Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Quiet Desperation is the English Way, Part Two

Part Two, the Vince Dooley example.

As I pointed out in August, in discussing all the reasons for firing Mark Richt:
By the way, if Georgia's administration had been following this ridiculous line of reasoning, Coach Dooley would have been fired in 1973 or 74, years 5 and 6 of the SEC Championship drought Dooley endured.  By the way, he was 7-4-1 and 6-6 in those seasons respectively and his close friend/defensive coordinator just wasn't getting it done, with a precipitous rise in ppgs over that time and an embarrassing loss to Georgia Tech in Athens and a loss to Miami of Ohio in the Tangerine Bowl to close out that 6-6 season.  Instead, they were measured in their response due to his two SEC championships and 66 wins in 11 seasons (yes, 6 wins per season).  They were rewarded with the very good ten years that Coach Dooley's entire career is remembered by.
A commenter was nice enough to point out that Coach Dooley played a 10 game season (actually, just 7 of his 25 seasons were 10 games, the rest were 11, but the point is well taken), meaning he had 14 fewer regular season games during his first 9 years as coach than Mark Richt had.  During that time, Coach Dooley won two SEC championships (in his third and fifth years), won a Cotton Bowl (third year) and lost a Sugar Bowl (fifth year), and won 66% of his games.

By basis of comparison, Coach Richt won two SEC championships (in his second and fifth year), won two Sugar Bowls (second and seventh year) and lost one (fifth year), and has won 76.9% of his games.

In looking at Coach Dooley's years six through nine, the first four years of a seven year SEC title drought, he went 28-15-2 (62.5%) and was 14-10-1 (56%) against the SEC during that time.  For Coach Richt in years six through nine, he is 38-14 (73.1%) and was 20-12 (62.5%) in the SEC, with a tie for first in the SEC East in year seven.  During that period, Coach Dooley won a Gator Bowl and lost a Sun Bowl.  Coach Richt has four bowl wins, including a Sugar Bowl win. 

Coaching Records - Nine Year Comparison
Vince Dooley Mark Richt
Overall Record 66-28-6 90-27
  Overall Win % 66% 76.90%
SEC Record - Overall 32-17-2 50-22
  Overall SEC Win % 62.70% 69.44%
Y5-Y9 Record 28-15-2 38-14
   Y5-Y9 - Win% 62.50% 73.07%
Y5-Y9 -SEC Record 14-10-1 20-12
  Y5-Y9 - Win %  56% 62.50%
SEC Titles 2 2
Bowl Record - Overall  3-3   7-2 

So, as you can see, the nadir of Coach Dooley's career (the four years just reviewed and the two years mentioned in the prior posting and quoted above) doesn't remotely look as good as the terrible product teams Coach Richt has been subjecting us to.  We can point to the recent successes of the SEC in national championships as a potential reason Richt must go, as there is an 'he has fallen behind' argument, but during that period with Coach Dooley, Alabama was in the mist of their long dominance of the SEC national football scene, Tennessee was a perennial power, Shug Jordan was having his final successes at Auburn, and LSU was having their best seasons under Charlie McClendon.  Coach Dooley wasn't up against any slouches, either.

By the way, Coach Dooley was 5-8-1 during that time against Florida, Tennessee,  Auburn and Georgia Tech.  Coach Richt is 9-7 against those three during the last four seasons.

Again, I point all of this out as legitimate proof that a change from someone that is the right guy at the right time for the right program has to be about more than an 8-5 season.  While past results are not a guarantee of future performance, it isn't a stretch to say, in hindsight, a move to terminate Vince Dooley in 1972 could well have cost Georgia much of the rich tradition and history we enjoy today.    Vince Dooley's down years were as much a product of the SEC working to catch up to Alabama and his 'loyalty' to Erk Russell as anything.  Vince Dooley and Mark Richt are very similar men, not given to passion, methodical in their approaches, never over- and rarely under-confident and believing in abilities.  Oh yeah, both are great football minds and loyal Georgia Bulldogs.

Fred Davidson, Joel Eves and the Bulldog faithful were patient then in the same way we should be patient now.  Let me be clear, my thought isn't so intractable that we should accept multiple losing seasons, and one 8-5 season is a far cry from where we want to be.  Also, let me be clear, until it is shown over the course of multiple seasons that Mark Richt is no longer capable of putting a well coached and winning football team on the field, any calls to replace him are unfounded at best and sheer lunacy at worst.

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