Let’s get straight to some Junkyard Mail …
CobbhamDawg writes: Bill, now that Michael Adams is finally leaving UGA’s presidency, don’t you think it’s high time the university finally honored Vince Dooley properly by adding his name to Sanford Stadium?
What, you don’t think naming the southwest portion of the athletic complex after him and putting up a statue in an inconspicuous location that’s a 20-minute walk from the stadium is enough? Well, you’re right. It’s not. As I wrote back in 2008 when the plan was first announced, that “honor” for Coach Dooley was just one more opportunity for Adams to put Dooley in his place … which the president saw as far away from Sanford Stadium and the main UGA athletic spotlight. That’s not the way the university ought to pay tribute to a man who’s devoted most of his life to UGA and served it proudly. Dooley should be honored where his teams played and won championships.
Dan Magill, the greatest living Bulldog, wrote way back in 2001 that Dooley “has rendered yeoman service to the University of Georgia. … His football teams won six SEC crowns, including the national title in 1980. He is past president of the National Association of Collegiate Athletic Directors, past president American Football Coaches Association, past chairman NCAA Football Rules Committee, and a member of the National Collegiate Football Hall of Fame. … it is fitting that the University of Georgia signally honor him by re-naming the football arena Sanford-Dooley Stadium. It was done for Bear Bryant at Alabama (Bryant-Denny Stadium) and for Ralph Jordan at Auburn (Jordan-Hare Stadium).”
When that idea was brought up in 2008, Adams scoffed at such “hyphenated names,” and relatives of onetime UGA President Steadman V. Sanford, whose name is already on the stadium, previously told the AJC they didn’t want the Sanford name diminished by adding another. But Magill, who knew Sanford in his youth, said, “I do think that Dr. Sanford would be proud to have Vince Dooley’s name alongside his at Georgia’s football stadium.”
However, even if the university prefers to grant the Sanford family their wish for exclusivity, there’s still a way to honor Dooley at the stadium: By calling it Vince Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium. There’s even a Facebook page that promotes that idea. Its motto: “A statue is nice, but we want the whole damn field!”
I’d be fine with either Sanford-Dooley Stadium (has a nicer ring than Dooley-Sanford) or Vince Dooley Field. But whichever it is, now that Adams is leaving and the petty feud he had with Dooley is no longer a factor, UGA should do right by Dooley.
Gerry from Macon writes: Bill, I read this week where they’re going to remove 7,000 seats from north end zone of EverBank Field in Jacksonville. Even though they said they could add temporary seats for high-capacity events, which I assume would include the annual Georgia-Florida Cocktail Party, I’m wondering if this is likely to result in the game moving to the home stadiums after the contract is up. It’s tough enough to get a ticket!
Despite the loss of 7,000 seats to add giant video screens to the Jacksonville Jaguars’ stadium, UGA athletic director Greg McGarity told the Athens Banner-Herald this week that he’s been assured by stadium officials that the seating capacity for the Georgia-Florida game will not be diminished. Georgia and Florida each get 41,000 tickets for the game, which is under contract through the end of the 2016 season. “That was made very, very clear in our conversation,” McGarity said. “The capacity would remain the same. There would be no reduction in seating capacity.”
So, no, the seating situation probably won’t be enough to shift the game to Athens and Gainesville. What might be the deciding factor in eventually moving the game to the two campuses, however, is the likely switch to a nine-game SEC schedule, which in alternating years would leave Georgia and Florida shy a valuable conference home game because of the deal with Jacksonville.
Travis Hill writes: Hi again Bill, Another year … another season … same old questions, I feel like. The defense … major questions in the secondary … we still haven’t stopped the run … it’s going to be interesting. I think we are OK at punter. Marshall Morgan is still a question mark with the kicking game. I hope Richt has learned a little bit since the Vikings turned Blair Walsh completely around … special teams is crucial in winning close games in the SEC. I think the offense should be stellar but, of course, we thought that last year about the defense … Lots of positives to look forward to … but lots of questions, too.
I can’t argue with anything you said there, Travis. On defense, I am encouraged by all the young talent Todd Grantham has to work with, some of whom look like potential stars (and obviously those analysts ranking Georgia as a preseason Top 10 team are similarly impressed). But Georgia’s young defenders are going to start out the season awfully inexperienced and with a baptism by fire going up against Tajh Boyd and the Clemson Tigers. I think the secondary will wind up being really good, but how quickly that happens is the big unknown. The offense, on paper, should be one of the nation’s best, but as you point out, that’s what everyone was saying last year about the defense. Still, I doubt we’re going to see Mike Bobo’s troops underperforming like that, with Aaron Murray behind center, a lot of talent like Malcolm Mitchell in the receiving corps, and Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall in the backfield. Yeah, the unsettled nature of the offensive line gives me pause, but if they can just manage to be as good as they were last season, I think that’d be enough, and the odds are they’ll be at least somewhat improved. You’re exactly right about special teams play and the kicking game, and that’s probably the area I feel the most uneasy about. Like you said, lots of questions, but lots of positives.
