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EXCLUSIVE: Vince Dooley says he would fire UGA President if he were his boss

10:04 AM, Feb 3, 2012   |    comments
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  • Former UGA Coach Vince Dooley's new book
  • Former UGA Athletic Director Vince Dooley in exclusive interview with 11 Alive's Paul Crawley
  • Former UGA Athletic Director Vince Dooley in exclusive interview with 11 Alive's Paul Crawley
  • Sketch of UGA President Michael Adams in Vince Dooley's new book
  • Former UGA Athletic Director and Football Coach Vince Dooley

ATLANTA - It started out as a one-on-one interview about his latest book, but it ended with former UGA Athletic Director and Football Coach Vince Dooley saying he'd probably fire current University President Michael Adams if he were his boss.

My hypothetical question to the coach was whether he would renew Adams' contract if the roles were reversed.

"I do think that from time to time that it's necessary to move on, to make a change," Dooley told 11Alive News on Thursday.

"He thought in my situation that it was time to make a change and didn't renew mine, so I would say that he's at the point where I could also say the same thing about him," he added.

Dooley insisted his answer was not sour grapes over the fact that Adams did not grant him a contract extension eight years ago.

He devotes several pages to Adams in his new book, "History and Reminiscences of the University of Georgia."

Much of isn't flattering.

He praises his former boss for expanding the university and for his fundraising abilities, but he also borrows several critical quotes from others who have written about Adams.

Like the late Pulitizer Prize winning author Rich Whitt's description of Adams as "hot tempered and imperious" in his book "Behind the Hedges."

He also quotes from a column by Boston Globe sports writer Bob Ryan who helped kill any chance Adams had to become NCAA President by calling him "a clever and ruthless politician...not a leader, a schemer and intimidator."

I also asked Dooley about an account in his book where he said Adams seemed to offer to let him keep his job if he would call off an audit by the UGA Foundation.

"Did he flat out ask you to see if you could do something about that?" I asked.

"Well, he did, uh, I felt like he was trying to make a deal with me," Dooley answered.

"He might not feel that way, but I did," he added.

Turns out Dooley had nothing to do with the audit and had no sway over it anyway.

Adams survived the highly critical audit and is as powerful as ever.

In his book, Dooley recounts more than two centuries of UGA history with several other examples of controversy and resignations.

He puts Adams' leadership near the top of the questionable column.

"He's the most controversial President since Alonzo Church and that was back before the Civil War," Dooley said.

In his book he also criticizes how UGA handled one of its biggest controversies, one that cost President Fred Davison his job.

"Because of what was known as the Kemp affair, he ended up resigning," Dooley said.

Davison was forced out in March of 1986 following embarrassing national publicity over remedial English teacher Jan Kemp.

She filed a Federal lawsuit claiming she was fired for blowing the whistle on preferential treatment of athletes.

The university claimed it was for disruptive conduct and failure to conduct adequate scholarly research.

After a jury found in her favor, Kemp won her job back and more than a million dollars in damages.

"The message is to restore academic integrity to the classrooms across the nation," Kemp said at the time of her February 1986 verdict.

Dooley said he met with Kemp for more than an hour-and-a-half when she first raised her complaints.

"Eighty per cent of the complaints really had no basis at all, but there were some things of concern that really needed to be looked into," he told 11Alive News.

Dooley said the University made a huge blunder by failing to listen to Kemp and by trying to make an example out of her.

"They virtually stonewalled her and I thought that was a bad mistake; the other mistake was going to trial," he added.

Dooley admitted the Kemp scandal hurt UGA's reputation and its recruiting efforts for years, but he's proud that it led to higher academic standards that eventually spread throughout the SEC.

"The rest of the conference adopted what we did, so from that standpoint that was a positive," he added.

Kemp went back to teaching at UGA, but died at age 59 in 2008 from what her son told the Associated Press was complications from Alzheimer's disease.

(One footnote for the record: I covered the Jan Kemp trial and remember people criticizing UGA's law school when Jan Kemp won her case.

What many people apparently didn't know was that the lawyer for the university defendants was a Mercer graduate, hired by Georgia's Attorney General.

Jan Kemp's two attorneys were UGA grads, one a former scholarship athlete in golf, and one taught at UGA's law school.

As my English teacher wife would say, "Now, that's irony.")

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