Which UGA athletic heroes are worthy of statues?

Vince Dooley and the statue honoring the 1980 national championship. (University of Georgia)

Vince Dooley and the statue honoring the 1980 national championship. (University of Georgia)

Looks like we’ve entered a new Bronze Age in the SEC.

You probably saw the recent news that the University of Alabama is quickly putting up a statue of Nick Saban to mark the Tide’s most recent national championship. It’ll join statues of the other UA coaches who’ve won national titles in the “Walk of Champions” area outside Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa.

Then came word that the University of Florida is looking at erecting bronze, life-size statues of the Gators’ Heisman Trophy winners, Tim Tebow, Steve Spurrier and Danny Wuerffel.

That got me to thinking which Bulldog heroes ought to be enshrined if UGA were to go beyond the statue honoring former coach Vince Dooley and his 1980 national championship team that was unveiled in 2008 on the South Campus athletic complex named after Dooley.

Now let me say up front that I recognize there are those who question whether a university campus perhaps ought to erect monuments to great scholars or distinguished alumni rather than athletes, and I’d be all for honoring those folks as well if someone’s willing to put up the money like the athletic association did with the Dooley statue. I certainly don’t think tax dollars ought to be shelled out for statues when there aren’t enough faculty members.

And, indeed, private funds will pay for a statue of UGA’s founder and first president, Abraham Baldwin, that will be erected on North Campus, just as the Sonny Seiler family donated a small bronze statue of Uga VI to the veterinary medicine school. (The other bronze statue of a Georgia Bulldog that sits outside Memorial Hall is actually of Mike, one of the pre-Seiler UGA mascots.)

Anyway, for the purpose of this discussion, let’s stick to athletic heroes and assume that the funding comes either from private donations or that nice fat athletic association surplus. UGA currently doesn’t have an equivalent of Bama’s “Walk of Champions,” but perhaps something along those lines could be worked into the new Reed Alley plaza being built at Sanford Stadium. And if not full statues, maybe bronze busts would be more suitable and take up less space.

Or maybe statues/busts of football heroes could anchor the four corners of the stadium. Heisman winners Herschel Walker and Frank Sinkwich would be natural subjects, along with “Flatfoot” Frankie’s teammate, Maxwell Award winner Charley Trippi. Who for the fourth corner? Longtime coach Wally Butts, who won Georgia’s other consensus national title? Or fan favorite Erk Russell, perhaps?

And over at Stegeman Coliseum, which also is undergoing a facelift and expansion of its concourse, some of the Dawg heroes associated with that venue might be honored, like human highlight film Dominique Wilkins or five-time Olympian Teresa Edwards or Courtney Kupets, the NCAA’s all-time most decorated gymnast.

Which UGA athletic heroes do you think should be honored with a statue or bust? And is a “Walk of Champions” type of area something that needs to be added to the campus in Athens?

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230 comments Add your comment

BS Patrol

February 6th, 2010
8:37 pm

Dan Magill? Tennis? You guys are desperate.

My vote goes to Jasper Sanks and Reggie Ball.

Duluth Gator

February 6th, 2010
8:49 pm

No doubt about it, Hershel…. he was unbelievable, man playing with boys.

Birrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrd Man

February 6th, 2010
9:08 pm

Hines Ward is the toughest man ever to be in Athens…or anywhere else he chooses to go. He’s statue worthy.

Birrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrd Man

February 6th, 2010
9:10 pm

LOL Jasper Sanks. Good one.

GT Dog

February 6th, 2010
9:11 pm

Dogtard:

I think we all know that the methods used over the years to “determine” the National Champ has been flawed at best. Through the years there have been numerous polls and “systems” used to determine “their” NC. None of these have been sponsored by the NCAA and picking any one of them as being authoritative is a farce.

Even the BCS, put in place to help determine a more logical champion, changed the way it was calculated several years ago, putting the emphasis back on the polls after USC failed to reach the NC game in, what 2003 or 2004.

Anyway, I’ve gotten off topic. I’ll stick with the words of Paul Bryant-”As long as you win one of them (the polls), you can claim them all” or something to that effect. Or, as Switzer said-”It only takes one (poll) to print a bumper sticker”.

beatdowns galore

February 6th, 2010
9:18 pm

Commemorative Wall Plaques placed at the new Reid Alley honoring Spurrier, Saban, Fulmer, Meyer and even Kiffin for administering beat downs on UGA !

Floundering Fox Hounds Batman!

February 6th, 2010
9:21 pm

Uga playing sloppy tonite against VANDY ! LMAO !!!!!!

PDawg

February 6th, 2010
9:35 pm

Typical Dawgs…argueing over something that none of us were alive to see or experience…

How about a statue of Bill King sitting on a toilet.

Dawg gone it they are still living

February 6th, 2010
9:36 pm

What will Alabama do if Saban gets caught in bed with a dead girl, or a live boy, or even worse, starts losing? What if Tebow goes and gets him a hooker? I think they schools should step back from this trend. It’s dangerous to erect a statue to anyone still living with normal human frailties.

Josh Rosen

February 6th, 2010
10:06 pm

I was going to say Herschel Walker and Erk Russell, but I think I like David Granger’s suggestion best. Just an unnamed lineman and call it Bulldog Pride. That works real well I think. (And I like your comments about Georgia holding itself to higher standards, especially with so many schools “honoring” themselves with statutes and signs left and right.)

indianman

February 6th, 2010
10:33 pm

yes? give ball one for being the only quarterback to throw the ball outbound on fourdown

Ted Striker

February 6th, 2010
10:49 pm

Not in favor of any statues at this time. And that includes Dooley.

lexdog

February 6th, 2010
11:17 pm

The great Reggie Ball

AthDog

February 6th, 2010
11:41 pm

Well, it hurts to say it, but we don’t have a ‘walk of champions’ because we’ve won a fraction of the titles as our rivals from Tuscaloosa. Let’s worry about winning some more titles so that any ‘walk of champions’ we have won’t be so sparsely populated.

BuLLdawg

February 7th, 2010
12:12 am

It might just help if we could beat Florida

first.

BuLLdawg

February 7th, 2010
12:43 am

Exactly, AthDog.

Here we are coming off 3 of the last 4 seasons now which most of us Bulldog fans feel have been huge disappointments to our players and to us, and our fan blog writer Bill King wants to talk about whom it is we can put a statue for.

2006 was certainly no fun with losses to Vanderbilt, Florida again, Tennessee again, and Kentucky. If you are hugely disappointed by that, there is nothing that you are embarrassed by in life.

2008 was certainly no fun giving up 30, 42, & 29 consecutive points in losses to Georgia tek, Alabama and Florida again. You just might recall we started that season ranked Number 1 in the Polls. Then, stunk up the stadium offensively and defensively and on special teams allowing opponents to rack up 30, 42 and 29 consecutive points. We became the laughing stock of college football not because we lost to 2 SEC teams that everyone but us knew were better coached teams than our own, but because of the manner in which we just gave up allowing more than 4 consecutive touchdowns against both, and then to top off our first Number 1 Ranking ever in the Polls to begin a season, in the last regular season game, we went out yet again against a team no one had ranked a single time all year long at our own house ‘Tween the Hedges and let lowly unranked Georgia tek score 29 consecutive points against us and we lost to Georgia tek at Sanford Stadium. I see no statues for this season, either. Without the win over UGA, Georgia tek certainly gets ranked by no one in the Final Polls and probably should not have been anyway.

2009 was even worse. Sure, we lost to Florida again, lost to LSU, lost to Okie State who even Houston beat but not us, lost to Tennessee again, and lost to Kentucky again. But, just how in the name of God can we look and see that Tennessee and Kentucky both went 7-6 on the season and that both have a losing record on the season were it not for their wins over us in Decline as we most assuredly are.

2010 frankly on the Offensive Side of the Ball, has started out again hugely disappointing to all Bulldog fans and players, and believe it or not but even Coach Richt said he was hugely disappointed in our recruiting failings on offense this past Wednesday. If we remain true to form 2010 and there is no one who feels we will not with yet another season of not having prepared a QB with only 3 freshmen QB (Just how does a team do that to itself?), and all the fumbles, all the interceptions and all the penalties this football program produces nowadays, this has certainly at least started out hugely disappointing to all amongst us but the DISNEYdawg.

This could be 4 of the last 5 years viewed by the nation as hugely disappointing to Georgia Bulldogs in football.

And, the 1 year that was not of the last 5 ?

