Herschel Walker statue ‘not a priority right now’ for UGA

Rob Saye (L) started the 'Herschel Walker Statue Project' on Facebook and created quite a stir. (Photo by Rob Saye)

Rob Saye (L) started the 'Herschel Walker Statue Project' on Facebook and created quite a stir. (Photo by Rob Saye)

ATHENS — What about Frank Sinkwich? What about Charley Trippi? What about outstanding individual athletes in Georgia’s 14 sports other than football.

That’s the problem Greg McGarity has with the “Herschel Walker Statue Project.”

Is the Heisman Trophy winner and star player on the Bulldogs’ 1980 national championship team deserving of a statue? Absolutely, McGarity says.

But are not those aforementioned individuals also?

“You have to look at the program as a whole, with all sports,” McGarity said Friday. “Once you make a decision to single out certain individuals for accomplishments, then what is the domino effect? We have 14 other sports here that have had some tremendous accomplishments from certain individuals. There are just so many moving pieces that it just has to be an institutional decision. Right now there has been no discussion about that.”

Rob Saye, a freelance photographer, UGA alumnus and Bulldogs fan extraordinaire, decided earlier this week to create a Facebook Page – aptly named “Herschel Walker Statue Project” — calling on Georgia fans to get behind the idea of erecting a statue of the 1982 Heisman Trophy winner somewhere on campus. The reaction, as might be expected, has been passionate.

Should UGA build a statue honoring Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker?

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Since the project was mentioned as one small item in the “Ten @ 10″ this past Wednesday, membership on the Facebook page has tripled to more than 1,800 as of Friday. Some of those individuals went beyond just clicking on the Internet site. They started making calls and sending emails to McGarity.

McGarity has listened politely, but it doesn’t sound as if it’s something that is going to happen any time soon.

“What I’ve told people is we’ll consider it at the right time, but the right time is not right now,” McGarity said. “You basically have to have an institutional philosophy on something like that for every sport and how the university handles such things in general.”

Generally, UGA hasn’t been big on statues. Just last fall it erected a statue of Abraham Baldwin, the university’s founding father, on North Campus. There’s a life-size bronze sculpture of benefactor Bernard Ramsey sitting on a bench, also on North Campus. As for athletics, a statue of former coach and athletic director Vince Dooley was unveiled on the corner of South Campus in 2008. And that came only after considerable public debate and private fundraising.

Otherwise, there are only busts of Dr. Steadman Sanford, Dan Magill and Frank Foley in front of the respective athletics facilities bearing their names.

“Very rarely has there been individual recognition on this campus or in our facilities,” McGarity said. “That’s something you have to be very careful about how you approach it. Once you start you better have a plan to be inclusive.”

Saye appears to have gotten the message. He and his cohort Jimmy Taylor softened their “call to revolution” approach when they updated the status of the Facebook page late Thursday night.

“Thanks so much for everyone’s support of this idea! We have definitely gotten a lot people’s attention!

“This effort has exceeded all of our expectations and is going strong. When we started on Saturday, we didn’t know what we didn’t know. Lots of things are now coming into view and becoming clear as we move forward.

“At this stage, we ask for your continued support and patience, as we navigate the proper channels within the various UGA organizations that we will need to partner with to bring this project to fruition. Please also keep in mind, as we have learned, that we are looking at at least a one-year timeline for the design and construction of the statue!

“The bottom-line is that we started this in good faith with the goal of honoring our greatest player with a permanent tribute and a charitable foundation that will continue to contribute positively to the community. We move forward with these goals still in place and the resolve to work within the system to achieve this mission.

“Thank you again for your support. More to come as we work the process!”

But what got Saye – and subsequently other Georgia fans – motivated about the starting the “Herschel Project” in the first place was seeing how many other football players at other schools had statues. There’s Doug Flutie at Boston College, Ricky Williams at Texas and Johnny Unitas at Louisville, just to name a few. Last April, Florida unveiled statues of Steve Spurrier, Danny Wuerffel and Tim Tebow, its three Heisman Trophy winners. And Auburn is building monuments to Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Bo Jackson this year.

Even Walker seems to like the idea. Though he couldn’t be reached for comment, he sent out this tweet via Twitter on Thursday: “Hey UGA Fans.Thanks for your support on the ‘Herschel Walker Statue Project’ page on Facebook!! Totally honored!!”

But McGarity said that Georgia can’t be influenced by what others are doing.

“It’s more or less a philosophical approach that the athletic association and the institution must have and I’m not even aware of what the policies are,” McGarity said. “Is this something we would consider for the future? I don’t know. We haven’t really talked about it. I don’t want to be disrespectful but that’s not a priority for us right now and it just opens the door to so many other things.

