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Dooley sees winner in club

Vince Dooley speaks at the Boys and Girls Clubs Steak N Burger dinner.

Vince Dooley speaks at the Boys and Girls Clubs Steak N Burger dinner.

ALBANY -- Talk about the loyalty of a Georgia Bulldog. Coach Vince Dooley spoke at the first Boys & Girls Clubs of Albany Steak N Burger Dinner in 1987. He spoke again Thursday night at the event's silver anniversary.

"I believe in the incredible success of the Boys & Girls Clubs," said Dooley, one of the most successful football coaches in NCAA history. "The programs in the club mean a lot to young people both in athletics and in their lives. It is about character, respect and integrity."

While signing copies of his most recent book, "History and Reminiscences of the University of Georgia," Dooley took time to meet young fans such as 9-year-old David Goodwin and 10-Year-old Quintavious Sims, both club members.

David and Quintavious clutched "How 'Bout Them Dawgs!" signed by Dooley. It was written for younger fans and was a gift from Dougherty County Sheriff Kevin Sproul, a strong club supporter.

"Today is my first day in the club. I'm having a lot of fun," David said. "And I know who he (Dooley) is. I know who Herschel Walker is, too."

Heisman winner Walker was one of the many football greats coached by Dooley during his 25-year career.

During the 25 years the Girls & Boys Clubs dinner has been held, it continues to be the club's biggest fund raiser.

More than 900 people turned out to support the club in Darton College's Cavalier Auditorium. Many such as Zocko Littleton, a SunTrust Bank financial services representative, have attended club events as children.

"It was a good experience for me," Littleton said. "It helps kids and keeps them off the streets after school."

One of the gifts given to Dooley in honor of his appearance at the anniversary celebration was his portrait done by local artist and D'Town Art Coalition member Sean Mulkey.

Marcus Ford received the clubs' Youth of the Year award. Larry Price was honored for his work with the club with its Distinguished Service Award.