Doug Dickey
Doug Dickey (1971).png
Dickey from 1971 GATORS yearbook
Biographical details
Born (1932-06-24) June 24, 1932 (age 90)
Vermillion, South Dakota, U.S.
Playing career
Position(s)Defensive back, quarterback
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1957–1963Arkansas (assistant)
1979Colorado (OC)
Administrative career (AD unless noted)
Head coaching record
Accomplishments and honors
2 SEC (1967, 1969)
SEC Coach of the Year (1965, 1967)
Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame
University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame
College Football Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2003 (profile)

Douglas Adair Dickey (born June 24, 1932) is an American former college football player and coach and college athletics administrator. Dickey is a South Dakota native who was raised in Florida and graduated from the University of Florida, where he played college football. He is best known as the head coach of the University of Tennessee and the University of Florida football teams, and afterward, as the athletic director of the University of Tennessee.

Early life and education

Dickey was born in Vermillion, South Dakota, in 1932,[1] and grew up in Gainesville, Florida, where his father was a speech professor at the University of Florida.[2] After graduating from P.K. Yonge High School in Gainesville, he attended the University of Florida and played for coach Bob Woodruff's Florida Gators football team from 1951 to 1953.[3] Dickey was a walk-on after being encouraged by assistant coach Dave Fuller.[4] Dickey began his college career as a defensive back, but he remarkably advanced from seventh on the Gators' quarterback depth chart to starter after Haywood Sullivan's early departure for the Boston Red Sox left the Gators without a starting quarterback in 1952.[5] As a quarterback, Dickey was not a drop-back passer, but a football-savvy game manager,[5] whom Woodruff called "one of the brainiest quarterbacks I ever saw."[2] In January 1953, Dickey led the Gators to a 14–13 win over the University of Tulsa in the Gator Bowl, Florida's first-ever NCAA-sanctioned bowl game.[6]

While a student at Florida, he was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity (Florida Upsilon chapter). He graduated with a bachelor's degree in physical education in 1954.

College football coach and athletic director

After graduating from the University of Florida, Dickey served in the U.S. Army.[7] From 1957 to 1963, he worked as an assistant football coach on the staff of Frank Broyles at the University of Arkansas.[7]

Dickey was hired as head coach at the University of Tennessee in 1964 by athletic director Bob Woodruff, Dickey's head coach during his playing years at Florida. Many supporters of Tennessee Volunteers football credit Dickey with rejuvenating the program. When Dickey was hired, the Volunteers had not won more than six games in a season, nor been to a bowl game, since 1957. Dickey was recognized as Southeastern Conference (SEC) Coach of the Year in 1965 and 1967, and his Tennessee teams won SEC championships in 1967 and 1969. In his six seasons as head coach, his overall win–loss record at Tennessee was 46–15–4 (.738), and the Volunteers received five consecutive bowl invitations.[8]

One of the brainiest quarterbacks I ever saw.

— Gators head coach Bob Woodruff, on Dickey's skills as a leader and game manager[2]

Dickey is credited with starting three Tennessee football traditions that endure today.[2] He placed the iconic "Power T" decal on the sides of the Volunteers' helmets, had the Neyland Stadium end zones painted in an orange-and-white checkerboard pattern, and originated the Pride of the Southland marching band's "T" formation through which Volunteer players enter the field.[9] Dickey was also responsible for integrating the previously all-white Volunteers by recruiting running back Albert Davis, the first African American offered a scholarship to play for the Vols,[10] but the university did not admit Davis.[11] Undeterred, Dickey recruited wide receiver Lester McClain, who was admitted and became the first black Volunteer football player.[11]

In 1969, the Volunteers clinched their second SEC championship and were invited to play Florida in the Gator Bowl.[2] Rumors swirled that Dickey was planning to return to his alma mater to replace retiring Ray Graves as head coach.[12] Tennessee lost the game 14–13, and Dickey left for Gainesville.[2]

Dickey became the head football coach at the University of Florida in 1970.[5] In his nine seasons as the Florida coach, Dickey led the Gators to four bowl appearances, and an overall record of 58–43–2 (.573).[3][13] Notably, Dickey gave the Gators' former Heisman-winning quarterback Steve Spurrier his first coaching job, as the Gators quarterbacks coach, in 1978.[14] Dickey did not achieve the same level of success at Florida that he had at Tennessee, and he was replaced by Charley Pell after a 4–7 season in 1978.

Dickey ended his college coaching career with an overall record of 104–58–6 (.637).[15]

Dickey returned to the University of Tennessee, where he served as athletic director from 1985 through 2002, leading one of the premier intercollegiate athletic programs in the nation.[2] His time as athletic director was notable for the improvement and expansion of the university's athletic facilities.[2] Neyland Stadium was expanded to more than 100,000 seats, and other additions included the Thompson–Boling Assembly Center and Arena, the Lindsey Nelson Baseball Stadium, the Goodfriend Tennis Center, executive suites at Neyland Stadium, the Neyland–Thompson Football Complex, and the Thornton Athletics Student Life Center.[2] Dickey also had the unusual experience of watching his son, Daryl Dickey, become the starting quarterback for the Volunteers in the middle of the 1985 season and leading them to a 35–7 win over the Miami Hurricanes in the Sugar Bowl.[16]


Dickey was honored as "Tennessean of the Year" by the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in 2000.[7] He is also the recipient of the National Football Foundation's John Toner Award recognizing his abilities as a sports administrator[1] and the Robert Neyland Memorial Trophy recognizing his contributions to college football, and is a member of the Gator Bowl Hall of Fame, the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, and the Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame,[2] and was recognized as a "Distinguished Letter Winner" by the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame.[17][18] After retiring in 2002, he was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 2003.[1]


Gator flop

See also: Gator Flop

Florida quarterback John Reaves entered the 1971 game versus Miami looking to break Jim Plunkett's NCAA record for all-time passing yardage in his last regular-season game. The Gators led the game throughout, and were up 45–8 when Reaves threw an interception to Miami's defense with little time left in the game and 14 yards separating Reaves from the record. After calling timeouts to prevent the Hurricanes from running out the clock, the Florida Gators defense dropped down onto their stomachs in unison and allowed the Hurricanes to intentionally score.

