Uga (mascot)

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Uga
Uga I mascot.jpg
Uga I
University University of Georgia
Conference SEC
Description English bulldog
Origin of name University of GeorgiA
First seen 1956
Related mascot(s) Hairy Dawg

Uga (/ˈʌɡə/ UG) is the official live mascot of the University of Georgia Bulldogs. Since 1956, all the dogs serving as Uga have been part of a lineage of English Bulldogs owned by Sonny Seiler.[1]

Background[edit]

Uga VI, the official live mascot of the Georgia Bulldogs from 1999–2008

The Uga mascot line started in 1956 when Seiler brought a bulldog that was given to him as a wedding present to Georgia's first home game of the season. Afterwards, head coach Wally Butts asked his permission to use the dog as Georgia's mascot, and around the same time a college friend, Billy Young, suggested that he name it Uga, a play on the common abbreviation of the University of Georgia, UGA.[2] Since then, every Uga has been owned by and lived with the Seiler family in Savannah, Georgia.

Traditionally, the current Uga is present at every Georgia Bulldogs home football game, many away games, and other University-related functions and sports events, and usually wears a spiked collar and red jersey with varsity letter. The red jersey is Uga's typical "uniform," though he wears a green jersey on St. Patrick's Day.[2] Other special appearances include 1982, when Uga IV attended the Heisman Trophy Ceremony in New York City wearing a tuxedo, and 2007, when Uga VI wore a black jersey for the "blackout" game against Auburn University. Uga's jersey is made from the same fabric as the players' official game jerseys, and he even has an official student identification card. He has a custom-built air conditioned dog house at Sanford Stadium and typically sits on or near bags of ice at games, as bulldogs are susceptible to heat stroke (a problem in the humid southeastern United States).[3]

To date, 9 dogs have carried the name "Uga", which is derived from an abbreviation for the University of Georgia.[2][4][5] Each has been descended from the original Uga, and has frequently been the son of the predecessor.

Deceased Ugas are interred in a mausoleum near the main entrance at the southwest corner of Sanford Stadium. A bronze plaque describing each dog's tenure and including an epitaph is engraved in front of each tomb. The tomb's original location was at the east end of Sanford Stadium, and Ugas I and II were originally buried there. Prior to its 1981 enclosure, the University moved the Uga graves to the west end. When the west endzone was enclosed in 1992, the Ugas were entombed in their current resting place, and a bronze, life-sized statue representing Uga was placed in front of the mausoleum.[2]

Several Ugas have retired as part of pre-game ceremonies, during which there is a "passing of the collar" and the new Uga begins his reign. During these ceremonies, the fans typically chant "Damn good dog," a tradition dating back to Uga I.

The costumed character representing the University of Georgia is named Hairy Dawg and, while also a bulldog, should not be confused with the Ugas.

Genealogy of Uga namesakes[edit]

