Former Tennessee State University sports information director and longtime HBCU administrator Wallace Dooley, Jr. passed away on Tuesday.
Dooley served as the associate athletic director for media relations at Tennessee State from 2006-2012.
“We are so saddened by the passing of our friend and colleague Wallace Dooley,” said TSU athletics director Teresa Phillips. “He and his family have been a prominent part of TSU athletics for decades. He was a treasure chest of information and history for our programs. The TSU family sends our prayers and love to his wife Bridgette and his children.”
In a 28-year span, Dooley held positions in sports information/media relations at several schools and two conference offices. He completed a full circle when he returned to his alma mater, Tennessee State University to finish his career.
In 2012, he was honored with the CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America) Lifetime Achievement. After retiring from TSU, Dooley maintained connection to the field working as the media contact (radio/internet) in support of HBCU student-athletes and programs through BoxtoRow and HSRN Radio.
His interest in sports information began as an undergraduate student at TSU. He assisted the intramural director with compiling statistics for football and basketball games. In 1978, and after working as a part-time sportswriter at The Tennessean and as an assistant in the sports information office at then-Memphis State, he was named the first full-time sports information director at Alabama A&M.
Dooley won 11 CoSIDA publications awards during his career in addition to earning the CoSIDA 25-Year Award. He counted the Lifetime Achievement Award and its recognition as one of his most cherished of his career.
His many years in the profession included tenures as SID at the University of District of Columbia (1981-1984), Virginia State (1984-88) and North Carolina Central (1988-92). He served the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (1992-96) as public relations director and the Southwestern Athletic Conference (2001-2006) as assistant commissioner for media relations before returning to Nashville.
Dooley also supported athletics off campus. In 1996, he worked with the Atlanta Olympics as a venue press chief. He also worked in the sports information office for the Nashville Kats of the Arena Football and assisted with game day operations for the Tennessee Titans.
Along the way, he had an opportunity to promote some great teams and athletes, picking up honors and accolades for his work in the process.
While volunteering at Tennessee State in 1970, the Tiger football team finished 11-0 and the men’s basketball squad went 24-3. From 1970 through 1975, TSU’s football team was 55-8 with two undefeated seasons and the basketball teams were 111-32 while making four appearances in the NCAA tournament. During Dooley’s second tenure at TSU, the basketball team won back-to-back Ohio Valley Conference football titles in 1997-98, including an undefeated regular season, and during his final years, TSU women’s track team won three league titles.
In 1982, Dooley joined several other SIDs from HBCUs (historically black colleges and universities) to partner with the National Association for Women’s Sports (NAWS) in recognizing female student-athletes as All-Americans.
In 1984 at the CoSIDA workshop in St. Louis, he teamed with 11 other SIDs to form the Black College Sports Information Directors Association (BCSIDA).
Dooley worked with and trained a number of former assistants who earned their niche in the profession, including Monique Morgan Smith (former Associate Commissioner, CIAA), Tonya Walker (Athletic Director, Winston-Salem State), Greg Goings (Bowie State SID and President of CoSIDA’s Division II-SIDA group), William Bright (HBCU administrator), Zena Lewis (Washington Redskins PR) and Zekeya Harrison (assistant athletic director media relations, Tennessee State).
I was a kid, but I remember some of the work he did while at AAMU including his writing inside program booklets. He was very passionate about his work. Sad to hear about his passing but when you’ve had done good work like he has, his legacy lives on.