News

Message from Executive Director


Mark Slonaker

Happy Holidays Georgia Bulldog Club members!

We wish each and every one of you a wonderful holiday season! Please keep our student-athletes in your thoughts and prayers as they take their final exams and travel about the country for competitions and some family time during December. We encourage you to take advantage of our home games that are played in Stegeman Coliseum during the academic break. This is a fantastic opportunity to have your family enjoy seeing the men’s and women’s basketball teams play against some great competition. Go to georgiadogs.com for a schedule.

The 2015 William C. Hartman Fund brochure will be sent out in early December. Please be on the lookout for the important information contained in your brochure. We have a 7 game home schedule again for the 2015 season, highlighted by visits from Louisiana Monroe, Alabama, South Carolina, Southern, Missouri, Kentucky and Georgia Southern! Sanford Stadium will be the place to be as we cheer on the Dawgs to another great season.

Please contact The Georgia Bulldog Club with any questions you may have about donating to any of our 4 annual funds and also supporting our program through a philanthropic gift. Call 877.423.2947 for more information on how you can support the Dawgs!

TOGETHER WE MAKE GEORGIA GREAT!

Mark Slonaker
Executive Director
The Georgia Bulldog Club


Staff Feature: Michelle Jones


Recent Athletic News

2014 Year-End Fundraising Totals

The Georgia Bulldog Club is pleased to announce its members contributed a grand total of $29.6 million to its four annual funds for the 2014 calendar year. This number eclipsed the 2013 annual giving total by $1.1 million and was the highest total since 2008.

The 2014 giving totals are comprised of nearly 16,000 members of The Georgia Bulldog Club. Membership stretches over 43 states and three countries.

"We are blessed with donors who have consistently supported our program in a substantial way over many years," said J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Greg McGarity. "The true Bulldog spirit is clearly illustrated annually by the generosity of our supporters and we are fortunate to have a donor base that is committed to the well-being of our student-athletes."

Donors contributing to the annual fund total gave to one of four funds; the 2014 William C. Hartman, Jr. Fund (WCHF), the 2014 Basketball Enhancement Fund (BEF), the 2015 Gymnastics Fund (GEF) and the newly established 2015 Georgia Baseball Fund (GBF). All three previously established annual funds witnessed growth from the 2013 to 2014 calendar years.

The WCHF reached $24,387,563 in 2014, its highest total since 2008. These private donations helped increase the WCHF $930,000 from the previous year. Donations towards The Georgia Bulldog Club’s Sky Suite program raised a total of $4,230,350.

BEF donations increased to $684,553, a $52,000 increase from 2013. This is the third highest all-time BEF total.

For the second consecutive year, the GEF witnessed its highest donation total ever, increasing to a $207,132.

With on-going renovations to Foley Field set to be finalized by the start of the 2015 Georgia Baseball season, this fall The Georgia Bulldog Club introduced the GBF. Donors contributed over $150,000 for the 2015 season, in large part due to two new premium seating options: the Dugout Club and the Press Level Club.

The Georgia Bulldog Club is charged with providing student-athlete scholarships, first class facilities and the financial support necessary for each of UGA’s 21 Varsity sport programs. Annual donations to the four funds assist with the $99 million budget the UGA Athletic Association sets forth for the betterment of all its athletic programs.

The next annual fund priority deadline is the 2015 WCHF drive February 15, 2015. Any current or prospective donor wishing to impact the lives of UGA student-athletes and receive 2014 tax credit may make a contribution to The Georgia Bulldog Club by December 31st.

For further information on how you can join The Georgia Bulldog Club by contributing to one of its annual funds, please visit www.thegeorgiabulldogclub.com, email gadawgs@sports.uga.edu or call 877 423.2947.

Justin Scott-Wesley: 413 Days and a Dream Come True

Touchdown, Georgia.


Hearing those two words followed by his name is the dream of many a boy growing up in the Peach State. When he puts on the red and black for the very first time, that dream becomes more tangible. But that first touchdown catch, that first time his name is called and 92,000 people roar with excitement, that is the dream come true.

For redshirt junior Justin Scott-Wesley, dreams can come true more than once.

Late in the fourth quarter of a game against Georgia Southern in November 2011, Scott-Wesley, a wide receiver, hauled in a 13-yard pass from Parker Welch to boost the Bulldogs to a 42-10 win. That was the first touchdown of his career.

Scott-Wesley’s sophomore campaign was impressive, as he averaged nearly 20 yards-per-catch and more than 60 yards-per-game. He recorded an 85-yard touchdown catch against South Carolina, and his dream was realized again when the No. 9 Bulldogs upset the No. 6 LSU Tigers, 44-41.

Down 37-41 with less than four minutes left of the clock, Aaron Murray connected with Scott-Wesley for a 25-yard score, the game-winning score. Touchdown, Georgia.

“The hype of the game, the electricity in the stadium and for me to be able to come out and seal the game with a touchdown—it was just amazing,” he says.

But the very next week, Scott-Wesley tore his ACL in the Tennessee game and was forced to hang up his cleats for months. A long rehab process followed as he prepared for the 2014 season.

Yet this season did not go as planned. He was sidelined before ever seeing the field with ankle and hand injuries. Though he had played in two games prior to Saturday, he had recorded no catches. When many would have given up, Scott-Wesley continued to persevere.

Scott-Wesley put on his pads for Saturday’s game against Charleston Southern, but he said that nothing was different.

“Every game I go into, I expect something big to happen,” he says. “It wasn’t really anything special, just me going out and doing my job.”

But Saturday ended up being very special. It was the fourth time his dream came true.

Midway through the first quarter, Scott-Wesley brought in a 19-yard-pass from Hutson Mason. Touchdown, Georgia. It was his first reception and score of the season. In fact, it was his first catch in 413 days and his first touchdown in 19 games.

“I really can’t describe the feeling,” he says. “I went out and did what I’m capable of doing.”

It was a dream that would have been easy to give up on. With injuries stacked against him and the season quickly passing by, Scott-Wesley put his head down and worked. In Georgia’s 55-9 win over Charleston Southern, he finished with two catches for 33 yards and a touchdown.

“One thing about me, my career, I’ve never been thrust into the spotlight,” he says. “I’ve always had to be working. I’ve always had to be patient. Being patient is something that I know how to do. I’m a hard worker and I’m just trying to go forward.”

His work ethic and his commitment to the game are what set him apart. Whether his name is being called over the loudspeaker or he is doing rehab exercises in the training room, Scott-Wesley stays focused. It is what he knows best, and it is also what his teammates love about him.

“One thing you can say Justin does—he works hard and he keeps a smile on his face,” senior Jonathon Rumph, a fellow wide receiver, says. “He brings the focus and the energy to keep you working hard. That’s a player you want to be around. That’s a player that you want to have on your team because he makes you better and he doesn’t even know it.”

Gym Dogs Committed to Serving Local Community

In the midst of busy preseason training, the University of Georgia Gym Dogs spent Monday afternoon coaching Special Olympics gymnasts in the Suzanne Yoculan Gymnastics Center.

Each Monday, the Gym Dogs and coaching staff host local Special Olympics gymnasts and assist with their practices. These same young athletes that train with the Gym Dogs perform before one Georgia home meet each year.


“We love working with the Special Olympics athletes,” senior Chelsea Davis says. “Monday afternoons are one of our favorite times of the week. These kids bring us so much joy, and it is so fun supporting them in the sport we all love.”

The Gym Dogs are also involved with four elementary schools in Oconee County on a weekly basis. The gymnasts greet students on Wednesday mornings, helping them move safely from the car to school. Other Gym Dogs participate in a reading program at those elementary schools. The team also speaks to groups about the importance of a healthy lifestyle.

“One of my favorite things about community service is that there are so many opportunities to connect with people in our community, regardless of age or reasoning,” junior Brittany Rogers says. “Our gymnastics team is very appreciative of the support we receive, and we want to give back to the community that helps keep our legacy alive.”

This fall, the Gym Dogs have already used unique opportunities to give back. In conjunction with the first annual Pumpkin Peek on Oct. 25, the Gym Dogs collected 72 cans of food for a local food bank. On Oct. 10, the team and staff participated in the Light the Night walk benefitting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.


“The LLS walk hits close to home because of all the cancer that is in my family and in families that are part of this team,” head coach Danna Durante says.

Because of the effect of cancer on the Gym Dog community, Durante and former head coach Suzanne Yoculan wanted to do more. This season, the team will launch a new initiative called Gym Dogs United. Program alumni and current gymnasts are joining forces to raise funds and awareness for the Cancer Foundation of Northeast Georgia.

“We are incredibly blessed and absolutely have a heart for giving back to this community and making sure that we are able to share what we’ve been given with others,” Durante says. “That’s something these athletes need to do when they leave here. It doesn’t just need to happen here because it sounds good or it’s a nice thing to do. It really needs to be part of who they are so that when they go wherever they settle, they can get involved in the lives of the people in the community that they live in.”

Bulldogs Spread Holiday Cheer through Salvation Army

ATHENS, Ga. -- The Georgia women's tennis team got a head start on spreading the holiday cheer by helping out with the local Salvation Army Angel Tree initiative.

The program, which is designed to help provide underprivileged families in Athens-Clarke county with toys and gifts for Christmas, relies on a donation center to house any items that are submitted for the cause. Due to the generous donations of many, the amount of gifts that can pile up in the donation center can be a bit overwhelming until volunteers arrive to help sort out the clutter. Enter the Bulldogs, who rolled into the donation center on Wednesday to help sort through, organize, and box the various toys.

"We helped organize gifts for children of all ages and separated the gifts whether they were for boys or girls,” said senior Lauren Herring. “Some of us ended up playing with the gifts, too, and we had a lot of fun. In the end, we were able to help out and it was a good experience."

This is the second community service project that the Bulldogs have helped out with this fall, as the team also assisted Habitat for Humanity with a house-building project back in September.

"We always enjoy getting out in the local community and giving back a little," said assistant coach Drake Bernstein. "It's important to us that we continue to make differences in peoples' lives both on and off the court."

The Bulldogs will return to the court on Jan. 24-25, when they host the ITA Kickoff Weekend at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.

Georgia Signs Dandy Dozen For 2016 Season


ATHENS-----Georgia baseball coach Scott Stricklin announced that 12 student-athletes have signed national letters-of-intent with UGA. They will join the Bulldog baseball program for the 2016 season.

"We're excited about the 12 student-athletes we're adding to our baseball program," Stricklin said. "Coaches Scott Daeley and Fred Corral did an outstanding job of putting this class together, and it's going to add a lot of pitching depth and several players that can help us offensively too. We're proud that all 12 new Bulldogs hail from the state of Georgia."

Eleven of the newcomers will arrive from the high school ranks and one will be coming from a junior college in the state. More information on the signees can be found here: Dandy Dozen.

Student-Athlete Advisory Committee Shines In Hunger Bowl

ATHENS, Ga. --- With the holiday season approaching, the University of Georgia’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) made a large contribution to the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia’s Hunger Bowl, donating over 6,000 pounds of food to those in need.

In all, 88 teams in the Northeast Georgia community participated in the Hunger Bowl and competed against others to donate as much food as possible during the two-week period.

“The Athletic Association is appreciative of the initiative that our student-athletes have taken, and the support they were given by the staff,” said UGA’s Director of the CHAMPS/Life Skills program Robert Miles. “The Hunger Bowl is one of the many opportunities they take advantage of to gave back to the community through volunteer efforts.”

SAAC’s mission is to enhance the student-athlete experience through a number of initiatives throughout the year, with membership comprised of representatives from each sport.

The Legendary Loran Smith


Loran Smith pushed off from his desk and leaned back in his big, leather chair. He gazed out the window, his eyes seeing more than the blue sky and golden leaves twinkling outside in the wind. He was looking back, remembering. He was talking about Larry Munson. But he interrupted his reflections to exclaim, “My chair’s broken!”

The typically put-together Smith was lounging so far back that he was nearly parallel to the floor. He paused. Smith’s old friend Munson was known to famously break his own chair a time or two. The smile lines around Smith’s eyes grew deeper for a moment before he continued telling stories of how their friendship began.

Munson is a name that takes us all back. We can hear his voice in an instant. We remember when sugar fell from the sky, we remember when Lindsay ran, we remember that unmistakable hobnail boot. Yeah, yeah, yeah, Munson is a special name to the Bulldog Nation.

On this week three years ago, Larry Munson left us. He died on Nov. 20, 2011 at the age of 89. We all mourned his loss, a loss that still stings to this day. But we also celebrate him. Indeed, he reminds us each Saturday that there is no institution worthy of such loyalty as the University of Georgia.

As we pause to remember one, it is only fitting that we also honor his counterpart. We could not have imagined one without the other. They were the ultimate dream team, the voices that struck a cord deep in the hearts of the Bulldog faithful.

Smith was the high-pitched, smooth, southern melody to Munson’s gravelly, deep and explosive play calling. Munson began on the broadcast in 1966 and Smith in 1974. “For years and years and years, it wasn’t just ‘Munson.’ It was ‘Larry and Loran,’” Scott Howard, Georgia’s current play-by-play announcer, says.

Now, 40 years after their first season on the air together, Smith can still be heard talking Georgia football on the radio, his voice a little slower and softer but smooth as ever. He is without his most famous colleague, but Smith is a legend in his own right.

“Loran is the ultimate jack of all trades,” Claude Felton, Georgia’s longtime sports communications director puts it. He is a staff member at the UGA Athletic Association, but he is much more than that. Smith is an author, fundraiser, columnist, syndicated radio talk show host, former sideline and locker room reporter, sports historian and friend to thousands around the globe. “He is a magnificent ambassador of the university,” Felton says.

When Smith is not socializing with his incredible list of contacts (ranging from Hollywood celebrities to NFL head coaches), he is likely writing a new book, developing the script for his radio show or working on a feature story of an old or a new friend. His pride is the University of Georgia, but his joy is celebrating the accomplishments of others. And so to the man who makes a living honoring his comrades, we take a moment to honor you.

People know the name Loran Smith, especially around Georgia and the Southeast. But the man behind the name, behind the radio voice, is a husband, father and grandfather. He is up before the sun each morning, coming into work early to write. He goes back home to eat breakfast with his wife, Myrna, and take a walk. Then he is back to work. After every home game, he and Myrna welcome friends to their home for a burger and stories about the good ole days. He is, as Felton describes, “the epitome of a southern host.”

Smith is almost always seen in khaki pants, a button-down, a blazer and Sperry Top-Siders. His white hair is perfectly in place, as is his smile. He is remarkable at remembering people’s names. But if one slips his mind, it will be, “How ya doin’, old boy?” If he finds something funny or delightful, he will let out a brief belly laugh that sounds nothing short of genuine.

If you can catch Smith on the phone, it is not uncommon for him to end the conversation with, “I’m writing a book, I’ve gotta go!” Yet his urgency to get back to work is not set to the sound of stress but rather excitement. He admits that he likes to stay busy, and those that work alongside Smith each day know that he is driven by an unparalleled love for what he does. “It’s amazing all the things he juggles at the same time,” Felton says. “And he’s always dreaming up new ideas, thinking of new things to do.”

Yet remarkably, Loran Smith never seems to be in a hurry. He will not rush a “hello” in the hallway or a gathering with friends over food. Most importantly for the Bulldog Nation, Smith is in no hurry to put down his pen. He plans on working and writing as long as he is physically able. “Loran will always have a place,” Felton says. He has far too many ideas to stop now.

