Tom Dooley (American football)

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Tom Dooley
Born(1934-09-15)September 15, 1934
DiedMay 9, 2018(2018-05-09) (aged 83)
Education Virginia Military Institute
Occupation NFL official (1978–1992)

Robert Thomas Dooley Jr. (September 15, 1934 – May 9, 2018) [1] was an American football official for 32 years with 14 of those years in the National Football League (NFL) from 1978 to 1992 as a line judge and referee. Dooley was assigned Super Bowl XV in 1981 as a line judge. In the NFL, he wore the uniform numbers 103 and 6.



A native of Virginia, Dooley attended Andrew Lewis High School in Salem, Virginia where he graduated in 1952 and later attended college at the Virginia Military Institute, earning a bachelor's degree in civil engineering in 1956 and was a varsity football player. One year later, he earned a master's degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Between 1957 and 1960, Dooley served in the United States Air Force as a first lieutenant.

In 1960, after completing his tour in the Air Force, Dooley began a distinguished football officiating career. From 1960 to 1977, Dooley worked both junior high and high school football games and also officiated college football games from 1966 to 1977 in the Southern Conference.

Dooley was selected to join the NFL in 1978 as a line judge before being promoted to the referee position following his appearance at Super Bowl XV for the start of the 1981 NFL season. Beginning with his Super Bowl paycheck, Dooley signed away nearly every paycheck he received from the NFL for the next 14 years, which was an amount in excess of $500,000 to a scholarship fund he created at Virginia Military Institute called "Matthew 25", [2] named after the Biblical passage. Dooley retired from the NFL following the 1992 season in order to spend more time with his family, but continues to supply funds to the scholarship with the checks he receives from his work mediating and arbitrating construction-related problems.

Outside of the NFL, Dooley founded a company, R.T. Dooley Construction in 1977 based out of Charlotte, North Carolina. It specializes in commercial and medical buildings in North Carolina and South Carolina and has a staff of more than 100 employees. R.T. Dooley Construction made a policy to give a financial contribution every year to employees and other organizations.

Tom was married to Nancy and had three children, Nina, Bob, and David and lived in Charlotte, North Carolina. But now he was known as grandfather to his eight granddaughters.

Memorable games


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  1. Schultz, Mark (May 23, 2018). "Tom Dooley, retired NFL referee and line judge passes away". Football Zebras. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
  2. "NASO Gold Whistle Award Winner Tom Dooley". Archived from the original on September 27, 2011. Retrieved July 6, 2011.
  3. 1 2 "Tom Dooley Interview". 2001. Archived from the original on October 21, 2006. Retrieved August 21, 2006.
  4. "NASO Press Releases". Archived from the original on September 27, 2011. Retrieved July 6, 2011.
  5. "Let's Talk Turkey | Greater Charlotte Biz". September 7, 2018.