Athens icon ‘Sky’ Hertwig dead at 60 (updated)

Among the many claims to fame for Craig "Sky" Hertwig was a small acting part in the movie "North Dallas 40." (Photo by BulldawgIllustrated.com)

Among the many claims to fame for Craig "Sky" Hertwig was a small acting part in the movie "North Dallas Forty." (Photo by BulldawgIllustrated.com)

Updated with funeral information . . .

ATHENS — An Athens icon has died.

Craig Hertwig, better known as “Sky” around Athens, passed away at about 6 p.m. Wednesday at St. Mary’s Hospital, family members confirmed. He was 60.

Ed Hertwig said his brother died of heart failure. Sky was actually admitted to the hospital on Tuesday evening and “died in less than 24 hours.” his brother said.

Funeral arrangements are being handled by Lord & Stephens (West) of Athens, 1211 Jimmie Daniel Road, Bogart, GA 30622. There will be there service Saturday at 1 p.m.

Hertwig, a Macon native, at 6-foot-8 was unusually tall for a football player, hence his nickname. He starred for the Bulldogs as an offensive tackle from 1972-74 and earned All-America honors from The Associated Press as a senior. He was drafted in the third round by the Detroit Lions in 1975 and played three seasons in the NFL before retiring after getting traded to the Buffalo Bills in 1978.

Hertwig returned to Athens and forged a career as a nightclub owner. Bars he owned and operated were some of the most popular in Athens, including The Fifth Quarter, Sky’s Place and The Odyssey, which today is known as The Nowhere Bar. When not downtown running one of his establishments, Hertwig could often be seen jogging on Milledge Avenue and in Five Points. UGA legend Dan Magill referred to him as the “Giant Jogger.” He was also a staunch supporter of Georgia men’s basketball and was always present at games in the first seat next to the tunnel in Section J at Stegeman Coliseum.

“It’s sad,” said Jeff Dantzler, a longtime Athens radio personality and writer. “He was very well liked by a lot of folks and a lot of people are very sad. He was an Athens icon. Loved the Dogs.”

Here’s some remarks from Vince Dooley, Hertwig’s coach at Georgia and a longtime friend:

“Certainly we’re all saddened by the sudden loss of Craig, who was a great football player, a great fan and a great supporter of all the athletic programs at Georgia. Our deepest sympathy goes to his family and friends.

“Obviously, Craig was nicknamed ‘Sky’ because of his height. During his playing days, he was really tall for a lineman. I actually had gone to see another player on another high school team when I saw this big ol’ guy jumping around. He was kind of under the radar but that eventually led to us signing Craig.

“Because of his size, he was not ready to play as a freshman and we redshirted him,” Dooley said. “One of the things I remember most about Craig is how big a fan he was during that season he redshirted. He loved to get in the stands with the students and cheer for the team. I don’t know if I ever had a player who was as big of a fan as Craig. He matured and became a great player ­ an All-American ­ played professionally and came back to Athens. He always continued his support of Georgia football and all Georgia sports in that social way. He was so well known all over Athens and will be missed.”

89 comments Add your comment

Dr. Phil

May 30th, 2012
11:50 pm

Sad. Athens lost a real bulldog.

Tommy Welborn

May 31st, 2012
12:10 am

Played a lot of golf and cards with Sky. Also frequented his bars. One of the best guys you’ll ever meet. RIP big guy.

Shieldy

May 31st, 2012
12:30 am

A toast to the big man!! Loved a beer at Sky’s before hitting the Shack @ SAE

Csonka

May 31st, 2012
12:32 am

That’s awful news, Chip. I was just an average everyday student who frequented The Fifth Quarter and The Odyssey during my day as a student in the early 80’s, but had many conversations with Sky where he treated me like a peer. Even though I know I could never attain his legendary status in the Athens and UGA community. Rest in Peace, Sky. Heaven is a better place tonight!

Death Penalty

May 31st, 2012
12:39 am

I pulled more tail in Sky’s Place than any delinquent had a right to. Ate plenty of disgusting free hotdogs, too. RIP, Sky, and thanks for your part in making my college years unforgettable.

Mr. Dawg

May 31st, 2012
1:10 am

This is sad to hear. As an alumni from the early 1980’s that frequented the Fifth Quarter I recall him vividly. A buddy and I that didn’t know his history or that he owned the place would refer to him as the “8-foot tall guy” that worked there. I soon learned who he was and found that he even attended high school with my step mother (yes, she’s only ten years older than me). God bless his soul.

Panick

May 31st, 2012
1:18 am

RIP Sky. I recall Sky’s Place being the first Athens bar I ever set foot in as a freshman back in 94. Sky was always polite and cordial to everyone he met. He was a true gentle giant. Athens has lost a friend and UGA has lost a damn good dawg.