Matthew Cafaro writes: It is beyond frustrating to me as a fan of ALL Dawg sports to see McGarity’s continued loyalty to Mark Fox. … No matter how good a coach he is, and we know he is, [Fox] simply cannot recruit. He’s a horrible recruiter. He can’t close. And McGarity should know, after watching Foley hire Pitino’s ace closer, that the way to wake up a “sleeping giant” program is to hire a great recruiter like Donovan and have him bring in talent to build your program. Recruiting first. Coaching second. Georgia is the 5th best state at producing NBA talent. Mark Fox should be able to trip and find SOME talent willing to go to UGA without trying. Or he should have the ability to convince some to do so. But he doesn’t, or can’t, and UGA’s basketball program continues to die because he’s bad at recruiting. WHY does McGarity stay loyal to a coach he should know can’t win? Did McGarity refuse to learn from the best AD in the SEC? It sure seems so … UF targeted a great recruiter as their coach and woke up their dormant basketball program and won 2 titles. UGA SHOULD be able to do the same. I’m tired of the excuses. UF’s program was no better than ours, if not worse. Their AD just knew the right way to fix it, while our AD seemingly had his head in the sand during his time at UF. UGA will continue to lose as long as Fox is our coach. Can’t recruit = can’t win. That’s the harsh fact of college basketball.
As we’ve discussed here before, Matt, I agree that recruiting (or, rather, the lack thereof) is likely to make or break Fox’s tenure in Athens. Aside from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Fox has pretty much failed to land the sort of major talent needed to turn the program around. As I’ve said, I think Fox is a good x’s and o’s coach and he takes care of his players and they improve under his tutelage. But he is the coach of a major conference program located just over an hour from the basketball talent hotbed of metro Atlanta. If he’s going to be around in Athens more than another year or two, he’s going to have to start signing some of that talent. If he doesn’t show progress on that front soon, I imagine McGarity will make the same sort of decision he recently made about UGA’s baseball program.
Grant Morris writes: Bill! You don’t know how many years I’ve been reading you, but let’s put it this way: I started out as a teenager reading your Quick Cuts rock music column in the old Weekend Saturday paper and now I’m a grandfather reading your blogs about our beloved Dawgs! I hope you don’t mind me taking things off-topic just a bit, but I really enjoyed the article you did a few months back on all the concerts that took place over the past 50 years at Stegeman Coliseum and that got me to wondering what are the most memorable concerts you’ve ever seen anywhere, not just at UGA. I remember when you used to do all the concert reviews in the Constitution, so I bet you’ve seen a lot of shows. Which ones rank as the all-time best?
Wow, Grant, thanks for your loyalty as a reader! As you probably would expect, since you started reading me all those years ago, various solo Beatles rank high on my “best” concert list. I’ve seen a lot of great Paul McCartney shows over the years, including his Green Concert at Piedmont Park in 2009, but the most memorable definitely would be the two nights of Wings at Atlanta’s old Omni in 1976. Also on my most memorable list would be George Harrison at the Omni in 1974 (the first show I ever went to with Leslie, my future wife), and Ringo Starr at New York City’s Bottom Line in 1998, when a couple of friends and I sat right up against the stage. Among the more memorable shows I’ve seen (but not in the running for “best”) would be the Sex Pistols’ first U.S. concert at the Great Southeast Music Hall in 1978. Two shows that would make my “best” list would be Bruce Springsteen at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre in 1978 and Billy Joel at the Atlanta Civic Center on the 1977 “Stranger” tour. The Springsteen show was the first time I’d ever seen the Boss and I’d been resistant to the mid-’70s hype that saw him grace the covers of Time and Newsweek simultaneously. But he flat-out knocked us out that night at the Fox. One of the most exciting performances of any type that I’ve ever seen. As for the Joel concert, I think maybe one of the times I saw him at the Omni in the ’80s might actually have been a better show (after he’d had more hits), but the 1977 concert was the most memorable because afterward Leslie and I were invited to a post-concert party put on by the record label at Anthony’s, and as we were among the first guests to arrive and Joel was already there, we had a chance to chat with him for quite a while. Another strong contender for “best” (as well as most memorable) on my concert list would be seeing Bob Dylan at New Orleans’ Sanger Theatre in 1981. They’d raised the orchestra pit and set up chairs in a VIP section where I had my pick of places to sit. It was a great show and about as good a concert seat as I could ever hope to have. A couple of others would be the Police’s exciting 1983 show at the Omni (filmed for cable and available on DVD since 2005 as “The Synchronicity Concert”), and Roy Orbison at a grocery-store-turned-nightclub in metro Atlanta called Mama’s Country Showcase in the early ’80s. At the latter show, I sat with Atlanta Rhythm Section writer-producer Buddy Buie, who had gotten his start in Alabama as a member of Roy’s band and who also worked as Roy’s tour manager for a while. I’ll never forget when Roy was getting ready to do “Crying,” Buddy leaned over and said, “The end is gonna give you goosebumps.” And when Roy hit and sustained that incredibly high note, it was goosebumps for sure. An unforgettable moment. There were many other great shows, but that’s a sampling of the best. Thanks for asking!
Greg McGarity is holding a live chat on Georgiadogs.com Tuesday, June 25. If you’d like to ask him a question, you can tweet it to @UGAHedgesBlog.
Got something else you want to discuss concerning the upcoming football season or UGA athletics? A particularly fond Bulldog memory you want to share? Or a question you want the Junkyard Blawg to tackle? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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