Marking Father’s Day the Bulldog way

Fran Tarkenton was the hero of the 1959 win over Auburn. But my Dad did his part. ... (University of Georgia)

Fran Tarkenton was the hero of the 1959 win over Auburn. But my Dad did his part. ... (University of Georgia)

My first really indelible UGA football memory involves my Dad, which is not really surprising since he’s the one responsible for me growing up devoted to the red and black.

It was Nov. 14, 1959, and I was 7 years old. The Georgia Bulldogs were playing the Auburn Tigers at Sanford Stadium, and for some reason lost to the passage of time Dad wasn’t at the game. Instead, he was sitting in our living room on Hope Avenue in Athens listening  anxiously to the voice of the Dogs, Ed Thilenius, describe the action. I remember he was nervously eating

Time was running out for Wally Butts’ boys, who were trailing 13-7, when Georgia guard Pat Dye, the future Auburn coach and athletics director, recovered a fumble by the Tigers quarterback. The Dogs had one more chance, and it came down to fourth-and-goal from the Auburn 13 with 30 seconds left.

In a play that we later learned he diagrammed in the dirt in the huddle, quarterback Fran Tarkenton rolled out to the right and then threw a touchdown pass to end Bill Herron in the left corner of the end zone.

Georgia won the game and the SEC championship. And when it was over Dad realized he had demolished almost an entire bag of oranges. Fittingly, Georgia ended up in the Orange Bowl.

Ever after, we always teased Dad that he pulled the Dogs through that game by eating all those oranges.

So many of my UGA memories involve my father, as I’m sure is the case with many of you. Last year, I shared a couple of those memories, one of which I’m trotting out again in honor of Father’s Day.

My Dad still enjoys watching the Dogs and wearing the school colors. (Photo by Bill King)

My Dad still enjoys watching the Dogs and wearing the school colors. (Photo by Bill King)

It involves one of the greatest UGA victories ever, the Oct. 31,1942, battle between Butts’ Bulldogs, who had an 11-game winning streak going, and Alabama, who’d won eight in a row. It was one of those “neutral” site games at Grant Field in Atlanta and the Crimson Tide led 10-0 with 10 minutes remaining, but the Dogs, featuring Frankie Sinkwich and Charley Trippi, came from behind to win 21-10, with Sinkwich throwing two TD passes and Andy Dudish intercepting a fumble in midair and running it back for another.

Georgia went on to win the Rose Bowl and a consensus national championship. After he retired many years later, Butts picked that game against Alabama as the greatest comeback by one of his teams and his greatest single day in football.

And my father was on the Georgia sideline.

Dad, who shortly would be going into the Army to serve overseas in World War II, had traveled to Atlanta with a friend for the game, but there was just one problem: They didn’t have tickets. They hung around outside the stadium, though, and one of the UGA coaches took pity on them and gave them sideline passes. “We’ll call you high school prospects,” he said. So for one game, at least, my father was a UGA “recruit”!

At age 87, Dad doesn’t go to the games any more, but he still watches them on TV, wears one of his several Georgia caps every day and has a UGA football calendar on the wall of his bedroom.

He’s been a Georgia Bulldog all his life. And, thanks to him, so have I.

Happy Father’s Day, Pop!

Please feel free to share your Dogs-related memories of your father. …

81 comments Add your comment

Right On Time

June 19th, 2010
11:22 am

What great memories that are shared by that “greatest” generation.

I have no paternal UGA memories as my family were all wayward in their leanings. I was raised
in a family of tech folks. Fortunately, I saw the light and have been red and black clad since high
school days. I admired my techie grandfather who designed a couple of buildings downtown,
including the Westinghouse buliding close to Buckhead, and think of him fondly on Fathers Day.

I do hope what I have started with my son sticks. I have shown him where mom and dad lived while
at UGA, have gone to games and taken a few roadtrips for our Dawgs. My hope is that he has fond
memories such as yours in years to come and continues to love the Dawgs like his dad.

Happy Fathers Day and Go Dawgs.


June 19th, 2010
11:24 am

brought tears to my eye’s thanks Bill. I too was raised by a die hard Georgia fan losing him was the hardest day of my life but every football season i get to relive my time with him whenever i hear a georgia game on radio or watch it on tv. One of my biggest thrills was after returning from the army in august of 1980 was getting to go to athens to watch the dogs with Herschel & hometown hero buck belue play in sanford stadium. every time i hear “glory glory” i am back beside my father once more Happy fathers day every dad


June 19th, 2010
11:35 am

Great article! I vividly remember UGA vs Auburn in 1982. We had just returned from my aunt’s funeral and my dad still had on is suit. He was pacing back and forth in the front yard listening to Larry Munson call the action. As Auburn drove down the field to possibly go ahead and steal away the Sugar Bowl from the Dawgs, my dad would reach up and yank down limbs from a huge oak tree. When Jeff Sanchez broke up Randy Campbell’s final attempt in the end zone, my dad jumped as high as he was able in the air letting out a piercing yell. I always think of that day when I see replays of that 19-14 UGA win!


