GQ magazine has released its list of the 25 Coolest Athletes of All Time, honoring icons who in addition to their sporting achievements also possessed a certain grace, style or swagger that made them fan favorites.
The list, included in the February issue of GQ, which has nine different covers, includes such names as Muhammad Ali, “Pistol” Pete Maravich, Joe Namath, Arnold Palmer, Pele and Ted Turner (as a yachtsman).
This got me to thinking about who would qualify for a list of the coolest Georgia Bulldogs of all time. Here are 15 names I came up with, listed alphabetically:
Champ Bailey. A virtual iron man for the Dogs, playing on offense, defense and special teams and winning the Bronko Nagurski Trophy as the nation’s top defensive player after his junior year at UGA. He’s gone on to be a top NFL defensive player for Washington and Denver.
Teresa Edwards. In addition to starring for the Lady Dogs, she played basketball for the U.S. in an unprecedented four Olympics.
Bill Goldberg. Followed his football days at UGA and in the NFL by becoming practically a household name in pro wrestling.
Terry Hoage. A two-time consensus All-America defensive back who Vince Dooley said was the best defensive player he’d ever coached, but he also graduated from UGA with a 3.86 GPA in genetics. After a pro football career, now has his own vineyard.
John Isner. UGA’s all-time leader in singles and doubles victories, this tennis star earned All-American honors each of his four years and led Georgia to the 2007 NCAA championship. And after outlasting Nicolas Mahut last summer at Wimbledon in the longest ever professional tennis match, he sat down for media interviews wearing a vintage UGA T-shirt. Very cool.
Courtney Kupets. Winner of two Olympic medals and just about every individual collegiate gymnastics honor around during the Gym Dogs’ run of consecutive NCAA titles. Ended up being named the nation’s top female college athlete.
Dan Magill. Established UGA as a tennis powerhouse and made Athens the center of the collegiate tennis universe. And he’s still playing tennis. But the longtime coach also is pretty much the living embodiment of Bulldog spirit and is celebrating his 90th birthday this week. Check out Loran Smith’s tribute to one of UGA’s best.
Johnny Rauch. Starred as a quarterback for UGA and then went on to coach the Oakland Raiders to the Super Bowl. He’s credited by Bill Walsh with having invented the West Coast offense.
Jake Scott. The UGA All-American defensive back went on to be a four-time All-Pro for the Miami Dolphins during their heyday. Also known as one of the wildest Dogs players ever and the guy who rode a motorcycle over Stegeman Coliseum.
Matt Stinchcomb. Named to UGA’s Circle of Honor, the brainy former offensive lineman is one of the school’s best representatives as founder of the annual Countdown to Kickoff charity event, along with brother Jon and former UGA quarterback David Greene.
Richard Tardits. The French rugby player knew practically nothing about football when he joined the Dogs and ended up setting a school record for QB sacks, eventually broken by David Pollack.
Charley Trippi. Starred in both football and baseball at UGA and inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Athens resident is known as a classy gentleman.
Herschel Walker. Hey, when you’re known nationally just by your first name, you’ve got to be cool!
Hines Ward. A Mr. Everything on offense for the Dogs and one of the gutsiest players I’ve ever seen. He’s gone on to a long NFL career, was voted Super Bowl MVP and is back in the Super Bowl again.
Dominique Wilkins. Known in the NBA for his spectacular slam dunks, he’s the only basketball Bulldog to have his jersey retired.
Who else belongs on a list of the coolest Bulldogs ever?
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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg