Uga (pronounced Ugggga) is indeed a rock star as he is known as the nation’s most well-known mascot over the last 100 years of intercollegiate football. The line of pure white English bulldogs has been owned by the Frank W. “Sonny” Seiler family of Savannah since Uga I graced the campus in 1956. He was given his name, an abbreviation of the university, by Billy Young of Columbus, a law school classmate of Seiler.
The label “mascot” at the University of Georgia has had an interesting history. At the beginning of its inaugural football season in 1892, the the team had no nickname. By its 2nd game against Auburn, the team adopted a goat, Sir William, for its mascot. Auburn fans greeted Sir William with the cry of “Shoot the Billy Goat.” Throughout the years, the team mascots have included a variety of dogs, the “Crackers” in the early 1900s, and even the “Wildcats” by the fall of 1920.
After UGA was known as the “Wildcats” for several games into the 1920 football season, the team became known as the “Bulldogs” with the backing of sports writers at the Atlanta Journal and Atlanta Constitution. Their thinking was as follows: “… there is a certain dignity about a bulldog, as well as ferocity, and the name is not as common as ‘Wildcats’ and ‘Tigers’.” In the late 1920s, “Mugs”, a bulldog owned by a UGA veterinary professor was selected as mascot. “Mugs” and his descendants would serve as mascot until 1951 when the Athens Touchdown Club held a contest to select a new bulldog mascot, “Stinky.” “Stinky” and his successor “Mike” led the teams until 1955 with the emergence of the Uga era.
The current Uga line of solid white English bulldogs began with Uga I, born December 2, 1955 in Columbus. Uga I was given to Cecelia Seiler of Savannah by a friend, Frank Heard of Columbus and appeared in is first game in the 1956 home opener. Uga I’s epitaph: Damn Good Dog.
Uga X – “Que” is the current mascot of the Georgia Bulldogs and is the grandson of the late Uga IX, “Russ.” UGA is the only major college that actually buries its mascots within the confines of the stadium – in marble vaults near the main gate in the embankment of the South stands. Epitaphs to the dogs are inscribed in bronze, and before each home game, flowers are placed on their graves.
Uga IV was perhaps the most active of all of the Georgia mascots, standing as the only one to attend a bowl game every year of his service (1981-89). He led Georgia to a nine season record of 77-24-4. The highlight of his career was his personal appearance at the Heisman Trophy Banquet with Herschel Walker in New York on December 9, 1982. The proud Bulldog was escorted through the banquet hall by the president of the Downtown Athletic Club and donned his game jersey for the outing but added the formal touch of a collar and black tie. Uga IV was the first mascot invited to the Heisman Banquet. He was posthumously awarded the highest honor available to UGA mascots – the GA varsity letter. Epitaph: The Dog of the Decade.
Good luck Uga X as you represent your team this Saturday, September 17, against the Missouri Tigers.