Known thereafter as the "Gator flop", the play allowed the Gators to get the ball back so Reaves could break the record. On the next drive, Reaves found Carlos Alvarez for a 15-yard gain to break the record, and after the game, the entire Gators team jumped into the fountain at the Miami Orange Bowl that was formerly used for the Miami Dolphins' live mascot. Hurricanes coach Fran Curci refused to shake the hand of Gators coach Doug Dickey after the game for pulling "a bush-league stunt", though Dickey denied knowledge the flop was coming.[19] Dickey later blamed it on a punt that was run back earlier in the game. In a 2010 interview, Dickey stated, "I didn't say to lay down, but I said to let 'em score." and later told players "But at least try to block the extra point.'"[20]

Head coaching record

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
Tennessee Volunteers (Southeastern Conference) (1964–1969)
1964 Tennessee 4–5–1 1–5–1 10th
1965 Tennessee 8–1–2 2–1–2 4th W Bluebonnet 7 7
1966 Tennessee 8–3 3–2 5th W Gator 14
1967 Tennessee 9–2 6–0 1st L Orange 2 2
1968 Tennessee 8–2–1 4–1–1 2nd L Cotton 7 13
1969 Tennessee 9–2 5–1 1st L Gator 11 15
Tennessee: 46–15–4 21–10–4
Florida Gators (Southeastern Conference) (1970–1978)
1970 Florida 7–4 3–3 T–5th
1971 Florida 4–7 1–6 T–8th
1972 Florida 5–5–1 3–3–1 6th
1973 Florida 7–5 3–4 T–5th L Tangerine 19
1974 Florida 8–4 3–3 T–4th L Sugar 12 15
1975 Florida 9–3 5–1 T–2nd L Gator
1976 Florida 8–4 4–2 4th L Sun
1977 Florida 6–4–1 3–3 5th
1978 Florida 4–7 3–3 T–4th
Florida: 58–43–2 28–28–1[3]
Total: 104–58–6[15]
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title or championship game berth

See also


  1. ^ a b c Doug Dickey at the College Football Hall of Fame
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Tom Mattingly, "In the End Archived 2010-06-17 at the Wayback Machine," Tennessee Alumnus Magazine, vol. 83, no. 3 (Summer 2003). Retrieved March 3, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c 2012 Florida Football Media Guide Archived May 27, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, University Athletic Association, Gainesville, Florida, pp. 111, 115, 116, 177 (2012). Retrieved September 16, 2012.
  4. ^ Peter Golenbock, Go Gators! An Oral History of Florida's Pursuit of Gridiron Glory, Legends Publishing, LLC, St. Petersburg, Florida, pp. 56–58 (2002).
  5. ^ a b c Norm Carlson, University of Florida Football Vault: The History of the Florida Gators, Whitman Publishing, LLC, Atlanta, Georgia, p. 61 (2007).
  6. ^ Associated Press, "Tulsa Rally Falls Short, Florida Wins 14–13," Sarasota Herald-Tribune, p. 1 (January 3, 1953). Retrieved March 3, 2010.
  7. ^ a b c Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, Tennessean of the Year, Doug Dickey Archived August 10, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved September 23, 2009.
  8. ^ College Football Data Warehouse, Tennessee Coaching Records Archived September 1, 2015, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved September 23, 2009.
  9. ^, Football, Doug Dickey. Retrieved March 3, 2010.
  10. ^ Associated Press, "Tennessee Gives Negro A Football Scholarship," The New York Times, Sports Section, p. 25 (April 15, 1967). Retrieved April 28, 2010.
  11. ^ a b Marvin West, Tales of the Tennessee Vols: A Collection of the Greatest Vols Stories Ever Told, Sports Publishing, L.L.C., Champaign, Illinois, p.41 (2002).
  12. ^ Carlson, University of Florida Football Vault, p. 87.
  13. ^ College Football Data Warehouse, Florida Coaching Records Archived September 5, 2015, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved September 23, 2009.
  14. ^ Joe Schad, "Former Florida coach Doug Dickey has spent 17 years leading the Tennessee athletic department," Orlando Sentinel (November 28, 2001).
  15. ^ a b College Football Data Warehouse, All-Time Coaching Records, Doug Dickey Records by Year Archived February 14, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved September 23, 2009.
  16. ^ West, Tales of the Tennessee Vols, pp. 222–223.
  17. ^ F Club, Hall of Fame, Distinguished Letterwinners. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
  18. ^ Jack Hairston, "Gators' Hall to induct 11," The Gainesville Sun, p. 1C (April 1, 1984). Retrieved July 23, 2011.
  19. ^ wolfsonarchive (October 5, 2009). "1971 Gator Flop". Archived from the original on December 21, 2021 – via YouTube.
  20. ^ "Lukas: The stories behind the 1971 Gator Flop". Retrieved September 28, 2016.

Further reading