UGA fans revere Hines Ward as the Bulldog who never quit

Hines Ward closed out his UGA career in style. (Associated Press)

Hines Ward closed out his UGA career in style. (Associated Press)

If you want to find agreement among UGA fans, bring up the name of Hines Ward.

Currently competing on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars,” Ward is known by the rest of the country for his long career as one of the NFL’s best wide receivers and a Super Bowl MVP for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

But for Georgia fans he’ll forever be the quintessential Bulldog, a guy who just wanted to get into the game and was willing to play any position to do so.

Recruited as a quarterback, Ward ended up playing running back and receiver as a freshman, then was thrown into the breach by Ray Goff as a sophomore after Mike Bobo was injured, starting at quarterback against Alabama even though he hadn’t practiced with the QBs since the previous year. The results weren’t pretty that first go-round, but when another QB injury necessitated Ward going back behind center later in the season, a legend was born.

Those who saw Ward’s valiant effort against Auburn on a freezing night in Athens will never forget the sight of him doubling over with pain from an injured wrist between plays as he almost pulled off an upset of the Tigers. He did lead the Dogs over Tech and then in the Peach Bowl set school bowl records for pass attempts, completions and yards in a losing effort against Virginia as he threw for 413 yards.

With the arrival of Jim Donnan the next year, Ward moved permanently to wide receiver for his last two seasons, though he frequently lined up in the backfield, too. Typical of his versatility was the win over Florida in 1997 when Ward had seven receptions for 85 yards, ran five times for 21 yards, completed two passes for 27 yards and returned two kickoffs for 70 yards.

All-SEC first team his senior year, Ward racked up 3,870 all-purpose yards, second only to Herschel Walker. Not coincidentally, Ward and Walker are the two Georgia players who’ve been immortalized wearing their UGA uniforms in sports action figures.

Hines Ward has his own UGA action figure. (McFarlane Toys)

Hines Ward has his own UGA action figure. (McFarlane Toys)

I asked a few other fans for their favorite Bulldog memories of Ward and besides the tremendous effort against Auburn the highlights that came up most often were the crazy head-over-heels leap into the end zone on a reverse to secure a 2-point conversion against Texas Tech in 1996; that 1997 Florida game, where he was constantly scrapping with the cornerback, giving as good as he got; and the 1998 win over Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl, with Bobo and Ward playing pass-and-catch for a dozen receptions, another school bowl record. There’s a photo of Ward in that game hanging on the wall in my son’s old room, looking sharp in those black britches and with that wide, infectious grin that ABC viewers are getting to know.

Overall, though, it was Ward’s never-say-die attitude that left the most lasting impression on UGA fans. As my friend Johnny put it, “This kid just wanted to play. Hines never quit.”

Like I said, my favorite memory of Ward is that cold night in Athens when he was really hurting and yet still battled on.

What’s your favorite UGA Hines Ward moment?

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

111 comments Add your comment

Newman

March 24th, 2011
11:10 am

Getting arrested at a home basketball game his senior year…

Just saying

March 24th, 2011
11:11 am

Still plays with a lot of heart.

DJ

March 24th, 2011
11:12 am

Paul H

March 24th, 2011
11:18 am

All heart. Too bad he has to catch passes from the world’s biggest D-bag Roethlisberger now…

Bryan G.

March 24th, 2011
11:21 am

The 1995 game against Auburn was as cold as I’ve been at a game. Ward also seemed to do it all in regulation of the 1996 upset against Auburn. I remember an Auburn fan asking me “Am I the only one who notices you guys give it to Ward every play?”

devildawg

March 24th, 2011
11:23 am

Newman, prove your not a tool, name a time and place and lets meet up. Id like to pull your heart right out of your chest while you watch.

devildawg

March 24th, 2011
11:23 am

hahahahahahahahahahaha, chicken.

DawginLex

March 24th, 2011
11:27 am

i remember the Peach Bowl game. Ward brought us back and then, during the kickoff while the ball was in the air, the PA announcer says:

“Bowl officials have decided that if the game ends in a tie in regulation, we WILL play overtime.”

7 seconds later, the Virginia KO returner was celebrating a 100 yard TD return.

Poor Ray Goff

Ol' Dawg

March 24th, 2011
11:29 am

Never see him that he doesn’t have a smile on his face. He has proved his worth in the pros, is a symbol of a tough player that gets the job done, and has been a real asset to his teammates.

I would enjoy seeing him get the recognition from UGA for being such a terrific athlete and an enduring player, willing to do whatever he could to help.

I’m a fan of Hines and always appreciate that smile. GO DAWGS

Dumbo

March 24th, 2011
11:36 am

Think how great a college player he’d been if old Gomer hadn’t been his 1st HC…..