June 19th, 2010
11:38 am

Great memories. Mine are filled with daddy and UGA memories as well. The freshman game on Thanksgivng. If not going to game, listening on the radio or watching on television. He then started on the grandkids all 5 he would take to the games starting at age 3. Best memories ever. To this day – hunker down – will always be yelled on Father’s Day and red and black flowers on the grave of my beloved Bulldog daddy. However, I did marry a Tech man and the conversations between the two of them are forever in my memory. Miss my dad but thanks for bringing back the memories


June 19th, 2010
11:43 am

What a sweet article Bill!! My dad started taking me to GA games when I was 5 years old, now that I am married we don’t live very close to my parents, that is why I look forward to football season so much, I love seeing the Dawgs play but I also get to spend Saturdays with my Dad. Happy Father’s Day to every bulldad out there!!


June 19th, 2010
11:48 am

My Father took my to a Georgia-GT game as a young boy and said ‘Son, you will have to pick one to root for. Mind you he is an engineer but I naturally picked my beloved Dawgs and he said “congratulations son you made the right choice.” So here’s to my Father who gave me a choice in life and backed my choice all the way. Happy Father’s Day to all the Fathers no matter who you root for.


June 19th, 2010
12:00 pm

Great memories Bill. Please pass along a “Happy Father’s Day” greeting to your Dad from the “Junkyard Blawg” readers, and we wish you the same!


June 19th, 2010
12:14 pm

My dad took me to my first college game. It was the Orange Bowl to see the Dawgs & to see QB Johnny Rauch. I have been a Dawg Fan ever since. I was in the stands at the 1959 Ga./Auburn game. Then Another trip to the Orange Bowl.


June 19th, 2010
12:21 pm

Great stories, Bill.

Thanks for sharing, and God bless your Bulldog loving Dad.

Go you Hairy Dawgs!

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Amsterdam Sam

June 19th, 2010
12:57 pm

Great stories, Bill. Your sports columnsare a lifesaver to this UGA alum living across the big pond! Keep up the great work! Oh, and if any jerk comes on with vindictive, insane spiel after reading this – ban them for life.

Amsterdam Sam

June 19th, 2010
12:58 pm

missed the n – just a typo.

Ted Striker

June 19th, 2010
1:02 pm

Nice story, Bill. Thanks for sharing.


June 19th, 2010
1:32 pm

Super stories. I grew up in Athens and I remember going to cold games as a youngster. When in my early years, because he started me young, he would put me under his overcoat and “sneak” me into the games. Of course, I am sure no ticket taker ever say those little legs under that coat!
As I grew older and attended UGA, married and settled in Athens, I would still attend games with my dad. He was a Dawg through and through. As a season ticket holder starting in the sixties, my son and daughter grew up at most games through the years, and both have degrees from UGA. I don’t know how long the tradition will continue, but I hope forever.
My dad is no longer with us, so enjoy every minute Bill and those of you who are lucky enough to still have them with you. Happy Father’s Day to all, even you Tech fans.

I DON'T care

June 19th, 2010
1:43 pm

why is it EVERY time I check the news, there’s some stupid UGA reference? Does the AJC not know not everybody loves that bunch of losers? Talk about the Falcons, Braves, Tech, NOT Georgia. It’s why I think our state shows its redneckisms…..grr!


June 19th, 2010
1:49 pm

Mutually Exclusive – Class and a Dawg Fan.

A mind is a terrible thing to waste!


June 19th, 2010
2:09 pm

My Dad is an avid Bulldawg. We watched the Notre Dame national championship game on TV at our home. If something good happened during the game, he would jump up on Mama’s coffee table and ride it like a surf board. She would roll her eyes. There was no point in trying to stop him. When the Dawgs won, in a fit of pure joy, he stomped the coffee table into a million pieces. Mama got a new coffee table out of that game.

bruce mac

June 19th, 2010
2:11 pm

1965 versus Alabama, the flea flicker game was my first with my Dad.Growing up in Atlanta I had been to Tech games and I remember wondering why the field was so far from the stands. When the Dawgs scored late it was so loud, I had never heard anything like it. Dads provide the best memories no doubt.

