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February 20, 1933
|Spouse(s)||Cecelia (1956–2014; her death)|
Frank W. "Sonny" Seiler (born February 20, 1933) is a trial attorney from Savannah, Georgia, who had a leading role in the true-crime book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. He is also the owner of the University of Georgia Bulldogs live mascots Uga, a series of successively numbered English bulldogs.
Seiler graduated in 1950 from the Porter Military Academy, now the Porter-Gaud School, in Charleston, South Carolina. 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 and the Gridiron Secret Society and a founder of the Order of the Greek Horsemen.
Seiler practices law in Savannah, 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 true-crime book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil as the lawyer who defended antiques dealer Jim Williams in a 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.
Since the 1950s, Seiler and his family have owned and maintained the unbroken line of live mascots of the University of Georgia sports teams, English bulldogs known successively as Uga I - X.
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, who intended to insult Seiler. The new puppy was said to be the grandson of a white bulldog who traveled with the Georgia football team to Pasadena, California, for the 1943 Rose Bowl.
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 the dog 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, maintained the 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 the dog's 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 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; Hammon, Kent (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.