Mountain Dawg

May 31st, 2012
1:25 am

MarcFeather

May 31st, 2012
1:27 am

I am far away in Costa Rica and heard the news from my friend. A friend I met in the Nowhere Bar, a bar where I met many of my best friends today. I have had the pleasure of having more than “MANY” drinks with Sky and some really awesome stories to remember. Sky always treated everyone with respect and as if they were a friend. Today a legend is gone, another Bulldog and friend has fallen. I only wish he had made the trip to visit me in Costa Rica for some golf.

You are in a better place my friend. Tonight I will have a few peppermint schnapps and a few Coors (in the bottle) in your honor and remember the great times. RIP Sky.

Alison K

May 31st, 2012
2:26 am

my Sky’ s Place and Nowhere Bar Tshirts are long gone!? but
I will always remember talking to Sky – what a nice guy!! and
what an amazing time I had at those places a long loooooong
time ago!! good times :) see you on the other side Sky! GO DAWGS!

ozzfest

May 31st, 2012
3:40 am

Man, are we gonna miss you SKY.
Our beloved brother. Downtown Athens will never be rhe same.

One COOL Dog gone for now, bur we will catch up with you on the”other side of the hedges”.

Peace.

Dawg Dawg Dawg

May 31st, 2012
4:10 am

Free hot dogs and beautiful babes at Sky’s Place.

guy goodman

May 31st, 2012
4:49 am

I will miss you gentile giant. You were one of the greatest Bulldogs ever. RIP my friend!

Chuck Bentley

May 31st, 2012
5:11 am

Sky, Thank you for being my friend.

goldwreck

May 31st, 2012
5:19 am

Terrible news.He was a good friend and teammate from high school.He’ll be missed.

DVM Dawg

May 31st, 2012
7:09 am

Having been an undergrad and grad student for 8 years in the 80’s-early 90’s meant that I spent a lot of time at Sky’s bars relaxing, meeting friends and playing pool. He was a great guy, so friendly. We talked for hours about life. I am glad I had a chance to meet him! We will all miss you Sky!!

Top Row Dawg

May 31st, 2012
8:06 am

God Bless Sky. Saw him at every Georgia event. He was a DGD.

Picture him signing my 1973 at UT program last year on Cumberland in Knoxville.

http://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/297315_302627396415453_100000045856804_1321328_2038086150_n.jpg

UGADawg83

May 31st, 2012
8:09 am

I remember the old Georgia-Ga Tech hoop games at the Omni back in the 80s and 90s. One year Sky came in with several pizzas he’d purchased at the concession stand and just passed out slices to everyone around him. A generous loving soul who loved the Dogs hated the Jackets and despised the Gators. There just has to be a special wing in heaven for someone like that.

Brad Adams

May 31st, 2012
8:12 am

RIP Sky, My wife and I met 22 years ago at Sky’s place. If was a fun place to hang out, and Sky was an interesting guy to talk to. He always made us feel welcome.

PenelopeB

May 31st, 2012
8:20 am

Sounds like a great guy- too bad a few jerk dawgs make 8th grade remarks about their memories ( or wishful thinking) to make it look like some of his fans are tragically developmentally challenged. Thanks for the kind respectful memories from others. Those help a person who didn’t know who he was understand what a nice person he was.

Cuz

May 31st, 2012
8:43 am

Sky was a good friend while I was in Athens. I first came to know him when he bought the Fifth Quarter, a place that many of us called Swino;s. The first time I saw him behind the bar, I walked up to him and said, my name is Cuz, you are one big SOB and I want to be your friend. He laughed and put out a bear sized hand.

Every time I would come through the door he would yell out “CUZ!”, which with his vocal capacity, could overpower the juke box. The top song on the jukebox was David Allen Coe’s “You Never Even Called Me By My Name”. Sky had to replace the 45 as it got so wore down it no longer had grooves. He gave me the original.

The Fifth Quarter closed on a New Year’s Eve and I was the last paying customer to walk out the door. To this day. It was my favorite Bar/Roadhouse of all time. About the time it closed, I left Athens and I would run into Sky very infrequently. Mostly at Georgia games. Always a big handshake and hey how are you doing.

He was a damn good friend and in my opinion, a DGD. He loved Georgia with that big ole heart of his. It just finnally gave out. Rest in Peace my friend. I will see you at that big Dawghouse in the sky. Telll Erk I said hello.

Robert

May 31st, 2012
9:12 am

I worked at at Sky’s Place as a bartender for about 3 years. Sky was always loved by everyone. What a great guy! When I graduated I went to work for a bank. My main recommendation was from Sky and the President of the bank said that Sky had written him the best recommendation that he had ever received. It definitely wasn’t all true but it helped me get a job. I would always stop by Nowhere Bar to say hello at every home football game and he was always there with a smile. Sky- You will be missed. RIP

Mike Rock

May 31st, 2012
9:22 am

Could not ask for a better friend. He will be missed.

t

May 31st, 2012
9:23 am

Was student when he played – gave it his all http://www.wedgeorgia.com

DOUBLE G

May 31st, 2012
9:25 am

So many knew him, claimed to know him, met him, or wanted to know him. An outsized man, with a giving personality, and a humble heart. Good guy. RIP.