Jinxo1964

March 24th, 2011
11:37 am

The 1995 Florida game. We were getting killed, destroyed, annihilated. The wrist that hurt so bad in the Auburn game was already bothering him. But Hines never quit, kept trying to dent the scoreboard to the bitter end.

Spike

March 24th, 2011
11:51 am

When he went in and played QB against Alabama in 95, when we got beaten pretty badly. But he fought the good fight and is a DGD!

LawDawg

March 24th, 2011
11:56 am

I’ll second the 1998 Outback Bowl.

Newman

March 24th, 2011
12:01 pm

Devildawg, I would wear you out

rural dawg

March 24th, 2011
12:04 pm

can you imagine any of the current or recent players being willing to play hurt….that list would be short…or perhaps non-existent

nick

March 24th, 2011
12:06 pm

97 tech, first catch of the game breaks it to the house and when he reached the endzone the retarded tech fan flipping him off, sucks to be a nerd

daslicksta

March 24th, 2011
12:09 pm

1995 game was the coldest I have ever been at a football game….we stuck it out to the end, amazed at how Hines never gave up and how the ‘fans’ were carrying the treasured pieces of the old hedges out as fast as they could break them off. I also discovered that night that a fence was in amongst the hedges, and that the concession stands had a run on watery hot chocolate as fast as they could boil water!

NEWMAN IS MY

March 24th, 2011
12:10 pm

NEWMAN’S FAVORITE JACKET IS REGGIE BALL-WARD IS MY FAVORITE DAWG

NEWMAN IS MY

March 24th, 2011
12:11 pm

Enter your comments here

GeoffDawg

March 24th, 2011
12:12 pm

Newman, take your homoerotic innuendos over to the tech board where they’re more appreciated.

NEWMAN IS MY

March 24th, 2011
12:12 pm

NEWMAN SMELLS HIS FINGER

NEWMAN IS MY

March 24th, 2011
12:15 pm

NEWMAN LOOKS LIKE AN OLD SCHOOL SHONEY’S FAT BOY

Tville Dawg

March 24th, 2011
12:17 pm

One Hines memory I have was a pass reception against Carolina in which he took a tremendous hit, his helmet went flying in the air. The next glimpse of Hines was continuing downfield sans helmet. And the crowd went wild.

Hines Ward-Damn Good Dawg

Newman

March 24th, 2011
12:22 pm

GeoffDawg, I would wear you out too nancy boy. Looks like I’ve touched a nerve with you rednecks.

GeoffDawg

March 24th, 2011
12:23 pm

Ha ha. Sounds like an admission to me. Be proud Newman.

Nick

March 24th, 2011
12:24 pm

Hines Ward became my favorite UGA player (or any for that matter) in 1995 when he unselfishly played 5 positions in an injury-ridden season. RB, WR, QB, PR, KR

The Peach Bowl against Virginia, while a loss and an exciting game was the pinnacle. UV absolutely pummeled him time and again with blitzes and him playing through it limping after every play and with a broekn wrist but yet he dredged onward.

The two point conversion for the win against Texas Tech in 1993 also sticks in my mind when he turned the summersault landing on his feet in the end zone, flashing that smile and walking toward the stands waving his hands upward (back when you could do this without getting nailed for 15 yards)!

Definitely NFL HOF bound and deservingly so.

Once a Dawg, always a Dawg!

Columbus Dawg

March 24th, 2011
12:29 pm

Yeah, I guess ole Hines is pretty embarrassed about the goings on at Georgia the last few years, in all of the interviews I have seen him do, he has never once mentioned the fact that he played his college ball at Georgia. Yeah, can’t mention Georgia, but can’t say enough about that pos QB at Pittsburgh.

Zoli

March 24th, 2011
12:32 pm

My favorite memory was him coming through Last Chance Pkg. before a Tenn. and told him to not come back unless we won. Well we didn’t, and I sold him some juice to drown his sorrows in anyways.

Reginald

March 24th, 2011
12:34 pm

Bill,

For once a good post. I tell you when they’re bad (and they almost always are) but this is a good post.

Hey Columbus Dawg-What the f are you talking about? He has nothing but great things to say about GA. He doesn’t talk about them in EVERY interview but definitely is proud to be a Dawg. Quit trying to stir the pot.

Newman

March 24th, 2011
12:40 pm

I live for this. I monitor my twitter feed all day long so I can be first on a UGA blog. I’m the man. This is what all manly men do. It is the greatest aspiration of a techie to harass the Dawg Nation. It’s all we have so we make the best of it. I bet we gain a bunch of yards against the Dawgs next year.

egeagle

March 24th, 2011
12:46 pm

Columbus, I’ve seen him in pix with UGA gear a number of times. Newman has to grab fror something negative to say. Is there something about the number 19? Scott Woerner, John Little, and Hines were some of my favorites. I’m a second-tier Dawg fan, (Go Ga. Southern Eagles) but if I ever got a jersey, I’d want a 19. DinLex, I have the same memory of that Peach Bowl against UVA. From the excitement of tying the game to the abject sorrow of watching Barber run rhar kick back. I remember the Yechies with the fingers indicating their ages or IQs as well.

