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

Remarkable

February 7th, 2010
3:05 pm

On a Basketball note, Dominique Wilkins deserves a statue and a NEW stadium, not a refurbished one.

AltamahaDawg

February 7th, 2010
3:19 pm

Gen, not sure of the artist, but I know Bristol-Meyers Sqibb would be the proud donor to such a worthy project.

Da Dawg Pound

February 7th, 2010
3:27 pm

Is there any particular reason why everybody has to follow the Bammer’s lead on everything? First they start a dangerous trend by paying Saban at the 4 million dollar mark and now we have a coach’s salary arms race that is not good for college football. Then they pack the house for the spring game and now everyone else thinks you have to have 100k at a freaking spring game to impress the recruits and everyone else. And now the thing with their stadium expansion and their statues.

Let them do what they do and lets do what we do. No need for statues. The bammers have them because they have 5 different coaches who’ve won national titles. We have 2 that have won national titles and it seems to weak or too few to have statues of just 2 men relative to them.

And if we put in statues of Herschel(greatest college player ever) and Sinkwich then it just seems like we’re putting in a hodgepodge of different players and coaches to keep up with the Joneses or in this case the Bammers.

Its a bad idea for the gators to do the same. Heck everyone has great college players and Heismans that they can put statues up of. But the Heisman is just a individual award and nothing more than a popularity contest and most people realize that. Why would a Heisman be any more important than an Outland trophy? Its an individual award and to me championships are far more important than one individual award to one player.

I hate to say it but we will not have all the coaches or national titles that the Bammers have anytime soon(8-9 legit titles not 13) so there is no reason to try to keep up with someone we can’t keep up with. It would just make us look foolish when people do the obvious comparisons. Lets just get back to winning and forget about statues and such.

AltamahaDawg

February 7th, 2010
3:28 pm

As far as the Steg, there is nothing wrong with it’s bones. Nobody gives a damn what it was originally used for. It’s not now. What they care about is the team record. I don’t think the TN fans care that they play in a general municipal auditorium, that Pearl actually blocked out seating when he got there to make it seem smaller. And they still use it for other events do they not? I dont think the UF fans care that they play in a giant blow up tent built 30 yrs ago. Or that freak of a place that Vandy uses. I have often wondered what grand houses they are talking about when folks say steg isnt working out for us like GymXYZ is for Rival123.

Walla Walla

February 7th, 2010
3:36 pm

Denver Dog

February 7th, 2010
3:44 pm

I think that we should errect a statue to Lewis Grizzard. If there was ever a more loyal promoter of the UGA traditon, let him/her rise now. Dooley, Butts, et’ all. Build one to Lewis, and a lot of ground is covered.

ugajd

February 7th, 2010
3:45 pm

Ben Zambiasi

Ray Goof

February 7th, 2010
3:51 pm

How about a statue of me?????????????????

Denver Dog

February 7th, 2010
3:51 pm

Hey Gen Neyland, just hope that the NCAA doensn’t torture your football team too badly after the Kiff explosion of violations. I’m sure that the fact that they spent 2 weeks in Knoxville has nothing to do with his bailing, and 4 coaches turning down the job. There is a class guy there now, and he will guide you through the tough times. I just hope it doens’t mess up the TV schedules for those of us who love to watch the game from points afar

Denver Dog

February 7th, 2010
3:52 pm

Maybe a statue to all the Tech coaches since 1964. They have done alot for UGA football. I guess that would be about 9 statues though.

Buckhead Bulldog

February 7th, 2010
4:04 pm

AltamahaDawg: You know as well I that these BBall kids like the glitz and flash. Sure the Stege has good bones, I actually partied on top of it my freshman year…ha ha ha. My point is, in order to grab the elite kids out of ATL we are gonna need some improvement. Yes Ws and fan support that comes along with Ws help, but for Fox, who I think is the real deal,why not make his recruiting job that much easier. We souped up Foley Field, the Natatorium, the Tennis complex, Gymnastics etc, why not BBall?

superDawg

February 7th, 2010
4:04 pm

Lewis Grizzard he shut the nerds up with the stroke of a pin.

superDawg

February 7th, 2010
4:07 pm

and the gayturs,and the vols.