Dawg Fud

May 31st, 2012
9:34 am

Rest in peace, Sky.

Andrew

May 31st, 2012
9:40 am

I knew Sky on a couple of levele. First as an employer and later as a friend. He was a great guy with a big heart and I’ll miss dropping in on him when I’m in Athens. RIP buddy.

jim couch

May 31st, 2012
9:48 am

met ’sky’ in a WSI course taught by coach Bowers,been friends ever since.I’ll miss this great friend.

Joe

May 31st, 2012
9:58 am

Old friend, we played High School football together, an drank a few in the day. It is sad an I will miss you

JAke

May 31st, 2012
10:05 am

Sad news. was always more than willing to chat with me during my 2000-2004 UGA career.

RIP

Mike C.

May 31st, 2012
10:09 am

Sad to hear about this DGD passing.

Freshman in ‘94 and undoubtedly Sky’s Place was THE place to be.
-Pitcher of Coors Lite = 4.25.
- Pitcher of Old Milwaukee = 3.75
- Hot dogs at happy hour = free
- Seeing Sky wading through a smoke filled pool hall full of freshman to give high five’s…Priceless!

Larry

May 31st, 2012
10:13 am

Sky you were the biggest, most friendly guy I’ve ever known. I was in a house band that played Sky’s Place a few nights a week for a good stretch. I never saw him lose control or be mean to anybody, ever. Even at the end of the night, he was sober, calm, friendly. You could count on Sky to be a friendly gentleman. I think these characteristics created an air of quality where ever he presided. He had the ability to correct someone without looking down at them (only metaphorically speaking of course!) Sky was a great local man who had genuine love and compassion for others. I’m better for having known him, and I feel certain he had this effect on countless others.

Mrhaughn

May 31st, 2012
10:22 am

Sky RIP….he gave me my first job in Athens as a doorman for the Nowhere Bar. In 1994….Awesome man bigger heart than most people knew… I wonder who will take over the bars??? This post comes from Istanbul… I guess I beat the Costa Rica guy…damn Good dawg!

Bianca Bekkers

May 31st, 2012
10:42 am

Sky was a wonderful landlord, neighbor, and friend. You will be missed big guy.

Travis Peck

May 31st, 2012
10:45 am

Craig Hertwig used to let us bass fish at his pond near Hot Thomas BBQ outside of Athens. SKY’s Place- the greatest dive bar of alltime, the dude was everywhere: golfing at the university course, seeing him stage left at Panic concerts, downtown at NOWHERE, Hoop-Dawgs games at the Stegasaurus, tailgates at GA Fla etc…all good dawgs go to Heaven!

Pope UGA XXIII

May 31st, 2012
10:54 am

I knew Sky for most of his life,back
in the days when he was simply Craig. We
lived in Athens in the late ’70’s & early
’80’s and had the terrible misfortune of
our oldest son being hit by a car by the
victory bell. He was in a body cast for
several weeks and when Craig heard about
it, guess who stopped by St Mary’s for a
visit? True gesture of kindness.
Your jersey is waiting big guy as is
Grizzard and Catfish. Damn good Dawg !!

Lance

May 31st, 2012
10:55 am

I will miss my friend. no matter how long I was away from home i could always count on Sky being Sky and some things never changing. I will miss the after rugby parties, the quarter poker nights and the friendship. Hopefully you will go out in the Bulldog Boogie Bus and not a herse.

irneville

May 31st, 2012
10:59 am

When I was at UGA (2000-2004), the big man was my next door neighbor and landlord on Bloomfield Way. Some great memories that still put a smile on my face are the direct result of him allowing me, my roommates, and some friends to build a wiffle ball field in the backyard complete with a “green monster” in left field that had to be at least 30ft tall and pitching mound. Sometimes, we’d come home from class and he’d be back there hitting golf balls into the “green monster” having a cold one.

I now live in Charleston, and too many years have passed since I called Athens home. However, whenever I would make it back for a home game, I’d always stop by Nowhere, and he’d always be there with that big, bear handshake and a smile on his face. I’m really going to miss that next time I’m in town.

Rest in peace, Sky. You were a great neighbor, landlord, and friend. You’ll be missed.

The Foundry Guy

May 31st, 2012
11:01 am

I had the pleasure of meeting Sky almost immediately upon coming to Athens as a freshman in ‘86. Didn’t every go to the Fifth Quarter, but spent a LOT of time at Sky’s and the Odyssey, then later at the Nowhere Bar. My favorite early memories were about playing Bar league softball for the Foundry against Sky’s Place. It wasn’t about who won or lost (although Sky did have all the ringers!), it was about who had the most fun drinking keg beer and doing shots at the Intramural fields. The good ole days.

