The death of Uga VII, who was officially introduced as to UGA fans at the Georgia Southern game in Athens on Aug. 30, 2008, makes his tenure the shortest of the Uga line of pure-bred white English bulldogs owned by Sonny Seiler of Savannah.
Previously, Uga II, who was mascot from 1966 to 1972, held that distinction. The Seilers have provided UGA’s mascots since 1956 and generally have served about nine years each.
At 56 and a half pounds, Uga VII, whose official name was “Uga VI’s Loran’s Best,” was second only to Uga VI as the biggest mascot in the line. He was 4 years old.
The Ugas are among the nation’s most popular and celebrated college mascots, especially with the TV networks that cover football. Uga V was perhaps the biggest “celebrity” of the line, having had a role playing his father in the film “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” and been named America’s best college mascot by Sports Illustrated.
Uga VII’s time with the Bulldogs was too brief to make much of an impression other than the initial one of him asleep in his air-conditioned doghouse at Sanford Stadium during a game. In a statement released by UGA, Seiler said, “Uga VII was not as active or mischievous as his father but more distinguished. He realized his role when he put his shirt on. He was well-behaved and always appreciated the significance of his role.”
I’m assuming that, as with the other Ugas, he will be buried inside Sanford Stadium — an honor apparently not given to any other college sports mascot. There will be no live mascot at Georgia’s game on Saturday but a wreath will be placed on Uga VII’s doghouse on the north sideline, UGA announced.
One question still to be answered is whether the Seilers have another pure white dog in the line to take Uga VII’s place. When Uga IV died, there was no suitable heir in place (all his sons were considered too old), but it turned out that a mate was expecting and the pup that became Uga V was the ony all-white male in the litter. Similarly, when an aging Uga III became ill, he had no pure white heir but a last mating produced a single all-white male. Update: According to UGA, Seiler said there were options available for Uga VII’s replacement but no final determination would be made until sometime next year.
It should be remembered that in addition to serving as UGA mascots, the Ugas are family pets of the Seilers, and our condolences go out to them on the loss of the latest damn good dog to wear the famed red sweater.