Hey Dogtards

February 7th, 2010
4:10 pm

Hey AltamahaDawg –

I’ve been to the Steg. I’ve been to all the other stadiums you named. I’ve probably been to around 50-60 college basketball stadiums total. The Steg stands out in my mind as the absolute worst. For example, Vandy’s seats 14k+ and underwent an extensive renovation less than 10 years ago.

Thompson-Boling opened in 1987 and even though its technically “multi-purpose,” its primary use is basketball. I agree with you that nobody cares for what purpose the venue is built. But its had 25k+ people there for men’s games. It also underwent a major renovation in 2007. The Stephen C. O’Connell seats 12k and cost 14 mil when it was built in 1980.

On the other hand, Stegeman was built in 64, and even then the layout wasn’t fitting for a basketball game. The only renovations that have been performed on it are removing rotting, 40 year old wooden seats in 2000 and replacing them with cheap plastic. Or adding ribbon lighting that was leftover from football stadium renovations. Either way, the stench of the place has never been fully washed out.

AltamahaDawg

February 7th, 2010
4:19 pm

Souped up, sure. They just approved that $ to do that. But somebody said tear it down and start over. Why? Who else is doing that? And what would you really end up with that is functionally, or flashily?, better?

We just built a state of the basketball complex, with as much glitz as anybody has. Spending millions on the Steg renovation is keeping up with the Jones plenty enough.

Sean "Syxx Pac" Waltman

February 7th, 2010
4:21 pm

the “bammers” are NATIONAL CHAMPIONS.

the “bulldawgs” are just another mediocre football program.

…Here ended the lesson.

DirtyDawg

February 7th, 2010
4:29 pm

Lay off Stegeman…if you didn’t notice they’ve just voted to spend a bunch to do further renovations and there’s no reason to think it won’t be just as nice as any you could name. Don’t hear any crap about Georgia’s top BBallers not wanting to go to Tech just because ‘The Big Tit’ is about 8-10 years older than Stegeman…yeah, they dug it down deeper some years back…added more seats (plastic as well)…splashed some more yaller paint on the whole thing and called it ‘finished’. It seats no more than ours and seems to me the place Duke plays in is a bit ‘dated’ and small as well.

It ain’t necessarily the place it’s the expectation that when you go to Georgia you’ll be better at BBall when you leave than when you came…that you’ll have won plenty of games…and that the fans will have appreciated what you did for the school and the program. Mark Fox will be able to do that. Now if we can just keep him.

As for asking for a ‘dedicated’ blog, I never suggested that, just that whatever is written provides us with a chance to ‘chime in’. Hell, the Tech section’s got three or more recent BBall posts to comment on. And if the AJC won’t do it, then Bill King needs to…

AltamahaDawg

February 7th, 2010
4:42 pm

It’s a shame they can’t finance renovations with blog hits from tech fans who live for the next UGA topic.

Billy Jack could fight

February 7th, 2010
4:55 pm

Walla Walla …you’re a funny guy…but hey Donnan never lost a bowl game as UGA’s coach…I was in Vegas several years ago when we beat Virginia like a drum on Christmas Eve..that was easy $$$…and Donnan sure darn sure could recruit…nice win last night by the basketball team…if we had won a couple of those close games we lost we’d have an outside shot to make the big dance….we’re 1 ball handler short…

Buckhead Bulldog

February 7th, 2010
5:04 pm

I will admit that I have not been to the Stege in a while. At least Fox is getting my interest up so I might travel the 60miles and check it out myself. I guess I was somewhat brash in saying to implode it, but I still can’t get that smell out of my nose from the cow and rodeo shows…ha ha.

Later fellas……….Super Bowl Time!

Sic’ ‘em Dogs

123456789

February 7th, 2010
5:18 pm

When teh UGA-AA Corporation settles with Decory Bryant
for $5,000,000+, Bryant will erect his OWN statue.

Alphare

February 7th, 2010
5:30 pm

Only rednecks put a statue in an educational institution for a sportsman.

Santa Cruz CA Dawg

February 7th, 2010
5:51 pm

Heisman Winners and Yoclan

GoDOGS

February 7th, 2010
6:00 pm

123456789: THAT was funny!

SoCal Dawg

February 7th, 2010
6:02 pm

I don’t want “flashy” Atlanta players who only have there eyes set on the NBA… one and gone. I want good kids that CMF can coach up.