“Right now it’s just not on our radar.”

What do you think?

264 comments Add your comment

Snoop Dawg

March 16th, 2012
12:48 pm

McGarrity is so full of BS it’s coming out his ears. He’d rather give all the money from the fan base to a loser like Markt Wrecked. That, my friends, is the state of UGA athletics today. A bunch of losers lining their own pockets…

H. Walker

March 16th, 2012
12:48 pm

Make the statue a reality! We dont need to consider other sports. UGA is a football school and football pays the bills. McGarity is not enthused by the idea because he is not a true georgia fan at heart. Herschel is UGA football, the greatest to ever play at UGA. Make it a damn reality!

Snoop Dawg

March 16th, 2012
12:49 pm

Howdy Doody McCavity is now officially part of the problem… He shoulda stayed in Gainesville Florida with the other genetic mutants…

Jawja

March 16th, 2012
12:50 pm

Cam Newton was at Auburn for ONE SEMESTER. Think about it.

@DawgDayBlog

March 16th, 2012
12:52 pm

I think it’s a shame McGarity is taking the approach that he is. I feel Michael Adams wrote his response for him, and we all know Adams cannot stand the fact that his University is a football school.

I see absolutely ZERO negative spins anybody can make on erecting statue of Herschel somewhere around the stadium.

Herschel, as well as the football program, has made more than enough money for the university to allow a few thousand dollars delegated to appreciation.

Go Dawgs!!

Jawja

March 16th, 2012
12:57 pm

Yall are dumb. “McGarity isn’t a true georgia fan at heart…” Really, Einsteins? He grew up in Athens, graduated from UGA, played tennis under legendary coach Dan Magill, and left a “dream job” in Gainesville to return HOME. I’m pretty sure the guy bleeds red and black.

@DawgDayBlog

March 16th, 2012
1:01 pm

Further thinking,

If a funding for a Herschel statue were approved, and some other former swimmer, basketball player, gymnast, equestrian rider, etc., decided to raise their voice and say

“that’s not fair Herschel gets one but not me”……

That would be the quickest way to lose the love from the huge, undying fanbase of UGA.

NOBODY has done more for UGA athletics than Herschel, and NOBODY is more deserving of enshrinement in bronze than he. Enough with the “everybody deserves a ribbon if one person gets a ribbon” mentality, McGarity. You’re making it obvious who cried in school when they didn’t get a juice box in their lunch like the kid next to you.

The Goat

March 16th, 2012
1:02 pm

Herschel is one of the most famous Dawgs out there and is the original college football posterchild across the nation. The dude is a legend. I’m all for erecting statues of any of our legendary softball, equestrian, or women’s volleyball players as soon as they’re household names. Until then… put up a Herschel statue!

This is much less political than McGarity wants to make it, which is disheartening to me–I like the guy but this is a dumb statement.

ole dawg

March 16th, 2012
1:08 pm

Woooo lunatic fringe!!! Mcgarity has not said that Herschel will never get a statue. He simply says things have to go through proper chanels. He is running a big business and you do not make knee jerk decisions. The last time this country did that it netted us Obama!!!

DecDawg

March 16th, 2012
1:08 pm

At the moment McGarity in all honesty is making the right play. Why get into now. Until the fan base rallies enough support (squeaky wheel) there’s not enough to it to make this call. SO if you really care get off your rear ends and do something about it!

Harleydawg

March 16th, 2012
1:09 pm

I think McGarity is correct. Not only is Herschel worthy of the salute, but so is Larry Munson, Dominique Wilkins, Suzanne Yoculan, and Dan Magill. How about Erk, Theron Sapp, Sinkwich, and Trippi? I would truly love to see all of these legends honored with statues.

Atticus

March 16th, 2012
1:10 pm

McGarity is a Buldog and has accomplished much but he is so full of it here, what a politically correct load of crap. Nobody in the history of UGA has had even 5% the impact that Herschel had. Its the same problem over and over, its Mike Adams!

DecDawg

March 16th, 2012
1:11 pm

Having said that the policy for football should clearly be only for Heisman Trophy winners and national championship coaches. Similar policy in other sports to be erected in/near their facilities. This is a no brainer.

Top Row Dog

March 16th, 2012
1:14 pm

I would like to see a sidewalk with handprints and signatures of famous UGA players and alum, like at the Denny Chimes at Bama or the Chinese Theater in Hollywood. Make it an event every time someone honored. Best to hurry before some of our heroes pass.

Always liked that part of the Bama campus, seeing Bart Starr – Danny Ford – Joe Namath – Kenny Stabler – Ozzie Newsome.