In October 2013, after Georgia’s thrilling 44-41 win over LSU, Smith published a special piece of writing for his weekly column, which is printed in newspapers statewide. This was a letter addressed to “Larry Munson, Cloud 9, Bulldog Heaven.” He had to tell his counterpart about the game, about the team, about the excitement of the season. Indeed, we all wonder what memorable thing Munson would have left us with at the end of any big game. Smith’s letter to Munson last year put words around what we all were feeling. “I was in the press box,” Smith writes to Munson, “hearing you from somewhere, saying, ‘Hunker down you guys, just one more time.’”

With all that Smith has contributed in his nearly 50 years at Georgia, he is considered by many to be a legend. When he hears that, Smith looks wide-eyed and laughs. “Oh boy, I can’t imagine. I can’t imagine being a legend.”

So maybe his letters will never be signed, “The Legendary Loran Smith,” though many of us admit that they could be. Maybe, instead, Smith would rather be identified only one way, by any and all who know his name. Maybe Smith closed his letter to Munson with the four words by which he would hope to be remembered.

“Your Old Friend, Loran.”

Gordon Smith Named Recipient Of Bill Hartman Award

ATHENS-----Gordon Smith, SEC champion and former captain of the Georgia men's tennis team, has been chosen as the 2014 recipient of the Bill Hartman Award.

Smith was recognized during Saturday's Georgia-Auburn football game and will receive the award during the UGA Circle of Honor Gala on Friday, Feb. 6, 2015.

Named for the late Bill Hartman, Georgia's long-time kicking coach and chairman of the Georgia Student Educational Fund, the Hartman Award is one of the highest honors given to a former UGA student-athlete. The Hartman Award has been presented annually since 1992 and recognizes former Georgia student-athletes who have demonstrated excellence in their profession and/or in service to others by 20 or more years of superior performance after graduation. Only former varsity athletes who have received a baccalaureate degree from Georgia can be considered for the award.

"This award means so much to me," Smith said. "I had the great privilege to know Bill Hartman, so that makes it even more special to receive an award named in his honor."

A native of Rome, Ga., Smith won a state title at Darlington School, and later earned a scholarship to play for Dan Magill at UGA. Smith served as captain of a Bulldog team that swept the SEC title each of his four years from 1972-75. He was a two-time all-SEC selection and, as a senior, won the conference doubles championship with current head men's tennis coach Manuel Diaz. Smith graduated magna cum laude in 1975 with a bachelor's degree in journalism, and he earned his Juris Doctorate with honors from UGA in 1978.

"I owe what success I have achieved to my time in Athens and particularly my time as an athlete under Coach Magill," Smith said. "I remember it being the best time of my life and the place that I met my wife and some of the most memorable people in my life, including Bill Hartman and Dan Magill."

After graduating from law school, Smith clerked for the federal judiciary prior to joining the law firm of King and Spalding, where he was a senior partner. Smith is a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers and has been listed in the publication The Best Lawyers in America for many years.

In 2007, Smith was named Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of the United States Tennis Association. In this position, he leads USTA's effort to promote and develop the growth of tennis, and oversees USTA operations and the functioning of its national office. Under his leadership, the USTA introduced a 10 and Under Tennis initiative, which is designed to introduce more young players to the game. The USTA has also experienced high marks in annual attendance and revenue during Smith's tenure.

Previously, Smith was Vice President of the USTA Board of Directors and Director at Large. He also served on the USTA Budget, Compensation, Public Affairs and Strategic Planning committees and was Chair of the Constitution and Rules Committee and Vice Chair of the Grievance Committee.

Smith was also active in the USTA Southern Section for many years. He is a past president of the Southern Section, and he also served as Southern Section Counsel, Vice President, Delegate at Large, in addition to other roles on various committees. He was inducted into the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Hall of Fame in May 2010.

In 2009, Smith was inducted into the UGA Grady Fellowship, which is a tribute to Grady College alumni for their influence, achievements and service to the media professions.

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