Records for each mascot
Dog W L T Pct
Uga I 53 48 6 .523
Uga II 42 16 3 .713
Uga III 71 32 2 .684
Uga IV 77 24 4 .731
Uga V 65 39 1 .624
Uga VI 87 27 0 .763
Uga VII 16 7 0 .696
Uga VIII 4 2 0 .667
Uga IX 19 7 0 .731
  • Uga I ("Hood's Ole Dan", 1956–66) – Started the Uga mascot line. Was a grandson of a bulldog that accompanied the Georgia football team to its Rose Bowl victory.[5] Won one Southeastern Conference football title (1959). Sanford Stadium Epitaph: Damn Good Dog[3]
  • Uga II ("Ole Dan's Uga", 1966–72) – Won two SEC football titles (1966, 1968) and one national title (1968 Litkenhaus poll). Epitaph: Not Bad for a Dog[3]
  • Uga III ("Seiler's Uga Three", 1972–81) – Won two SEC titles (1976, 1980) and one consensus national title (1980). Epitaph: How 'Bout This Dawg[3]
  • Uga IV ("Seiler's Uga Four", 1981–90) – Won two SEC championships (1981, 1982). He was the first live mascot ever invited to a Heisman trophy presentation in 1982, and accompanied Herschel Walker to the Downtown Athletic Club wearing a custom-made tuxedo. Epitaph: The Dog of the Decade[3]
  • Uga V ("Uga IV's Magillicuddy II", 1990–99) – Named in honor of Dan Magill, longtime Georgia tennis coach and Sports Information Director, and in honor of Magillicuddy I, who served as interim mascot for one game after Uga IV's death. He portrayed his father, Uga IV, in the motion picture Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, and was pictured on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1997.[6] In 1996, he famously lunged at Auburn wide receiver Robert Baker after he scored a touchdown. The pictures and video of this incident have been widely circulated as a symbol of the Deep South's Oldest Rivalry. Epitaph: "Nation's Best College Mascot" – Sports Illustrated [3]
  • Uga VI ("Uga V's Whatchagot Loran", 1999–2008) – Won two SEC championships (2002, 2005), two Sugar Bowls (2003, 2008), and had more than 20 victories over ranked opponents, the most of any Uga to date. He was named in honor of Loran Smith, longtime Georgia football sideline reporter and past president of the Georgia Bulldog Club (During football games, when former radio announcer Larry Munson called on Smith for a sideline report, he would say "Loran, whadda ya got?"). He was the largest at 65 pounds, and has the best winning percentage and most wins as well. He died of congestive heart failure on June 27, 2008.[7] Epitaph: A Big Dog For A Big Job, And He Handled It Well[3]
  • Uga VII ("Loran's Best", 2008–09)[8] – Also named in honor of Loran Smith. His tenure ended abruptly near the end of his second season when he died of heart failure on November 19, 2009. Epitaph: Gone Too Soon[3]
  • Uga VIII ("Big Bad Bruce", 2010–11)[3][9] – Named in honor of University of Georgia veterinarian Dr. Bruce Hollett.[10] He was introduced at the October 16, 2010, homecoming game against Vanderbilt.[11] On January 7, 2011, UGA officials announced that Uga VIII had been diagnosed with canine lymphoma,[12] which led to his death on February 4, 2011.[13] Epitaph: He Never Had A Chance[14]
  • Uga IX ("Russ", 2012–present; interim mascot, 2009–12) – After the death of Uga VII, his five-year-old half-brother, Russ, was selected as interim mascot for the final two games of the 2009 season. He continued as interim mascot for the first six games of the 2010 season and participated in a "passing of the collar" ceremony for Uga VIII before the Homecoming game against Vanderbilt.[15][16] Less than two months later, Russ was once again called on to serve at the 2010 AutoZone Liberty Bowl, due to a then-unspecified illness suffered by Uga VIII (later revealed to be canine lymphoma).[12] After the death of Uga VIII five weeks later, it was announced that Russ would continue as interim mascot indefinitely.[13][17] Russ served during the entire 2011 season as interim mascot, and UGA Director of Athletics Greg McGarity announced on August 30, 2012 that Russ received a "battlefield promotion" and would assume the title of Uga IX. The official ceremony was conducted prior to the Georgia vs. Florida Atlantic home football game on Saturday, September 15, 2012.[18][19]

Temporary mascots[edit]

Since 1956, four other bulldogs (three of which were from the Uga family line) have served as temporary sideline mascots when the current Uga was not available. The bulldog later known as Uga IX served two terms as an interim mascot before officially becoming Uga IX.

  • Bugga Lou – 1971 – This unrelated, female, brown-and-white bulldog filled in for an ailing Uga II at the South Carolina and Florida games during the 1971 season.[20]
  • Argos/Knute – 1972 – The dog's given name at birth was Argos, but he had been given to another family member and had his name changed to Knute before he was called into service. Knute served as interim mascot for the first game of the 1972 season against Baylor, since Uga II had died and the future Uga III wasn't deemed to be mature enough to serve yet. Uga III was introduced for the second game of the 1972 season against North Carolina.[20]
  • Otto – 1986 – Otto, the older brother of Uga IV, filled in for him during four games in the 1986 season after Uga IV injured his left hind knee jumping off a hotel bed prior to a game against Vanderbilt. Otto compiled a 3–1 record and also served as co-mascot for the Georgia Tech game that year with Uga IV. Legendary former coach Vince Dooley has said that Otto was his favorite Georgia mascot, "because he came off the bench and got the job done."[20][21]
  • Magillicuddy I – 1989 – He filled in for an ailing Uga IV, his brother, at the 1989 Peach Bowl. Uga IV died after the end of the 1989 season, but Magillicuddy was considered to be too old to be named the new mascot.[20]

Georgia mascot history prior to Uga[edit]

Georgia officially claims the following animals as live mascots prior to the introduction of the Uga line in 1956.[3]

