rent like champion

September 14, 2012

"Go You Hairless 'Dogs" revisited

Even "black dudes" Ronnie Swoopes (front), James
Moreen, Curtis Williams, Larry Razor (center L-R),
and Bob Hope (back) were "doing it."
During this week, I visited with a former Georgia football player, who is in town for the 1972 team reunion being held today at the Athens Country Club.  This ex-Bulldog  a senior on the 1976 SEC championship squad – reiterated that the death of teammate Hugh Hendrix during the summer of '76 undoubtedly united the team and aided in clinching the conference title that year. 
 
In addition, he declared, "when many of us shaved our heads, that certainly helped in unifying the team, as well."
 
The account of the bald Bulldogs from yesteryear is a good history lesson for a program whose team unity has been called into question a time or two (...or three) over the last three or four seasons.  However, in the wake of Georgia's three-touchdown win over Missouri last Saturday  a statement victory when Georgia outlasted the Tigers down the stretch in a true team effort  today's Bulldogs may finally be reminiscent of Erk Russell's "big TEAM, little me" philosophy.
 
Speaking of the greatest defensive coordinator in the history of college football...
 
When the Bulldogs took to the practice field nine days prior to their season opener versus 15th-ranked Cal in 1976, more than 20 players had completely shaved their heads, while the normally bald Russell jokingly sported a wig.  It appeared a good portion of the team had emulated the acclaimed assistant, or did "just one of those crazy things you sometimes do in college," said senior quarterback Ray Goff.
 
But how did the hairy Dogs become hairless?  Personally, I've heard several different renditions over the years, while a number of different players have taken the credit for beginning the slick-headed fashion.  Even one particular assistant coach, and not Russell, once told me that he was the one that started the trend.  Nonetheless, and not surprisingly, it's actually a couple of linemen that should receive the full recognition.
 
Apparently, senior center Ken Helms had just received a $6 haircut from an Athens barber, and ironically a hair dryer from his father, who did not approve of his son's new hairdo.  Senior tackle Mike "Moonpie" Wilson also did not like his teammate's hair style, so Helms promptly shaved it all off.  Upon a dare from Helms, Wilson quickly did the same to his hair.  
 
Within hours of the first shavings, quarterback Goff added that even "the black dudes are doing it now," according to the article "Go You Hairless 'Dogs" in the 9/3/76 edition of the Athens Banner-Herald.  By the season-opening game against the Golden Bears, the number of bald Bulldogs had reached about 30, including 14 starters.       
 
Talk about team unity.
 
"You can tell which ones of us are from South Georgia," Goff humorously stated.  "Our heads ain't smooth like those city slickers from Atlanta.  We got scars all over our heads."
The Bulldogs -- some of which remained bald
-- arrive in New Orleans for the '77 Sugar
Bowl, including Vince Dooley with a toupee.

By the end of a 10-1 and SEC championship regular season, even more players and assistants had took to the shears, some of them more than once.  For others that had once been scalped, there was no longer evidence of such as all of their locks had grown back over the course of more than three months.  As for the head Bulldog of them all, Vince Dooley, he shocked a crowd of a few hundred in mid-December at a coronation party to celebrate the SEC title at Poss' Lakeview in Athens.  While speaking, the head coach suddenly jerked off a wig to expose a bald head, exclaiming that he too had become one of the many clean-shaven Dogs.
 
Just before the Cal game back in September, it seems Dooley had pledged to his team that if it captured the SEC championship and then defeated Georgia Tech, he would "shave his entire body," according to a newspaper report. 
 
Entire body?  As mentioned, Dooley would indeed become bald on top, but a hairless Dog all over? 

Now if true, such a shaving stunt was really, as they say, taking one for the team...  

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