2007 when we started the season with not just Conference losses, but Division losses to knock us out of any hope of making it to the SEC Championship. South Carolina, you may recall did not even play in a bowl game. 6 losses just like Tennessee and Kentucky losses this season just ended – that’s how bad South Carolina was 2007. Loss to South Carolina and for good measure a total blow-out by Tennessee again.

We are in Decline folks, with a stubborn head coach who bragged this time last year that he would not be replacing Willie Martinez nor Mike Bobo. Or anyone else for that matter on his coaching staff of ninnies.

We have issues on offense and clearly not being able to evaluate talent is right up there at the top of the list.

Now, as a result, the recruits themselves do not want to play on this Mike Bobo no fun offense because they see the way we have squandered our offensive talent, played favorites, and looked absolutely miserable.

Statues ? The only stinking statues that need to be put up around here are for the fans who try to put some spin on all this the last 5 years, since DJ Shockley graduated with Honors, and find that UGA has been better than Florida to name but one.

heartofdarkness

February 7th, 2010
1:32 am

WWII vets, Vietnam vets, Gulf War vets, Afghan War vets, Iraq War vets and maybe even Veterans of the Grenada Incursion

Slobber Knocker

February 7th, 2010
2:22 am

Jim Harrick…..and Jim Harrick Jr.

Buckhead Bulldog

February 7th, 2010
6:16 am

Hey Floundering Fox Hounds Batman!, Read it weep, hater.

‘Georgia upsets No. 18 Vanderbilt’

dawginflorida

February 7th, 2010
8:42 am

larry munson ,then herschel……running over bill bates my god he”s freshman

charley trippi…….also……….kevin butler……..kicking clemson ass……..scott running thru gators
slow dbs…hell just put a big HOBNAIL BOOT out near stadium……that will get er done

NotaUGAFan

February 7th, 2010
9:11 am

Hey, C’mon Folks, lets keep things in perspective…….they’re just football players, not heroes. They’re paying for their education playing “football”. You don’t see any calls for a Georgia Tech Engineer being honored with a statue for designing a five mile long suspension bridge (which, I believe would require a little more “brain” power than playing “football”). C’mon, Dawgs, ascribe to something loftier…..woof, woof.

The Great Malenko

February 7th, 2010
9:15 am

It depends on your definition of what is great. Vince Dooley won one national championship riding the back of Hershel Walker so does that constitute great? Erk Russell was a great coach at Southern not UGA so does that warrent a statue? Larry Munson, Dan Magill, and the list goes on and on. If UGA really wants to be considered in the same league as Alabama or Florida then the only person who deserves a statue is Suzanne Youclan. She not only set the bar for gymnastics she was the bar.

WhatRgtbamafltutorseefansdoingonaUGAblog

February 7th, 2010
9:41 am

The hypocrisy of dogtards is stunning. Criticizing UGA for counting a concensus title when a majority of the systems for 1942 recognized on the NCAA’s own website voted UGA the MNC that year? That’s rich considering that GT counts 2 MNC’s from systems that didn’t even exist at the time supposed MNC’s were won. Now he can put all of his eggs in his little AP basket if he wants. But even modern historians acknowledge that the AP’s clout is somewhat diluted because of geographical representation of AP voters through the 1960’s. If you don’t believe that geography can make a difference in such things, then take a lot at the Hesiman voting TODAY.

For the Bama Tard criticizing Dooley, He’s only tied for 2nd in most SEC titles won with Vaught and Spurrier. If our conference is worth celebrating as a great conference, that stat can’t be discounted. Bama was probably lucky that they got to bypass UGA during the Herschel years because UGA wasn’t losing to teams like Mississippi St. back in those days like Bama was. And before people get carried away with “riding Herschel’s back,” you might want to think back to how good those defenses were, which was why UGA continued to be great in 1983 – after Herschel left.

Furthermore, UGA is a university first and foremost. I don’t think anyone should follow Bama’s example of erecting a statue to a man that’s been under their employ for all of THREE years. It’s shameful and disrespectful to the people who have worked for that university in a meaningful way for decades.

I don’t believe that players should be honored with statues, unless its a group of unnamed players that represent all players. It’s a team sport. And Herschel would be the first to tell you that we won just as much because of the OL and the defense as we did because of him.

