UGA, The Goat and Other Interesting Facts about the University of Georgia’s Nickname and Mascots

Courtesy of Beussery at English Wikipedia

The University of Georgia’s official nickname is the “Bulldogs,” and has a live bulldog named “UGA” that roams the sidelines during football games.  However, the school, during its athletic history, has had several different monikers and live mascots.

Some people believe that the University of Georgia took its nickname from the Yale University Bulldogs. Georgia’s first president, Abraham Baldwin, graduated from Yale, but no definitive evidence can be found that Georgia adopted the bulldog moniker from Yale. Before 1920, University of Georgia sports teams had nicknames such as the “Crackers,” the “Wildcats,” and the “Bulldogs.”  Morgan Blake is credited with the call for the “Bulldogs” as the permanent nickname for the school.  In a November 3, 1920 article in the Atlanta Journal, Blake wrote, “The Georgia Bulldogs would sound good because there is a certain dignity about a bulldog, as well as ferocity.”  Several days later in the Atlanta Constitution, Cliff Wheatley used the name “Bulldogs” five times in his piece about the Georgia-Virginia game that ended in a 0-0 tie in Charlottesville.

The UGA live bulldog story began in earnest in 1956 when Georgia alumnus Frank “Sonny” Seiler took an English bulldog to the first home football game that season.  Apparently impressed with the dog, Georgia coach Wally Butts asked Seiler if he would allow the dog to become the school’s official mascot.  From a suggestion from a college friend, the dog became known as “UGA.” That dog took the official name of UGA I and Mr. Seiler has provided the dog’s offspring to serve as the official UGA mascot since then.  Currently, UGA X roams the sidelines.

UGAs that have passed on have their remains placed in a mausoleum located at the southwest corner of Sanford Stadium.  A eulogy and a brief description of a dog’s time as UGA are etched on a plaque under each dog’s respective tomb.  A bronze, life-sized UGA statue guards the entrance to the mausoleum.

UGA can be seen at every home football game and some road games, as well as other sporting events and school functions.  The dog normally wears a spiked collar and a red jersey with a “G” on the front.  The jersey is made of the same material as that of the human jerseys.  However, the school, which has played football since 1892, has had a few other live mascots over the years.

The first was “The Goat” in 1892.  The animal first appeared at the Mercer game on January 30, 1892 and the initial Auburn game on February 22.  The Goat donned a black coat with red letters “U. G.” on each side.

Trilby, a white Bull Terrier, owned by student Charles Black, Sr. came to games in 1894.  After Trilby no animal earned the distinction of “official mascot” until the 1944 season.

From 1944-46, Mr. Angel, a brindle-and-white English bulldog, assumed the official mascot reins.  Butch and Tuffy, English bulldogs, took over in 1947.  Tuffy passed after the Kentucky game in 1948, after which Butch manned (dogged) the sidelines until after the 1951 season.  Keeping with the English bulldog tradition, Mike assumed the official mascot mantle from 1951-1955, then handed the scepter (bone) to Frank Seiler’s UGA I the next season.

The University of Georgia has a proud athletic tradition and one that includes a goat, a bull terrier, and a litter of bulldogs.  Go Dawgs!

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