When you look at Georgia Bulldogs football history, you see that coaches, players, fans all come and go. The one constant is the Bulldog mascot. One of the most recognizable mascots in college football, the Bulldog of Georgia was chosen to illustrate the fierceness associated with the mentality of the team.
Thanks to JEFFHREED at flickr.com for this photo of Georgia Bulldogs mascot "UGA".
The nickname for the University of Georgia football team is a topic of some controversy. Old-schoolers claim it came from the connection the first president of the school had with Yale, which also called their team, the "Bulldogs." Others trace the use of the nickname to a newspaper write-up where journalist, Cliff Wheatley referred to the team as the "Bulldogs" several times. Either way, the nickname stuck.
One thing that's not debatable is that the solid white English Bulldog, Uga, comes from a long line of breeding that began in 1956. Some of the bulldogs have been privileged to grace the cover of the Sports Illustrated, appear on the silver screen, and had pictures taken with Heisman Trophy winner, Herschel Walker.
Georgia played its first game on January 30, 1892, at home, in Athens, Georgia. The game was against Mercer University and the Bulldogs won 50-0. This also was the first year of the Georgia - Auburn football rivalry which is "The South's Oldest Rivalry." That game was played on February 20, 1892 and Auburn won 10-0. [Thanks to Mark Moss (see his submission below) for this info.]
Thirty-six years later, in 1928, ground was broken for the construction of Sanford Stadium. The stadium was opened on October 12, 1929. The first game in the new stadium was against Yale. More than 30,000 fans showed up to watch the Georgia Bulldogs beat the Yale Bulldogs 15-0.
Georgia's Sanford Stadium. Thanks to klondike_kid at flickr.com for the picture.
The next month, the team suffered its first loss (21-15 to Tulane). In 1940, the first night game was held; a 7-7 tie against Kentucky. The Bulldogs longest home winning streak was 24 straight games from September 13th, 1980 to November 12th, 1983.
Over the years, a series of expansions and upgrades improved Sanford Stadium. In 1940, field-level lights were added. Nine years later, the south side of the stadium received 6,000 new seats. In 1981, the total capacity of Sanford reached 82,122. The upper level of the stadium received new lights in 1982. The lower level of Sanford received enclosed west end zone stands in 1991. Thirty luxury suites joined the south stand area in 1994, with an additional 20 built in 2000. The north side of the stadium received an extra upper deck in 2003 with an additional 27 Sky Suites added in 2004.
Sanford Stadium is the fifth largest on-campus stadium within the NCAA, accommodating 92,746 people. It has a natural grass field. Since the opening day of the field, games were played "Between the Hedges", which served as both a visual treat and effective method of crowd control.
"Blackout" at Sanford Stadium. Thanks to klondike_kid at flickr.com for the picture.
A number of rivalries have also unfolded on the field, including the "Deep South's Oldest Rivalry" with Auburn, and the intrastate battle between Georgia and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets ("Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate") that has stirred since 1893.
The University of Georgia is no stranger to the NFL. In fact, the school is currently one of the top five producers of NFL players. Former Bulldogs - Jake Scott (Miami Dolphins), Hines Ward (Pittsburgh Steelers), and Terrell Davis (Denver Broncos) have all earned Super Bowl MVP awards.
Behind every good player is usually a good coach. One of the most successful Georgia football coaches was Vince Dooley, who served as head coach from 1964 to 1988. His record of 201-77-10 is the best in Georgia history - certainly the most wins.
Known for infusing sound principles and continuous toughness, Dooley's teams grabbed a National Championship in 1980 (see Top Offensive Rushing Team in SEC History and six SEC championships under his leadership. [This goes along with 1942 when Georgia shared the National Championship -- see Frank Sinkwich story below].
During his career, Dooley led his teams to 20 bowl games and coached Herschel Walker to a Heisman Trophy in 1982. In 1994, Dooley was inducted into the National College Football Hall of Fame. He is ranked as the 6th best all-time SEC football coach.
As for outstanding players, the 1940s and 1950s saw a handful of 1st picks in the NFL draft. In 1943, Frank Sinkwich (running back and Heisman Trophy winner -- and Top All-Time SEC Offensive Football Player) went to the Lions, followed by Charley Trippi, who was picked first by the Cardinals in the 1945 draft. In 1953, Harry Babcock was chosen first in the draft and went to play for the 49ers.
One of the highest honors given to a sports player is when their jersey and number is retired. To date, there are only four former Georgia Bulldogs who have received this honor. They are Frank Sinkwich (#21); Charley Trippi (#62); Theron Sapp (#40); and Herschel Walker (#34) (Best All-Time NCAA Football Player).
The University of Georgia has recently approved more than $81 million in future campus construction. This includes $750,000 for renovations to the football team's trophy room. Wow, that room should hold a lot of trophies!!
GEORGIA BULLDOGS FOOTBALL HISTORY!!
GEORGIA BULLDOGS FOOTBALL HISTORY!!
GEORGIA BULLDOGS FOOTBALL HISTORY!!
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