Pitbull

February 7th, 2010
9:15 pm

That’s an easy question. Munson! He’s a legend!

HUNKER DOWN

February 7th, 2010
10:15 pm

I concurr with Mitch on Reggie ball. Has anyone checked to make certain he is not eligible still?

Definitely

February 7th, 2010
11:55 pm

should be Butts, which should be at his building, Herschel, Frank, Dominique, and especially Courtney and her old coach Suzanne because she built the gymnastics program and won 10 championships. All of these people are extremely well deserving.

Definitely

February 7th, 2010
11:56 pm

Oh yes, MUNSON!

Smittie

February 8th, 2010
6:22 am

All American Guard Pat Dye is my choice. He was the best Georgia lineman overall I ever saw. He was just over 200 pounds but tough as nails and ran like a deer. He then became a great coach at Auburn.

Hmmmm

February 8th, 2010
8:38 am

Eric "Easy E" Bischoff

February 8th, 2010
8:42 am

How about Terrell Davis? He had a decent career in the NFL.

Didn’t he backup Torin Kirtsey at UGAg?

Hmmmm

February 8th, 2010
8:42 am

Or maybe Munson. But you would have to have a button that would make the statue start drooling and babbling incoherently, while making nazi-like statements. That would be the most accurate statue ever

Jim Donnan

February 8th, 2010
9:43 am

Quincy Carter. With a handful of dollar bills and baggies of his favorite “stuff”….

DawgsForever

February 8th, 2010
10:03 am

No Doubt the greatest coach we have ever had at the school needs her own statue as befitting a coach with so many national titles. How many have we won in gymnastics since she arrived.

"Hollywood" Hulk Hogan

February 8th, 2010
10:03 am

How about a statue of that gangsta endzone dance they did during the Florida game a few years ago? That pretty much sums up UGAg’s football program.

Evansdawg

February 8th, 2010
10:19 am

There should be a bronze statue of Larry Munson, permanently in the press box as if still sitting in his chair. That way, people could see Larry sitting there for generations. Sure, it would sacrifice a seat, but he deserves it.

HoooHaaa

February 8th, 2010
10:24 am

One statue for every UGA athlete who got in trouble with the law. Could fill up nearly every seat in Sanford.

hi there

February 8th, 2010
10:32 am

“Which UGA athletic heroes are worthy of statues?”

None, because UGA fans aren’t ignorant mullet headed rednecks like UAT fans.

Paul "The Giant" Wight

February 8th, 2010
10:51 am

A statue of the UGA fans faces during the GREAT BLACKOUT GAME OF 2008. I’ll never forgot that night.

Snoop Dawg

February 8th, 2010
12:24 pm

Common AJC, you can do better than this lame article. Must be pretty boring this time of year.
The Dawgs need to worry about winning games, not who might rate a statue someday.
Only Dawg I know worthy of a statue is Herschel Walker!

Dawg Fud

February 8th, 2010
12:33 pm

Diamond Dog's Parole Officer

February 8th, 2010
12:54 pm

dostadawg

February 8th, 2010
1:07 pm

Munson and Walker!! no question!

Reggie Bush

February 8th, 2010
1:23 pm

How bout a bronze statue……
of Herschel standng next to his brand new TransAm….that suddenly
appeared…after he signed his LOI to ugag ??

timthebrave

February 8th, 2010
2:14 pm

Arguing about national championships in college football is like arguing who is better between the easter bunny and santa claus…Just a matter of opinion. And before you scream out that’s easy “santa”; make sure you are asking Jewish kids and people old enough to know that both aren’t real. As far as statues munson, walker and one of both david’s(green and pollack)….I’m not old enough to comment on the other guys

Dawghater

February 8th, 2010
2:31 pm

Jan Kemp should get one right outside of Sanford Stadium!

Dawghater

February 8th, 2010
2:34 pm

And some statues of the faces of the UGA fans duing that Alabama game in 2008. Those faces were priceless!

And pick any Florida game. Same faces every year!

Judge Mort

February 8th, 2010
2:40 pm

I think all UGA urinals (stadia, classroom, administration, dorms, library, etc. buildings) should have an etching of Bill King.

Karma

February 8th, 2010
2:41 pm

Dude, even grownups love Santa.