Saturday, July 31, 2010

Living Legends: My Top Five

Herschel Walker...Dominique Wilkins...Theresa Edwards...Charley Trippi...

That's just a few. And every Dawg has their own favorite, assuming they can narrow the list to one. But who is the greatest living legend in Georgia Bulldog sports history? What name is most synonymous with UGA Athletics?

There are a number of ways to take on this challenge. You could argue first that football is the biggest of sports in Athens and that Vince Dooley roamed the sidelines 'tween the hedges for a quarter century. Or maybe you prefer to talk impact for his/her team. If so, it'd be hard to argue against either Walker or Edwards.

For me however, I choose to look at impact over time. Who is the historical Dawg figure who's bark is as distinctive as their continuing contribution? Here's my top five living legends in Georgia Bulldog history:

5. Sonny Seiler - this should likely read the Seiler Family I guess. They're singularly responsible for the world's greatest mascot. And Uga is as steeped in Georgia Bulldog lore and tradition as...well, as anyone or anything. Much more so in fact. The mascot is adored by fans, but will always be first and foremost the Seilers' labor of love.

4. Herschel Walker - UGAs greatest athlete is also one of its greatest ambassadors. He left us a year early and craving for more, but has never forgotten his roots. He's the type of player the sport of football only glimpses once in a lifetime, so it's hard to argue against him being in the top five. His mere presence 'tween the hedges may have been decided by the toss of a coin, but it also brought to Athens the greatest three year run in Georgia football's storied history.

3. Vince Dooley - he's a legendary coach that gave 40 years to UGA. His 25 years as head coach will almost certainly never be matched. He started his career by out-coaching Bobby Dodd and never really looked back. By the end he had tallied 201 career victories and six SEC titles.

2. Larry Munson - the gravelly voice helped us get the picture for 42 seasons and is legendary in itself. But the words Munson chose during those years were what made him unequalled, remarkably unique and adored by so many. Great plays on the Georgia football field are not simply known for their athleticism and grace, but also the voice that brought them to life over the airwaves. In my mind Munson stands a bit taller than all except one man...

1. Dan Magill - Plain and simple, Coach Magill is UGA Athletics. He not only embodies the spirit of being a Dawg, but he's been around the campus for decades, nearly a century to tell the truth. He started as a bat boy but has since been an athlete (tennis and swimming), coach, SID, Georgia Bulldog Club secretary and longtime historian. He even had two Ugas named after him. What bigger honor is there than that?

To put it plainly, whenever the time comes that Dan Magill is no longer in the midst of the Dawg Nation but has ventured on to bark with the Ugas named after him, Lewis Grizzard, Francis Sinkwich, Wally Butts...and a host of others, there will be a resounding sigh among our legions of barkers. The loss will not garner the headlines that some others would, but his absence will be a chasm that no other could fill.

So there's my five. What are yours? What's wrong with mine? Who'd I miss? In other words, it's your turn...


JenniferfromLaJolla said...

The name "most synonymous with UGA athletics" in my opinion is Herschel Walker. Growing up in Virginia the first time I heard about UGA it was because of Herschel Walker. In California, people who know nothing else about the school can and do come up with "Herschel Walker played there, right?" So, I'd have in him the number one spot, though I understand why you put Coach Magill there. I think Larry Munson and Vince Dooley are number two and three and am not sure about the other two spots.

Bernie said...

I think most people nationwide would probably agree with you LaJolla. But even if Herschel's quarter had come up Clempson, I'd still be as much a Dawg as I am today. However, if Munson had stayed in Minnesota or settled in Nashville....or if Magill had ventured away from Athens...I don't think my experience would be as rich as it has been.

But most importantly, I'm glad we can have the argument as to who is most deserving. The list is much shorter for Vandy fans and not nearly as solid for the helluva engineers. Ha!

MikeInValdosta said...

Great post, great list. Really ove the appreciation for Dan Magill.

Larry Munson is probably our greatest contribution to sports. IMO, there are three things everyone knows about UGA; Uga, Herschel, and Larry.

Ollllddude said...

Dan Magill is spot on, imo. Herschel may be more famous outside of the University itself, but no one - and I mean no one, including Mehre, Butts, Dooley, et al. - has done more for UGA athletics over time in more different ways than Dan. Plus, he has that great accent.

Good list, imo.

genxdawg said...

I could go about this several ways and end up with different lists each time, but I'm choosing to go with the FIRST FIVE THINGS THAT COME TO MY MIND when I thing about Georgia:

1. Uga
2. Munson
3. Herschel
4. Vince
5. Frank Sinkwich

Sorry to bend the rules.

Bernie said...

Rulz, smulz...great list!

AthensHomerDawg said...

Great post. Seems like we have a mix in our choices. Hero's, DGD, and Legends. People become legendary for what they did, events and actions that bordered on the miraculous. Just remember a great baseball movie once said, "Heros live forever but legends never die."
just sayin'

Bernie said...

Yeh, I can see that. And maybe my view is skewed. But those five (and many more behind them) are all heroes, legends and DamnGoodDawgs!

AthensHomerDawg said...

True That!