Didn’t see Sky a lot over the past 10 years, except running into him downtown or at a Dawgs game, but it was always good to stop, say hello, have a quick catch up, then part ways until next time. And I always looked forward to the next time. We’ve lost an icon in the Classic City.

RIP Sky. You were a DGD and a helluva nice guy. Until next time…

Tim Campbell

May 31st, 2012
11:03 am

RIP Sky… I worked as a bartender at the Fifth Quarter 2 or 3 nights a week in the early 80’s. I’ll never forget Sky’s friendly, easy going personality, the quarter pitchers, the shuffleboard table and, funniest of all, the huge pot Sky wore on his head upon hearing the news that Sky Lab was falling. He was a great bulldog and a great man.

Pup

May 31st, 2012
11:08 am

I had the pleasure of working the bar at Sky’s for 4 years. Still some of the best memories I have from my college days. As many have said, Sky had a bigger heart than most will ever know. If I was ever in a jam, he was on a short list of people I knew I could call and without a doubt he would help. As I said to friend today, every time I go to Athens I can count on seeing the arch, the stadium, and Sky somewhere around town. Athens will never be quite the same for me. GO DAWGS, this year is for the “Big Man.”

mike

May 31st, 2012
11:08 am

As much grief as I gave bar owners during my time in Athens, Sky always took it with a smile and always acted like he knew me every time I would see him. It’s amazing how much $hit that guy must have put up with over the years from our drunkin 18-22 year old a$$es. Never without a smile on his face.

I wonder if his room in the big house will have that casino carpet in it from Sky’s Place.

Thanks for the memories Sky. RIP.

dawgfan75

May 31st, 2012
11:25 am

We have lost a good man. Over the years that I have known him I have only heard of him getting angry once. Some dumb drunk jerk in the Nowhere slapped a young woman. Sky saw it and confronted the guy. The dumb drunk tried to fight with Sky. Sky picked him up and threw him out(with one hand). He could have demolished the guy, but kept his cool even while angry. Sky didn’t put up with abusers. He was a class act. I will miss him.

Dawg Haus

May 31st, 2012
11:54 am

The Athens community lost a true legend. RIP, Sky. Our thoughts and prayers are with your family.

Bryan Chandlee-Exum

May 31st, 2012
12:24 pm

I was young and newly married and trying to sell Avon door to door. I was not having a successful day and decided to knock on ONE more door and guess whose apartment door i knocked on?!! Needless to say i was alarmed at first with his height and my 100 lb self, but he convinced me to come in and he ended up being one of my best customers for the next couple of years! Believe it or not he would remember me as “the Avon Lady” ever since then and was always polite, gracious and kind to me. A big hearted guy whose big heart finally gave out after all the loving he shared over the years in a small town that was lucky and appreciative to have him. Saying he will be missed is an understatement. Heaven is fortunate to have you Sky, what an awesome addition you will be.

Hunkering Hank

May 31st, 2012
12:43 pm

God Bless You SKY! You let me underage drink and eat hotdogs and party like a lunatic at your bars and you (and your bouncers) never beat me senseless like I probably deserved. You are legend.

I saw the man on the street last fall and he said “Hey” to me like always – we never knew one another, really, but we knew each others faces from some drunken haze someplace, and you were always cool about it.

GO DAWGS!

Big Bald Joe

May 31st, 2012
12:52 pm

I was a bouncer at Nowhere Bar for a little over a year 1995 – 1996 and my favorite Sky story is this . . . one day a bartender came in and yelled that Sky was in a fight across the street in the parkinglot. I ran outside and low and behold Sky had actually broken up a fight between 3 guys. He had 2 guys pinned against a car with his left forearm and one guy pinned to a different car with his right hip. He was still holding a Coor’s bottle in his right hand while he yelled at them for causing problems. When he saw me, I got yelled at because “I pay you to watch my bar, Joe!”

Sky you’ll be missed!

drjenn

May 31st, 2012
1:04 pm

I have so many memories of Sky. When I finished grad school, he had a huge poster printed up and strung across the bar congratulating me. I met my husband at Nowhere and we had planned to head there today for our anniversary tomorrow. I was looking forward to a big hug from Sky. He will be sorely missed in Athens.

Pooch Kick

May 31st, 2012
1:09 pm

RIP Sky, knew him at UGA, had classes together, also bumped into him in a Houston, TX bar while he was filming the movie, he paid the bar tab that night, DGD and friend God Bless

Cuz

May 31st, 2012
1:16 pm

Joe, that sounds exactly like the Sky I knew. Too dang funny but true.