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Dooley to miss Dogs’ opener

ATHENS — Vince Dooley has attended every Georgia season opener since his first game as head coach in 1964, but that streak will end at 43 years on Saturday.

With some reluctance, Dooley has decided to instead travel to Ruston, La., to watch his son, Derek, in his first game as Louisiana Tech’s coach.

Dooley said his wife, Barbara, cast the deciding vote for Louisiana Tech and family loyalties.

‘‘There was no doubt where she was going to be,’’ Dooley said Tuesday. ‘‘I had a bit of a dilemma. Then she said, ’You need to be there for your son.’’’

That was that. Dooley would have to miss the Georgia-Oklahoma State game.

Dooley was Georgia’s coach from 1964-88 and served the school a total of 41 years as coach and athletic director. He retired on June 30, 2004.

He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1994.

The last Georgia home game that Dooley missed was in 1989, when he worked a game away from Athens for ESPN. He did attend the season opener that year.

Dooley’s 75th birthday is Tuesday.

Dooley is still hoarse but said he feels good after completing radiation treatments for a malignant tumor in his throat. He said he has been told by doctors that the hoarseness is normal and his voice should soon return to normal.

‘‘They said it’d get worse before it got better, and it did,’’ Dooley said with a smile.

Dooley won 201 games, six Southeastern Conference championships and one national title in his 25 years as head coach.

Derek Dooley’s Louisiana Tech Bulldogs will play Central Arkansas Saturday, and he said he has sought advice from his father.

‘‘He’s been a good person to bounce things off of,’’ said the younger Dooley. ‘‘I think anytime it’s your first year you’re questioning whether what you’re doing is the right thing. I feel good about it, and most of the things we’re doing have been tried and tested and we’ll see how it works out come game time.’’

Derek said he looks forward to hearing his father’s postgame review.

‘‘I’m sure after the game he’ll have a number of things he wants to talk about, so we can talk about it then.’’

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