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December 29, 2010

Georgia Football vs. Eventual Bulldogs

On Christmas Day, some family members and I were talking about Georgia's upcoming Liberty Bowl bout.  One relative ask me what I knew of the first Liberty Bowl the Bulldogs played in - a 14-7 loss to N.C. State in 1967:  "How in the world did we lose to North Carolina State?"

"Jim Donnan was the main reason," I replied.

"Donnan was also the main reason we lost games three decades later," another relative quipped.

In being recognized as the ACC Player of the Year in 1967, according to Coach and Athlete magazine, Donnan guided N.C. State to its best record (9-2) in school history.  Against the Bulldogs in Memphis, the senior quarterback completed 16 of 24 passes for 121 yards, including the first points of the game on a 6-yard touchdown pass to teammate Harry Martell.

The Wolfpack's win in the Liberty Bowl was the first victory by an ACC football team over a member of the SEC in 24 tries.  Donnan followed up his stellar regular season by being named MVP of the bowl. 

Nearly thirty years after the bowl game, there was a Donnan of a New Era for Georgia football in 1996.  And with it, for the fourth and latest time in UGA football history - and something I find rather intriguing - an individual who had opposed Georgia as a player, eventually joined the Bulldog Nation by becoming its head football coach.

The three prior instances:

VINCE DOOLEY: While a quarterback at Auburn (1951-1953), Dooley saw reserve duty against Georgia in losses of 1951 and 1952, but finally defeated the Bulldogs as the Tigers' starting signal caller as a senior in 1953.

In a 39-18 Auburn victory in '53, Captain Dooley completed 6 of 9 passes for 116 yards and a touchdown and also scored on a quarterback sneak.  His passing touchdown was his second against where he would eventually become a coaching legend as Dooley had tossed a 35-yard scoring pass against the Bulldogs as a sophomore in a 46-14 loss.   

WALLY BUTTS: In his final two seasons at Mercer (1926-1927), a 5-6 and 155-pound Butts played an end position against Georgia in consecutive losses.  In a 20-0 Mercer setback in the 1926 season opener against the Bulldogs, Butts was acknowledged as a "luminary" in the Bear line.

Coached by Bernie Moore, an acclaimed LSU football coach from 1935-1947 and later Commissioner of the SEC, Butts would earn All-Southern Conference honors as a senior in 1927.  In a 26-7 loss to Georgia in mid-November, Butts' roommate - "Phoney" Smith - returned a kickoff 95 yards, becoming the first southern player to score a touchdown against Georgia's great "Dream and Wonder Team" in seven games.  

Just one year later, Butts immediately jumped into coaching, becoming the head football coach of the Monroe High School (Ga.) Aggies.  Only a little over a decade later, he would be named UGA football's 20th head coach.

FRANK DOBSON: And now the most interesting case of a Georgia football head coach having previously played against the Bulldogs, or in this case, against the Red and Black...

I posted a piece on Frank Dobson - Georgia's 14th head football coach - 18 months ago, but here's his intriguing "story" in a nutshell: A minor league baseball player from 1906-1911 and 1913, Dobson also found time to be an assistant football coach at Georgia Tech in 1908 and the athletics director and head football coach at the University School at Stone Mountain in 1909. 

That same year, Dobson was also the star quarterback for the Olympians - a club team from Atlanta - who was defeated by Georgia on October 2nd. (Although it undoubtedly should be, the 1909 Georgia win over the Atlanta Olympians in football is not YET considered official by UGA, although I'm working on it...)

After coaching the University School to the Georgia state football championship and also refereeing some collegiate contests (including those of UGA), Dobson was brought in to co-coach Georgia's struggling football squad.  

UGA's coaching change in 1909 for Dobson, where "he taught [the team] more football in two weeks he was with them than they knew all the rest of the season," occurred less than two months after Dobson had played quarterback against the very same Georgia team.

Although it appears Dobson coached Georgia for only a single game, from 1910-1939, he was the head football coach at Clemson, Richmond, South Carolina, and Maryland for a combined 28 seasons.


Anonymous said...

I am getting tired of reading advertisements by Marcus on Patrick Garbin's blogs. Marcus--if you have something to say about Patrick's excellent entries go ahead and do it. If you have something to advertise, I suggest you find another source.
Old Dawg

Patrick Garbin said...

I'm sick of them also, Old Dawg. I'm looking into trying to get rid of Marcus and his "posts."