Uga lovers (and who isn’t) can meet interim mascot Russ at Georgia's annual Fans’ Picture Day on Saturday, August 21. He’ll be in the press box at Sanford Stadium from 1-3pm for photo ops.
Russ made his debut November 28, 2009 against Georgia Tech after the untimely demise of his half-brother Uga VII a few weeks earlier. He ended his short season with a record of 2-0 and a bowl victory over Texas A&M. Despite his winning ways, poor Russ won't be promoted to Uga VIII because he doesn’t possess some key selection criteria: a pure white coat (mandatory), broad shoulders and a big ole head. Russ is a bit of a runt, as far as English bulldogs go, so it’s unlikely he’ll get the most celebrated mascot gig in the country.
Just how much do Dawg fans love Uga? Sonny Seiler, his owner, summed it up best: "People pet him so much his head gets sore. He’s like a politician who shakes too many hands."
Here’s a look back at Uga through the ages…
Uga I: “Hood’s Ole Dan” (1956-66). The very first Uga hit the sidelines during Georgia’s 1956 home opener. He served 10 years and posted a record of 53-48-6.
A true pioneer, Uga I didn’t have the comfort of an air-conditioned dog house. Instead, he found shade between and underneath the iconic hedges. His epitaph in the famed Uga mausoleum at Sanford Stadium simply reads: “Damn Good Dog.”
Uga II: “Ole Dan’s Uga” (1966-1972). Uga II stepped up to the role during the 1966 homecoming game. His impressive record of 42-16-3 included five bowl games and two SEC championships. His epitaph says: “Not bad for a Dog."
Uga III: “Seiler’s Uga Three” (1972-1980). Uga III was a true champion. He graced the sidelines during Georgia’s 1980 National Championship win over Notre Dame at the Sugar Bowl. During his nine-year tenure, he presided over six bowl games and posted a record of 71-32-2.
Uga III retired on his 100th game following the 1981 season opener and passed away a few weeks later. His epitaph reads: “How ‘Bout This Dawg.”
Uga IV: “Seiler’s Uga Four” (1981-1989). As far as records go, this dog had his day and then some. He was the only Uga to attend a bowl game every year of his reign. He was also the first mascot ever invited to the Heisman Banquet. On December 9, 1982, clad in a football jersey and collar with black tie, Uga accompanied Heisman-winner Herschel Walker to the Downtown Athletic Club in New York when he claimed his trophy.
Uga IV amassed a 77-24-4 career record, In 1991, Vince Dooley dubbed him “Dog of the Decade." That same year, he was posthumously awarded a Georgia varsity letter – the highest mascot honor. His epitaph proclaims:"The Dog of the Decade."
Uga V: “UGA IV’s Magillicuddy II” (1990-1999). Uga V was Uga IV's last son and the only one in the litter with a pure white coat. He is the namesake of legendary Georgia tennis coach Dan Magill.
Uga V was a real showboat. He captured the limelight in 1996 when he famously lunged at Auburn wide receiver Robert Baker as he enthusiastically celebrated a touchdown pass.On April 28, 1997, Uga V graced the cover of Sports Illustrated as the “Nation’s Best College Mascot.” In 1997, he also made a big-screen appearance in the movie “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” based on John Berendt’s blockbuster book.
Uga V's overall football record was 65-39-1. During his final year of service, Georgia teams won four NCAA titles, including women’s swimming and diving, women’s gymnastics, men’s tennis and men’s golf. Uga V’s epitaph reads: “Nation’s Best College Mascot.”
Uga VI: “Uga V’s Whatchagot Loran” (1999-2008). Along with having the best nickname ever, this history-making dog was Georgia's longest serving mascot at 114 games. He also racked up the most wins with 87 (87-27 overall).
Uga VI's record-setting reign began during his first season. Georgia made up a 25-point deficit at the 2000 Outback Bowl to claim victory over Purdue. The win stands as the largest comeback in collegiate bowl history. Uga VI left the scene the way he came in - with a bang. On January 1, 2008, he ended his career at the Sugar Bowl where Georgia posted a 41-10 win over Hawai’i and ended the season ranked #2 in the AP poll.
One more record belongs to Uga VI. He was Georgia’s biggest mascot at 65 pounds. Fittingly, his epitaph says: “A Big Dog For a Big Job, And He Handled It Well.”
Uga VII: “Loran’s Best” (2008-2009). Uga VII made his first appearance on August 20, 2008 at the season-opener against Georgia Southern. His short tenure featured an impressive 16-7 record. Sadly, Uga VII passed away unexpectedly on Nov. 19 just before the final home game against Kentucky. In his honor, players wore a special Uga VII decal on their helmets and a wreath was placed on his doghouse.
I think the Seiler family should consider nicknaming Uga VIII “Munson’s Hob-Nailed Stepson,” in honor of Georgia’s legendary radio announcer Larry Munson who retired in 2008 after 42 amazing seasons.
Got a nickname suggestion? Use the comment space below to share.
- 2010 Georgia Football Media Guide
- "Damn Good Dogs: The Real Story of Uga, the University of Georgia's Bulldog Mascots" (Nov 2006), Sonny Seiler and Kent Hannon