 p.m. Tickets for the luncheon start at $15 and can be attained by contacting Parnick Jennings at 678-767-7169 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. The book sale and signing is open to the public and free of charge. Dooley will not be signing outside memorabilia due to time constraints.