Newman

March 24th, 2011
12:46 pm

^ impostor. I am not a tech fan, they are just as miserable as the mutts. I can see why you all get so defensive though, all football in GA is a joke.

Buckeye

March 24th, 2011
12:49 pm

Hines is a fierce competitor. He’s the one you love to hate if you’re on the other team but the one guy who will fight for the team to the last second.

1eyedJack

March 24th, 2011
12:51 pm

It’s about time we have a new hero that we will be able to look back fondly on.

Tville Dawg

March 24th, 2011
12:53 pm

egeagle-Let’s not forget about Terry Hogue-a no talent safety who could almost single handed win ballgames for you. Also a 4.0 in genetics. What a DAWG.

By the way-anyone not in the stadium when Butler kicked the 60 yarder aginst Clemson-you missed on lifetime thrill.

Go DAWGS-GO CMR-many of us are pulling for you.

Bubba J. Dawgman

March 24th, 2011
12:54 pm

Couldn’t agree more Buckeye. One tough SOB. You can tell he gets under the skin of every defender that’s unlucky enough to draw him as an assignment. Would love to have a team full of guys with his energy and competiveness. Seems there’s no quit in this guy.

GeoffDawg

March 24th, 2011
12:57 pm

Ironically, the Newman of “Seinfeld” fame actually attended UGA.

Columbus Dawg

March 24th, 2011
12:57 pm

Hey guys, I’m glad to hear that, I’m not trying to stir the pot, I just have not ever heard him mention the Dawgs. I have always thought highly of Hines, and I am glad to have been corrected on this.

Lucky's Dawg

March 24th, 2011
1:03 pm

Bill,

Why would Ward quit? For goodness sakes, Ward was used more than any player in the hisotry of Georgia football.

No one quits when the coach gives them reps.

But when you get 9 passes in 3 years like Figgins, or 9 last season like White, or 12 like Logan Gray, that’s when you usually say goodbye.

NEWMAN

March 24th, 2011
1:06 pm

JUST KIDDING THE DAWGS ARE MY TEAM. AFTER YEARS OF LOSING AS A TECHIE, I WANTED TO JOIN THE RED AND BLACK BANDWAGON. WITH HANDS OVER MY HEART AND TEARS IN MY EYE, I PROUDLY STAND WITH THE DAWG NATION AND SING GLORY TO OLE GEORGIA. WARD WAS A GREAT PLAYER WHO PERSONIFIED GREATNESS AND DURABILITY. HE WHIPPED ON MY TECHIES TOO MANY TIMES TO COUNT

GeoffDawg

March 24th, 2011
1:09 pm

well poop on my chest and call me rhonda!!!

UGA Insider

March 24th, 2011
1:12 pm

Back in 1995 I got to watch Hines Ward in the GA Dome against UVA then the next night I drove down to Macon and saw Widespread Panic on NYE….. Boy those were the days!

Ceasar

March 24th, 2011
1:37 pm

What’s the point???

MiltonDawg

March 24th, 2011
1:42 pm

@ GeoffDawg— what the ___?

Dorsey Hill

March 24th, 2011
1:43 pm

Going 8 for 8 on 3rd down against Tech on the final drive to put us in FG range to beat Tech and become bowl eligible.

The peel back block vs. USC earlier that year to spring Edwards on the first of 7 TD’s he would score over the next 3 and 1/2 quarters.

Gaining well over 100 yards as a freshmen RB vs. Bama at Bryant-Denny.

The Happy Warrior has to be one of the top 10 Buldogs ever. If you had 22 Hines Wards on a football team you’d rule the world.

GeoffDawg

March 24th, 2011
1:59 pm

Not me @ 1:09. My guess, Newman is attempting to be clever.

JDawg1785

March 24th, 2011
2:00 pm

Speaking of people who should fire up the team before the opener at the Dome this season…

Forest Park Panther

March 24th, 2011
2:05 pm

Hines was great in high school too!

Damn good dawg!!!!!

Anti Dog

March 24th, 2011
2:06 pm

My favorite HW event is his being elected (by his fellow pro’s) as one of the dirtiest pro players…actually about 5 years in a row. Right at the top of the list. Not a very distinctive achievement.

Forest Park Panther

March 24th, 2011
2:08 pm

Boo hoo Anti dog.