Gen Neyland

February 7th, 2010
9:43 am

Buckhead Bulldog : Congrats to the Dawgs on their win over Vanderbilt. UGA has shown an ability to get sky high at home for the ‘big ones’. That will look good to the NIT unless they pull out the SEC Tourney, which comes in as all things are possible. Beat the Vandy’s, Kentucky’s and Tennessee’s on the road. Don’t lose to the Mississippi’s, Wofford’s and Arkansas’ at home and the corner will be turned. Until then, enjoy knocking off the Bigger Boys at your House on occassion. We all know that’s a good feeling for a few days…GBO

WhatRgtbamafltutorseefansdoingonaUGAblog

February 7th, 2010
9:46 am

Well Neyland, good luck in the NCAA tournament. Will this be the year that the great TN basketball program finally progresses beyond a sweet 16?

Gen Neyland

February 7th, 2010
9:53 am

WhatRgtbamafltuto : Probably not, but like I said, anything is possible. One thing is nearly a sure thing though : Tennessee will get one of the 65 invites…Hint: Use the drop down option to get your moniker in the proper space. Hard to read your first few words.

dawginflorida

February 7th, 2010
10:08 am

lets put a big pic up of uga players running on field in jax after td…..against gators….what a great
moment in engineering mr tech fan ………….or johnson catch against the cow college…..it is about
football people not a damn bridge…DAWG FOOTBALL MAN….WE NEED TO GET FIRED UP

Floundering Fox Hounds Batman!

February 7th, 2010
10:32 am

hey buckhead dog…… dude dont get too excited it was Vandy…..Reminds me of a UGA team jumping up and down on a Vandy logo a couple of years ago.

The Dogfather

February 7th, 2010
10:41 am

First all american and captain of the 1913 football team–McWhorter.

DawgCrazy

February 7th, 2010
10:49 am

Meat Cleaver Weaver—he’s the man!

Williams

February 7th, 2010
10:50 am

Herschel is the only clear choice. We could have multiple statues too, one statue for each personality.

thomas

February 7th, 2010
11:00 am

herschel left early to be a star in the USFL then a bench warmer in Dallas behind Tony Dorsett

I know

February 7th, 2010
11:02 am

Gomer Pyle, the Shakespeare of UGA fans.

DirtyDawg

February 7th, 2010
11:03 am

Hey Bill, since the AJC doesn’t feel it necessary, or even purposeful, to post a piece on Georgia basketball that invites reader comments, how’s about you gettin’ off football for a while? At least after every Georgia game so that those of us that are paying attention have an outlet for our ’sage advice’?

I realize that you don’t seem to know much about BBall, but then you don’t really know all that much about football either, but it seems to work for you. Find somebody you know that is paying attention – and has a bit of knowledge, or thinks he/she does – and let ‘em ‘ghost it’ for you. Just give us a regular, and timely, outlet for talking about what appears to be the beginning of something special – Mark Fox and his charges. And by the way, I couldn’t help but notice that whoever at the AJC that wrote the piece about Georgia’s loss to Arkansas the other night just ‘had’ to mention that the seats at Stegeman weren’t full – and that must have had something to do with our not holding the lead and winning the game. Well, the seats weren’t full last night either but the writer didn’t include an observation that we, indeed, did hold the lead and added to it.

Come on Bill, you might not have much to say personally about the basketball team, but all you need to do is bring up the subject, make a couple of casual observations and we’ll – along with those that hate our butts – do the rest.

Water Works Statue

February 7th, 2010
11:04 am

How about a bronze statue of the typical UGA fan relieving himself from the upper deck onto the new Reed Alley plaza.

rob

February 7th, 2010
11:16 am

Ray Golf for his coaching career seems appropriate.

sansho1

February 7th, 2010
11:18 am

I’m with DirtyDawg on this one. The b-ball team just waxed a ranked opponent, and the ajc and its bloggers have not seen fit to provide a forum dedicated to discussion/celebration.

Scott "Big Poppa Pump" Steiner

February 7th, 2010
12:04 pm

How about the make 12 statues… one for each of Herschel’s personalities.

Buckhead Bulldog

February 7th, 2010
12:07 pm

Floundering Fox Hounds Batman! : Hey! Another Top 20 shake down…I like it for the new coach. Vandy was ranked 19, GT was ranked what when we POUNDED them? Hey, at least you have a shot in baseball this year.