Amsterdam Sam

June 19th, 2010
2:12 pm

I DON’T care about mindless Dawghaters spewing inane, insane drivel never relating to any topic on point It must be miserable being filled with such vitriol that you cannot see this column was no place for such, but you haven’t the character or intelligence to change, so I pity you.


June 19th, 2010
2:54 pm

My dad was a UGA graduate in the late 50’s and lettered in tennis there. As far back as I can remember, we would head up US1 to Athens at least once a year to enjoy some Varsity dogs and a game between the hedges. I owe my rabid loyalty to him and for that I am eternally grateful. He has been gone for 11 years now but I’ll always treasure the times spent together talking Georgia football. Happy Father’s Day dad. Go Dogs!


June 19th, 2010
3:04 pm

LOL @ I DON’T care. If its possible to humiliate yourself on an anonymous internet message board this clown has surely done it. Hilarious.


June 19th, 2010
3:35 pm

Great story. Family tradition/memories are what makes college football so great. Especially in the South. First gator game was with dad back in the 80s when some running back named smith was playing for the mighty gators. Unfortunately it was a home loss to bama, but so much fun. Florida had astro turn back then, too. yuck.

ca dawg

June 19th, 2010
3:49 pm

nice story, bill. to it, let me add that one of my first conscious memories is watching UGA win our last national championship. and yeah, i’m 32. let’s go and get another one!


June 19th, 2010
4:22 pm

I DON’T CARE- Your an idiot! This article is about DAD you dumb***. Give it a rest and enjoy a nice article.

I DON'T care

June 19th, 2010
5:04 pm

then why don’t I see stories about Falcon, TEch, Braves….it’s ALWAYS GEORGIA….like the TEch fight song….TO HELL WITH GEORGIA. Call me stupid if you wish, but that’s my point

Buckhead Bulldog

June 19th, 2010
5:22 pm

I DON’t care- I’ll call you ’stupid’ for coming to the UGA page, double clicking a UGA fan blog, and expecting to see stories about the Falcon, Tech, and Braves. Hello?

Good story Bill! My best memories with my Dad involve the time around T-Giving and going to The V, then to the Baby Jackets and Bullpups games at Grant Field, and topping it off after the game, hitting the Pink Pig.

My Dad went to GT for undergrad and grad school, but he still tells my sister and me that we made the right choice in going to UGA!

GT Dog

June 19th, 2010
5:22 pm

I DON’T care? Why read the article, THEN take the tie t write about it if you don’t care?

Too easy…

GT Dog

June 19th, 2010
5:23 pm

Whoa THEN take the time to write about it


June 19th, 2010
6:03 pm

I DON’T care..Did you know that this website has different pages for the sports teams in Georgia. When you click on sports it shows them, and then you can choose what team you want to read about. You are on the UGA part of this site, so there wouldnt be anything related to the oter teams, unless is UGA and GT

Alaska Dawg

June 19th, 2010
6:05 pm

I don’t care needs to get a life. Go find another blog to pollute. Great article Bill. It is special men like your Dad and many others that make the Bulldawg nation so strong. God Bless you both. Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there.

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Bill King

June 19th, 2010
7:06 pm

I Don’t Care:

If you go to a blog called the Junkyard Blawg, you can expect to read about UGA. Not Tech. Not the Braves. Not the Falcons. We do have blogs for those teams, but this isn’t it.

Charlotte Dawg

June 19th, 2010
7:14 pm

My Dad was never a huge Dawgs fan, but when I went to UGA, he became one by default.
He was sick and battling cancer in October of 2007. It was the day before the UGA/UF game and from his hospital bed he asked “who are we playing this weekend?” When I told him Florida, he said “go orange and blue”, with a smile. (He always liked to tease). After the Dawgs beat Florida 42-30 I told him that from now on, he must always pull for whoever the Dawgs are playing. He died two days after that win, but it makes me smile knowing that every time the Dawgs line up, Dad is up there pulling for the opponent.

Bill, thanks for the great article and Happy Fathers Day to all!


June 19th, 2010
7:17 pm

I DON’T CARE you’re an I D I O T.

I guess you’re not a father. Or, your lack of appreciation for this wonderful article and what it does mean to folks like me whose father was actually involved in my life (as a quarterback, as a pitcher/shortstop (later NY Yankess mind you), and a 2 guard in high school. He was a successful accountant (UGA B School mind you); started two companies; was a double amputee (lost a leg and arm (his writing arm mind you) in his twenties. Today, my dad is retired and is the proud grandfather of 4 grandchildren and he devotes his time to Christ, goodwill, and humanity. Heck, he walks 10 miles per week despite his physical limitation. My dad took me to my first UGA game when I was 2 years old…and I’ve been a loyal ever since. Not because it’s UGA but because my father loved UGA. If it was good enough for him then it was good enough for me.