  • "The Goat" (Name Unknown) – 1892 – Appeared at the Georgia–Mercer game on January 30, 1892[22] and first Auburn–Georgia game on February 22, 1892. It was dressed in a black coat with the letters "U.G." in red on each side.[3]
  • Trilby – 1894 – Georgia's first canine mascot, Trilby was a solid white female bull terrier owned by student Charles Black, Sr. of Atlanta. After Trilby's 1894 reign, there is no official mascot acknowledged by the university for 50 years. According to the 2011 Georgia football media guide, "... chaos developed in the mascot department at the University. Many games had several, depending on which alumnus got his dog to the game first."[23]
  • Mr. Angel – 1944–46 – Mr. Angel was a brindle-and-white English Bulldog owned by Warren Coleman, a physician from Eastman, Georgia.
  • Butch and Tuffy – 1947–48 (both), 1948–51 (only Butch) – Butch and Tuffy were brindled English Bulldogs owned by Mabry Smith of Warner Robins, Georgia. Smith agreed to loan the dogs to the University for use as mascots after bringing them to the 1946 Georgia Tech game (which was the final game of the 1946 regular season). Tuffy died of a heart attack after the 1948 Kentucky game, but Butch served by himself until he was shot and killed by a Warner Robins policeman while roaming the streets in the summer of 1951 after escaping from his pen.
  • Mike – 1951–55 – Mike was a brindled English Bulldog owned by C.L. Fain, and during his time as mascot, he lived in the campus field house. Mike passed away due to natural causes in 1955. A bronze likeness of Mike stands outside of Memorial Hall on Georgia's campus near Sanford Stadium.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Official Uga page at Georgiadogs.com. Last accessed 2012-03-25.
  2. ^ a b c d Terry College of Business Lecture Series – Sonny Seiler – "Damn Good Dogs! The Real Story of Uga, the University of Georgia's Bulldog Mascots" Last accessed 2012-03-25.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Georgia Football 2011 Media Guide". Georgiadogs.com. Retrieved September 28, 2011. 
  4. ^ Branch, John (October 16, 2010). "Long Live the Mascot, Uga VIII". The New York Times. Retrieved November 4, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b Dan Magill (July 1, 2008). "Uga VI was descendent of Rose Bowl mascot". Athens Banner-Herald. Retrieved October 19, 2012. 
  6. ^ Stroer, Joan (November 10, 1999). "Uga rated nation's top mascot in Sports Illustrated". Athens Banner-Herald. Athens Newspapers Inc. Retrieved January 12, 2008. 
  7. ^ Atlanta Journal Constitution: UGA statement on Uga VI's death. Retrieved June 30, 2008. Last accessed 2012-03-25.
  8. ^ UGA Sports Communications: “Loran’s Best” To Become “Uga VII” During Pre-game Ceremonies Saturday
  9. ^ Emerson, Bo (October 13, 2010). "Brand new damn good dog". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved October 13, 2010. 
  10. ^ ""Big Bad Bruce" introduced as UGA VIII.". Georgia Magazine. Retrieved January 24, 2011. 
  11. ^ Tucker, Tim (October 5, 2010). "New mascot, Uga VIII, will make debut next week". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved October 6, 2010. 
  12. ^ a b Swartz, Kristi (January 7, 2011). "UGA VIII has lymphoma, is responding well to treatment". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved January 7, 2011. 
  13. ^ a b "Mascot Uga VIII dies from lymphoma". ESPN. February 4, 2011. Retrieved February 4, 2011. 
  14. ^ 2012 Spring football media guide. Last accessed 2012-04-06.
  15. ^ Tucker, Tim (November 27, 2009). "'Russ' will serve as UGA mascot vs. Tech". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved November 27, 2009. 
  16. ^ Augusta Chronicle: Georgia football fans face season of changes
  17. ^ "Mascot Uga VIII sidelined from bowl by illness; ‘Russ’ returns". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. December 30, 2010. Retrieved December 31, 2010. 
  18. ^ Adina Solomon, Russ will finish out the season, The Red and Black, December 2, 2011
  19. ^ "Russ Promoted, Assumes Title of Uga IX". University of Georgia Athletic Association Website. August 30, 2012. Retrieved August 30, 2012. 
  20. ^ a b c d King, Bill (November 20, 2009). "A Game Without a Bulldog Makes History". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved November 20, 2009. 
  21. ^ "History of Our Mascot". UGA Sports Communications. July 13, 2006. Retrieved January 12, 2008. [dead link]
  22. ^ "Black and Crimson Waves Triumphantly Over The Ball Ground". Athens Weekly Banner. February 2, 1892. 
  23. ^ This quote appears in the 2011 Georgia football media guide, and is attributed to the November 18, 1962 edition of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

External links[edit]