First, I needed a name for these posts. On twitter Ron is solely responsible for the hashtag #GATA. Well, almost solely. So this is both a tribute to him as well as something y'all can recognize immediately from the title going forward as I add to the museum, hopefully each week.
Next I had to decide how to go about the project. My first thought was chronologically. But in the end I just wanted to pick and choose as certain pictures and stories caught my eye. And with all the talk about Herschel recently...and you know, not to mention the fact that he was a pretty good player...I thought there's not really a better place to start.
Source - Athens Banner Herald/The Daily News
Date - Sunday November 30th, 1980
Context - Dawgs beat Nerds 38-20 in the season finale as Walker gains 205 yards, easily surpassing Tony Dorsett's seven year record for rushing yards by a freshman.
Photo courtesy of Wingate Downs
Headline - Walker Gets Record; Heisman Next?
Photo caption - Herschel Walker Passed Tony Dorsett's NCAA Freshman Rushing Record vs Georgia Tech
Of course, despite being the best college football player in the nation Herschel would not take home the Heisman in 1980. He finished third behind George Rogers and Hugh Green. The Georgia tailback sensation was clearly penalized for not being a senior, something he could not help anymore than he could help the fact that Bill Bates got in his way up in Knoxville. For more on that subject you can probably do no better than T Kyle King's explanation for just how egregious was the hosing that Herschel received.
Back to the historical clipping, you oldtimers probably remember Coach Mike Cavan was the coach in charge of recruiting Herschel as well as his position coach in Athens. In the article by ABH Sports Editor Blake Giles there's a quote from Cavan that pretty much sums up the 1980 season as well as how those in Silver Britches felt about #34's Heisman résumé.
"For what his contribution to an 11-0 team has been...I think he deserves it. I sure do."
Well, in the end the trophy came a couple years later. But looking back what really stands out about this inaugural addition to the GATArchives is that Herschel Walker finished his freshman campaign with a bang by running all over the Yellow Jackets and right by Tony Dorsett in the record book. Then he readied himself for a National Championship game and a perfect 12-0 season.
GATA Herschel. Damn Good Dawg!