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June 11, 2009

One of the Finest Bulldogs Ever...

I saw a video (below) yesterday on the late Bill Hartman (photo--UGA Sports Communications) and it prompted me to write a post on one of the greatest Bulldogs of all time.

As a senior fullback in 1937, Hartman would be recognized as Georgia's lone first-team All-American during a five-season span from 1936 to 1940. Towards the end of the '37 campaign, he was moved to quarterback because of a rash of injuries sustained by the team. Nevertheless, it was Hartman's punting and kick returning, not his play at quarterback, that would turn an apparent season on the decline into one of a success.

Against Tulane in mid-November, Hartman's 17 punts, including several that pinned the Green Wave down towards their goal line, for more than a 40-yard average were the highlight of a 7-6 victory for Georgia. Following a 0-0 tie against Auburn a week later, the Bulldogs secured their second consecutive draw--a 6-6 decision versus Georgia Tech. Georgia's lone points and only time it would cross the 50-yard line into Yellow Jacket territory came on a 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Hartman. The All-American and his fellow Bulldogs went undefeated against this trio of powerful foes despite gaining only 167 COMBINED offensive yards in the three games.

For three separate stints (1939-1942, 1946-1956, 1974-1994) totalling 36 seasons, Hartman was an assistant on the Bulldog coaching staff. After a collegiate playing career during which he was identified as one of college football's most underrated players, Hartman seemingly became, besides Erk Russell, Georgia's most well-known assistant coach in its history.

The video from Damn Good Dog!:

This video of Hartman and Uga V occurred during the pregame of Georgia's victory over Ole Miss in 1992. Adding to the incident, Uga was scheduled to be the first live mascot ever to appear at Arkansas' Razorback Stadium the following Saturday after Hartman's fall. It would be the first ever SEC contest for Arkansas after playing in the now defunct Southwest Conference for years. The SWC had not allowed live mascots on playing fields.

As a new member of the SEC, Arkansas was set to welcome Uga V. That is, until Hartman nearly disabled the damn good dawg. Uga's close call triggered owner Sonny Seiler to think about the mascot's future lineage. So, instead of traveling to Fayetteville, Arkansas, Uga spent the weekend with a female companion carrying on his bloodline in Moultrie, Georgia.
I'll be on vacation for the next week, so I'll probably won't be posting anything for a little while. Go Dawgs!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My cousin, proud of Bill Hartman .