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Legendary 'Dawg' to share gardening tips

By Sharon Omahen
University of Georgia

Retired University of Georgia athletic director and avid gardener Vince Dooley will share his gardening tips Nov. 9 during Macon State College's Waddell Barnes Gardens Fall Lecture.

Held in the Macon State College Theatre, the lecture will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a reception, followed by the presentation of the 2006 Waddell Barnes Botanical Gardens Horticulture Award. Dooley's lecture, The Passion of a New Gardener, will begin at 7:15 p.m.

From the gridiron to the garden

Dooley is better known for his prowess on the gridiron than his green thumb. UGA athletic director from 1979 to 2004, Dooley led Bulldog teams to 20 national championships in football, women's swimming and gymnastics, men's tennis and men's golf.

He is also the university's most successful football coach, having led the Georgia Bulldogs to a career record of 201-77-10.

Dooley was named NCAA National Coach of the Year by every major poll in 1980, and in 1994 he was inducted into the National College Football Hall of Fame.

He learned from the best

Outside the sports arena, Dooley is an avid gardener who learned by auditing classes led by UGA gardening gurus Michael Dirr and Allan Armitage, both professors with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. He also earned the title of master gardener by completing the extensive Georgia Master Gardener Program presented by UGA Cooperative Extension.

In 1999, Dooley worked successfully to have the entire UGA campus designated an arboretum. In 2004, the University System of Georgia Board of Regents established the Vincent J. Dooley Professorship in Horticulture in the UGA CAES in Dooley's honor.

Dooley has developed a variety of gardens at his home. His installations include butterfly, shade and rock gardens and some 50 varieties of Japanese maples. A species of hydrangea found on his property has been named H. macrophylla Dooley in his honor. A mop-headed cultivar that defies late-spring freezes, it sets flower buds at each leaf node to blossom in June.

The cost of Dooley's lecture is $20 per person and, due to limited seating, early registration is encouraged. To register, call the Macon State College Continuing Education Department at (478) 471-2770.

(Sharon Omahen is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

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