I pity you because you can’t relate to what I’ve experienced. So I guess you don’t know what tradition is b/c the other teams you refer to in Atlanta have no tradition despite competing in the city for 44 years or more. I will give the Braves credit though b/c there building a generation of fans that have seen them win and it’s hoped that their kids (e.g., like my boys) will grow in that tradition.

In closing, show some respect for fatherhood, the real Red and Black (not the birds in the ATL), and the proud sons who love their fathers.

Billy O

June 19th, 2010
8:27 pm

Bill…..great story…..that was my very 1st UGA game in 1959 and I’ve been a dawg fan since then. My father passed away in 1984 but tomorrow I’ll visit his grave site and remember the good times and what a great man he was.


June 19th, 2010
9:47 pm

I don’t care… are now the laughing stock of the blog world.

Bill, great memories, thanks!


June 19th, 2010
10:14 pm

The likes of Mr. King are the foundation of the Dawgs legacy. Without the likes of these Pioneers Geirgia football would not be the same as we know it. As a younster my oldest son was a UT fan. Fortunately he left the dark side of the force and became a Dawg fan. I remember vividily taking my son to his first ever Dawg game. I found tickets and we went to a evening game. The Auburn blackout game to be precise. Needless to say he is a huge Dawg fan today and roots for the red and black. Of all the games possible I could not have ever choosen a better one than the blackout for him to witness as his first. I remember they played soldier boy over the pa system. The house was rocking. What a memorable time to spend with your child. Go Dawgs!

Gen Neyland

June 19th, 2010
10:53 pm

The fondest memory of my Dad and football are many but the first one I’ll never forget. I recall after a certain game I played, he was the first one on the field to shake my hand. That was in the 60’s and I’ll never forget his smiling face…To all, no matter your colors, Happy Father’s Day.

old gold engineer

June 19th, 2010
11:25 pm

Bill, as a college football fan, I enjoy reading your columns. I must admit, however, that the headline about “marking…the Bulldog way” cracked me up, and made me wonder what this column might discuss.

col fot

June 19th, 2010
11:27 pm

i don’t care…we don’t care…for you!!!

Amsterdam Sam

June 19th, 2010
11:39 pm

Whoa – I don’t care has a red hiney from the spanking any spoiled, obnoxious brat deserves. Bet we will not hear from him for a while. Well…. maybe not. Comprehention is beyond the scope of some.


June 19th, 2010
11:44 pm

Great column.

I am a Bulldog alum and fan. Tomorrow is a tough day for me because my son, a Marine, was KIA in Iraq, and I miss the hell out of him.

He was a good Marine.


June 19th, 2010
11:48 pm

Ok I don’t care we will take you up on your offer. You are stupid. Stupid enough to read a uga blog and not expect it to be about uga.

ameliaisland mike

June 20th, 2010
6:33 am

I Dont Care—-You need Help. The Rest of you…. My Dad Graduated from Ga Tech. After hearing me give the Bios on every player in the game several years ago that we won 55 to 7 he wont watch another game with me. But he still respects the fact that all three of his kids went to Ga and he pulls for the home state in SEC games. Thanks for the thoughts about your dads… I DO care….


June 20th, 2010
6:53 am

My dad took me to see Bama and Vandy play in 73 in Nashville and got to see Bear Bryant coach for the only time, but I would not trade that day for any thing in the world. Happy Fathers Day to all the dads including my dad who passed away in 01!! RTR

One, two, free, fo, fi, dem der Gator don't take no jive!

June 20th, 2010
8:41 am

Nice story, Bill. My fondest childhood memories are of fishing and going to the Gator games with my dad. Started taking me when I was 4 years old. Great memories!

Happy Father’s Day to all.


June 20th, 2010
9:10 am

This stupid leghumper story just ruined Fathers Day for me and all non-idiots in this town.

Oh Henry!

June 20th, 2010
9:23 am

But you, Henry, ARE the #1 I D I O T. You just don’t know it because we snicker at you behind your back, moron! We are very, very happy that we could ruin YOUR day! Mission accomplished! Just becasue your father did not give you the love you thought you deserved while growing up, did mean had to turn out to be a mama’s boy!


June 20th, 2010
9:25 am

Bill, Nice story. My dad took me to my first GT game in 1966 and I became hooked. He’s 93 now and still around. He was a HS football star who decided not to play college ball, but always enjoyed watching the games. His ended up with kids that were diehard fans of either Tech or Uga and has always been a fan of both schools. I think his experiences in WW2 probably kept his passion for a sport in check. If you think about it, that generation was very cordial to each others fans for the most part. I think they had all seen enough hatred in WW2 and put football games in perpective.