February 20, 1933
|Spouse(s)||Cecelia (1956–2014; her death)|
Frank W. "Sonny" Seiler (born February 20, 1933) is a prominent trial attorney from Savannah, Georgia who had a leading role in the bestselling true-crime book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. He is also famous as the owner of the University of Georgia Bulldogs live mascots Uga, a series of successively numbered English bulldogs.
Seiler graduated from the Porter Military Academy, now the exclusive Porter-Gaud School in Charleston, SC, in 1950. He earned his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Georgia (1956 and 1957), where he was a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity, Gridiron Secret Society, and a founder of the university's Order of the Greek Horsemen.
Seiler practices law in Savannah, Georgia where he is a senior partner at Bouhan Falligant LLP. In 1973 he served as president of the State Bar of Georgia. He was featured in the bestseller Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, as the lawyer who defended Savannah antiques dealer Jim Williams in a notorious murder case. Because of his and Uga's role in the story Seiler was cast in the film of the book as Judge White, who presided over Williams' trial. He has since appeared in two other movies filmed in Savannah, The Legend of Bagger Vance and The Gingerbread Man.
The family received the first member of the line (today referred to as Uga I) in 1956, when Seiler was a second-year student at the University of Georgia School of Law and newly married to the former Cecelia Gunn. He was given the bulldog by a former beau of Gunn's, intended to insult Mr. Seiler. The new puppy was said to be the grandson of a white bulldog who traveled with the Georgia football team for the 1943 Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.
On September 29, 1956 the Seilers brought Uga I with them to Sanford Stadium for the first Georgia Bulldogs football home game of the year, against the Florida State Seminoles. Dan Magill, the Sports Information Director for the UGA Athletic Association at the time, took notice of a picture of Uga I from that game and suggested to UGA football head coach Wally Butts that Seiler have Uga attend subsequent games as the official team mascot. This began a tradition of Uga or one of his descendants being present at every University of Georgia football game, home and away.
His fifth successor, Uga VI, who, like his progenitors, was a pure white bulldog, was the vanguard of this tradition from 1999 until his death in 2008 at Seiler's Savannah home. Uga VII replaced Uga VI for the team's highly anticipated 2008 season, however, officials initially questioned its readiness. Uga VII died on November 19, 2009, of congestive heart failure.
In its April 28, 1997 issue Sports Illustrated named Uga the nation's best college mascot. Uga has been the only dog allowed in the State building in Georgia, and summer of 2006 was the 50th anniversary of the Uga line.
- "State Bar Of Georgia Past Presidents". State Bar of Georgia. Retrieved 2008-01-12.
- Seiler, Sonny; Kent Hammon (2006). Damn Good Dogs!: The Real Story of Uga, the University of Georgia's Bulldog Mascots. Champaign, Illinois: Sports Publishing L.L.C. p. 6. ISBN 1-59670-147-1.
- Seiler. Damn Good Dogs!. pp. 10–11.
- Kendall, Josh (June 28, 2008). "Georgia's Uga VI dies". The Macon Telegraph. Retrieved 2008-06-28.[dead link]
- Stroer, Joan (November 10, 1999). "Uga rated nation's top mascot in Sports Illustrated". Athens Banner-Herald. Athens Newspapers Inc. Retrieved 2008-01-12.
- Bouhan Falligant LLP: Frank W. Seiler
- Sonny Seiler at the Internet Movie Database
- Cecelia Seiler's obituary at savannahnow.com