Yeah, the jumping on the V was pretty classless, I agree. Almost as bad as what Tech did to our hedges in ‘08, eh?

Hey Dogtards

February 7th, 2010
12:30 pm

To WhatRgtbamafltutorseefans

Hypocrisy? My only statement was that UGA’s 1942 championship was not a “consensus” national championship. That’s a fact, as I supported on the first page with a link to the NCAA website. You fault me for “criticizing” uga for counting a consensus (note spelling) championship because “a majority of the systems for 1942 recognized on the NCAA’s own website voted UGA the MNC that year.”

As I’ve already explained, not a single poll voted uga #1 that year. They are math systems, not unlike (and even including) the Sagarin Ratings. Your argument presupposes that I am criticizing uga for counting a national title in 1942 – I am not. Like I said, I readily admit that 8 math systems crunched some numbers and came up w uga as #1. I’m not sure, though, how I’m being a hypocrite by criticizing uga for claiming something that didn’t (and indeed couldn’t) happen. I’ve never claimed GT won consensus championships when it didn’t. I don’t think GT has either, although I could be wrong on that.

I have no idea about your GT argument. Maybe if you were more specific (and actually used facts) I could try to figure out what you are talking about.

Doing what uga did is like calling sparkling wine from California “champagne,” or cheese made in Iowa “Wisconsin Cheddar.” It may still be bubbly, and it may still be cheese, but it’s not what you says it is. There is nothing “consensus” about uga’s national championship in 1942, as supported by the NCAA itself. If delusional uga fans (and the school itself) want to claim its a “consensus” championship, I can’t stop them. Just cause they claim it doesn’t make it true though.

Last, your AP argument is laughable too. Sure, the AP is criticized for bias like tons of other things. But how does that bias mean they favor Ohio St. over uga? Are you saying there were more AP members in Ohio in 1942 than in Georgia? The criticisms about the AP are that it favors the northeast, not Ohio.

Gen Neyland

February 7th, 2010
12:38 pm

sansho1 : Blue moons happen too and the ajc doesn’t provide special forums for them either. It was a good win against Vandy, take nothing away from that but until some form of consistency develops, it’s only a big deal for a minute.

sec fan

February 7th, 2010
12:42 pm

There has never been one

sec fan

February 7th, 2010
12:45 pm

no fab history there. one fab player HW and thats it. sooooooo nobody

AltamahaDawg

February 7th, 2010
1:44 pm

How about a statue of a big #39? Folks could stand around and watch it turn gold in the middle of the night.

Buckhead Bulldog

February 7th, 2010
1:47 pm

Gen Neyland: It is fun to watch this new coach take these guys to victory against some strong opponents. GT, UT, and now Vandy. We all know it is one win, but it gives hope that Fox can do something here over the next few years. Kind of like Durham did in the early 80s….Vern Cole & the F4, Nique, etc.. Time will tell if UGA can get the attention of some of the awesome ATL recruits that fly outta here to other states.

Pope UGA XXIII

February 7th, 2010
1:56 pm

CTEW Guy

February 7th, 2010
2:12 pm

Mr. MMA himself and Munson, those are all that are worthy, everyone else hasn’t done enough in my eyes.

Hey Dogtards

February 7th, 2010
2:28 pm

Why would a Georgia basketball player go to uga? No offense, but the program is one of the worst in the SEC (exception of maybe Auburn). Athens is lovely, but there are plenty of other good college towns. The bball program has no fan support, possibly the worst stadium in existence, and little to no history.

If I was a blue chip Atlanta player, I’d want to see a new 10-15,000 seat arena and a new basketball specific practice facility before I even put uga on my list of schools to look at. No reason to be ignored playing basketball at a football only school.

Gen Neyland

February 7th, 2010
2:45 pm

AltDawg : LOL. Gotta wonder, who could we commission to do the sculpting..? Stevie Wonder comes to mind as #39 only comes out at night…

Buckhead Bulldog

February 7th, 2010
2:49 pm

Hey Dogtards

February 7th, 2010
2:28 pm

I agree with you 100%. That is why Adams needs to implode the Stege, and build a new BBall arena that was not originally built as a multi use BBall, Gym, and cow show coliseum for the 4H.

Do the above…get some wins…fans will show up….players will show up.

Durham proved we COULD get good players and crowds, and I hope Fox can make that happen in the future.