We got enough to honor Butler Trippi Walker Pollock Hearst Wilkins, etc.

I think the qualifying factor at Bama is All Amercian status.

Perhaps a star walk of fame in downtown Athens like at Auburn.

@DawgDayBlog

March 16th, 2012
1:15 pm

What about delegating an acre or even two somewhere on the beautiful campus as a “monument grove” of some type. Start erecting statues for ALL the people some of the comments mention, which seems to be what McGarity has in mind.

This area would certainly be a must see for people when they visit Athens for a football game or other events.

There is plenty of room, and we all know there is plenty of $$$$.

Ball is in your court McGarity…….. play!!

@DawgDayBlog

March 16th, 2012
1:17 pm

I like that idea a lot, Top Row Dog.

Either downtown, or what about the sidewalk leading up to and crossing the Sanford Bridge??

Dap01

March 16th, 2012
1:19 pm

I am a huge UGA fan. I am a Herschel Walker fan. Who ever said that the statue is not important is an idiot.

Who do you want, Adams? Bobo for his play calling, CMR for his loyalty to bad employees?

mack

March 16th, 2012
1:24 pm

I do not understand why UGA has not asked him or hired him to be a part of the football staff. Among all his positive attributes he would bring to the team, character and discipline would be at the top of the list, something the team has been lacking in for years.

markie mark

March 16th, 2012
1:29 pm

so……..put it on the damn radar, willya?

Triple Lindy

March 16th, 2012
1:29 pm

If an individual donor wants to pay for it, sure, I’d be all for it. Part of me would love to see an Erk Russell statue, maybe head-butting a uniformed player.

UGA Insider

March 16th, 2012
1:30 pm

Mike Adams does not like to be told what to do….Especially with your money.

Dawg Fud

March 16th, 2012
1:35 pm

Rob Saye for President!

jasont

March 16th, 2012
1:35 pm

Mack what makes you so sure Herschel has not been approached? Matter of fact he has been approached and unfortunately has many business interest that keeps his time occupied.

Why?

March 16th, 2012
1:36 pm

Why does the UGA campus need a statue of Walker? How about a statue to some academic stars or how about rolling that money into some of the cancer research done at the university?

Burdell

March 16th, 2012
1:39 pm

They could put a few in the library as urinals…

Why?

March 16th, 2012
1:40 pm

These types of vanity projects don’t really help the university that much. With the cuts to faculty and research, the kind of money spent on a statue could go a long way to helping the, I dunno, university.

Chip Towers

March 16th, 2012
1:40 pm

Triple Lindy: A statue of Erk Russell is currently being created by Athens artist Stan Mullins to be erected at Georgia Southern.

DAWG COLONEL

March 16th, 2012
1:43 pm

There are ample sidewalks on campus that could be easily converted to a “Dawg Walk Of Fame” or something like that………..take Sanford Rd as an example.

Statues of prominent GA Athletes, Scholars, Alumni, and Nationally acomplished Citizens could be erected every 25 yards. All it takes is a little imagnation and some $$$……….both of which are readily available at UGA.

Rob Saye - The Herschel Walker Statue Project

March 16th, 2012
1:46 pm

Wow! This is really overwhelming! One thing that is getting lost in the shuffle here is the charitable foundation that we want to build in conjunction with the statue. That is the part that Herschel really got excited about when we hooked up with him earlier this week. The permanent tribute in bronze is awesome, but the possibilities of a philanthropic effort in his honor has lasting potential to help people who are less fortunate for many years to come!

Superzoro

March 16th, 2012
1:46 pm

With all due respect to every player every to wear silver britches, there is only one player from UGA voted the “best college football player of all time”. Herschel Walker deserves his own wing at Butts-Mehre.

AltamahaDawg

March 16th, 2012
1:47 pm

Really, Dr. Adams doesn’t let blogers tell him what to do with the University finances? No kidding.

ozzfest

March 16th, 2012
1:47 pm

…of course this is not a priority….Greg McGarity is busy looking up the phone numbers for

Bethune-Cookman, Howard University, Davidson, and UMass….

…after all, we have a non-conference football schedule to fill.

RevDawg

March 16th, 2012
1:49 pm

I’m all for a Herschel tribute, but we need to have something unique to UGA. I see people mention Bama, Auburn, etc. Heck, the idea originally came from seeing other statues made at other schools. We need to do something original, something unique! Maybe a walk showcasing the bronzed versions of our All-Americans’ jerseys where the Dawg Walk is…

NCDawgs Fan

March 16th, 2012
1:53 pm

It is nice to know that idiots like “Snoop Dawg” are in the minority when it comes to the feelings of Bulldog supporters. Put a statue of Uncle Vince and Herschel side by side. Let each venue have a statue, placque or bust of the most significant people of that sport. Funding will always be an issue. There is no timetable for completion…just the desire to see it completed.

Cuz

March 16th, 2012
1:53 pm

Next a statue of Courtney Kupets in front of Stegeman.

Really, I am not for anymore statues.

@DawgDayBlog

March 16th, 2012
1:54 pm

Rob Saye,

You are absolutely right about the philanthropic aspect many are overlooking. Unfortunately it sounds McGarity is among those over-lookers.

Whether it be a scholarship fund, an annual contribution to the Athens community, or recognition of outstanding contributors to the “Georgia Way”, as Mark Richt has coined, this aspect is vital to the project.

Whatever the philanthropic effort be, award trophy size versions of the statue to deserving recipients.

Tell us more about what you and your team had in mind in this area if you could…….

dayshift

March 16th, 2012
1:57 pm

ozzfest is right on, keep playing those Sisters of the Pitiful and all uga’s coaches and players will have statues going up in lieu of such athleticism to defeat these remarkable teams…just keep making sure bama and lsu are not on the schedule as well like you are currently doing..good job

kreedham

March 16th, 2012
1:57 pm

While Herschel is the greatest HarleyDawg is right……if you follow the Auburn route you at least have to include Sinkwich!

PrimeTimeJr

March 16th, 2012
1:57 pm

As usual, McGarity out of touch with what 80%+ of fans feel.

Guy needs to be fired.

Amen Ole Dawg!

March 16th, 2012
2:02 pm

Bullseye comment!

Kevin Weakley

March 16th, 2012
2:03 pm

# 34 is arguably the best College Football player to ever play the game. He has done a lot for UGA.. From what I have read this is more than just a statue and it makes good sense.. If they were to place a statue of Herschel at Sanford Stadium you would have to wait in line to get your picture made.. Great Job idea Mr Saye to bad some one that works for UGA did not think of it ..

Pago Pago DAWG

March 16th, 2012
2:03 pm

Can the DAWGS at least win a major bowl game first.!!!! This is sad…

Herschel Talker

March 16th, 2012
2:04 pm

There should be a statue outside Sanford Stadium for both Herschel Walker and Herschel Talker, the two greatest Bulldawgs ever.

RxDawg

March 16th, 2012
2:05 pm

Hmm… McGarity actually brings up a good point. I’m not so sure that pointint out certain individuals and “snubing” others is a great idea. At first glace this seems like a no brainer, but after hearing the other side I think I agree. I think it would be best to keep all of our student atheletes and their accomplishments on an equal footing.

And yeh, I know what other schools do, but they’re not Georgia. We are prestigous. We are royalty. We are Georgia.

PrimeTimeJr

March 16th, 2012
2:10 pm

Having a top 10 football or basketball team hasn’t been a priority for mcGarity either.

What are his priorities, besides collecting a big paycheck?

PrimeTimeJr

March 16th, 2012
2:12 pm

What 80% of fans want is not on McGarity’s radar?

Are fans not on his radar? Are fans not a priority?

Says it all. G McGarity, how in the world did he get the job and what has he accomplished yet?

KINGDAWG

March 16th, 2012
2:12 pm

Alright all you entitlement thinkers …..Once we start giving out statues then everyone will have to have one….even little Johnny who can’t even run up and down the field now gets a trophy today. Next thing you know we’ll have a statue for everyone including a walk-on.

PrimeTimeJr

March 16th, 2012
2:15 pm

Holy Cow!

Somebody needs to eduacate the Gator McGarity on Georgia history.

Herschel Walker is in his own league, and was voted the #1 college football athlete of all time by ESPN, Trippi didn’t make the list.

No statue for the #1 college player in college football history?

Really?

AltamahaDawg

March 16th, 2012
2:16 pm

For all of the feigned indignation in here, it seems most didn’t even take the time to understand the topic. Mr. Saye himself said the part he cared most about what the charitable foundation. That has nothing to do with Mcgarity or the UGAA. And it sounds like he was satisfied that perhaps statues are a bit more complicated than previously considered.

RxDawg

March 16th, 2012
2:18 pm

I nominate UGA resurecting a statue of me. They put it on every corner of every intersection throughout Athens. It shall show my accomplisments (won 3 games in flag football rec league). It shall bestow my academic awards (left school early to play pro flag football). There will be quotes from my many AJC comments that inspired other people to greatness. And there shall be armed gaurds 24/7 round the clock at each statue, and people will come by and make faces at them but the gaurds shall never break…NEVER BREAK.

Yes, I deserve that.