Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Correction

For some reason, there was a glitch on our last post on email and the video did not attach. You can always click on the title of a post to get to the web version but in case you didn't know that, click HERE for the video from One Old Dawg.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

One Old Dawg with a message of encouragement

Because of the extraordinary circumstances we face in these days from the corona virus spread, One Old Dawg recorded a message of encouragement. It was initially for our church family, but we decided our One Old Dawg subscribers might also like to view it. 

We would like to extend our sympathy to the family of Georgia letterman, Kent Lawrence, who passed this week. One Old Dawg enjoyed his time spent with Kent Lawrence when they were teammates on the 1966 SEC championship team. He will be greatly missed and always remembered as a great player on the field and and an outstanding judge in the state court, a police chief in our community, and as an advocate for those who struggled with addiction.

God bless you all.

Friday, May 11, 2018

The House of Payne

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When One Old Dawg received the invitation to attend the Naming Event of the William Porter Payne and Porter Otis Payne Indoor Athletic Facility at UGA, we were especially excited. Jerry and Billy played together on the 1966 SEC Championship football team at Georgia. As One Old Dawg says, “I didn’t know Billy Payne would become famous, but I’m not surprised.” Even then, Billy showed such strength of character that those who knew him imagined he might reach any goal he set. Of course, perhaps beyond imagining would be the huge role he played in bringing the 1996 Olympics to Atlanta, Georgia.
 
One of the presenters at the event was none other than legendary golfer, Jack Nicklaus. When One Old Dawg met Nicklaus, he introduced himself by saying, “Mr. Nicklaus, you don’t know me from Adam’s housecat, but I sure have enjoyed watching you play golf through the years.” When asked if he minded posing for a picture, Nicklaus responded, “I’ve always wanted to have my picture taken with Adam’s housecat.”
 
 
 
We ran into one of One Old Dawg's former teammates, Georgia great, George Patton, here with One Old Dawg, and their former coach, Vince Dooley.

When One Old Dawg came to Georgia as a young recruit, the athletic department arranged for members of the Georgia Girls to show recruits around campus. Jerry’s escort for that weekend was Marianne Gordon, a young woman who later became television personality, Marianne Rogers. Meeting again here after many years.


 Mark Kubiak interviewed one Old Dawg for the SEC network on his memories of Billy Payne. The show will air in July on SEC. We’ll see if One Old Dawg makes the cut.




Here another legend at Georgia, 1943 Rose Bowl Champ, Charley Trippi and his wife, Peggy. Trippi played with Porter Payne, Billy’s father.



A tent was actually erected inside the Indoor Facility and provided a lovely backdrop for the event.

 
 
 

 
CBS announcer and Masters anchor for many years, Jim Nantz, was Master of Ceremonies. Also in attendance was long time sportscaster Verne Lundquist as well as golfers Bubba Watson and Kevin Kisner.


President of UGA, Jere Morehead, Athletic Director, Greg McGarity, and Georgia Football Coach Kirby Smart all gave fitting tributes.





Former U.S Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, and the first woman member at Augusta National under Payne’s tenure as Chairman, sent her lovely message via video.  

Former Coach, Vince Dooly, also offered a moving testimonial.

Former Ambassador and Atlanta Mayor, Andrew Young, covered the challenges in bringing the Olympics to Atlanta. He and Billy Payne traveled to over 100 countries, a black man, and a white man with such love for each other, it gave the world a new picture of the American South. Young praised Payne and credited the hand of God  for their successes. One Old Dawg and his wife pose with Ambassador Young.


Following the accolades of Augusta National Golf Club chairman, Fred Ridley and golfer, Jack Nicklaus, the Payne children, Elizabeth Sikes and Porter Payne, introduced their father.

Finally, Billy Payne spoke, the former chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, the man in the forefront of bringing the Olympics to Atlanta, and later president and chief executive officer of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games. Loran Smith wrote in the program for the evening, “If Billy Payne is anything, he is far-sighted and audacious as the winning of the centennial Olympic bid underscores. Who could have fathomed that the games could take place in the state capital of Georgia-except William Porter Payne, the stout-hearted dreamer?”


Billy Payne and Jerry Varnado

The Naming Event was a much deserved honor for Billy Payne and it was a joy for all of us in attendance.

Other  Old Dawgs present  that evening:

Jerry Varnado, Harold Tarrer, Nelson Bowers


Jerry Varnado, Steve Greer, Charley Whittemore
 
Jerry Varnado, Rusty Epperson, Ed Allen
 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

One Old Dawg hunkering down


If you have trouble viewing images in this post, please go to the One Old Dawg site HERE.

University of Georgia football fans have a little over a week until kickoff in Sanford Stadium. Like most of our readers, One Old Dawg has high hopes for this season and is already sporting red and black on a regular basis.

Concluding with last year, on the fiftieth anniversaries of the 1964, 1965, and 1966 University of Georgia football seasons, One Old Dawg remembered his playing years on Vince Dooley’s first three teams with his “mostly true Bulldog lore.”

Though those anniversary seasons are now behind us, we wanted to keep readers informed of news items relevant to those playing years.

First, in an interview with Steve Spurrier, we discovered a video we didn’t know existed. We have stills of this hanging on our den wall of number eighty-eight, One Old Dawg, sacking Spurrier.

Spurrier admits that in his senior year at Florida in 1966, “(UGA) knocked us out . . . Now they completely outplayed us, wasn’t any flukes or anything like that.”

Scroll down mid way through the interview to see the video HERE .
 
HERE are One Old Dawg’s remembrances of the game.

HERE are more highlights from that game.

Also, in a recent Loran Smith article about the Athens Touchdown Club in The Athens Banner Herald, Smith comments on the 1965 Bulldog team. He remembers comments made to the club in the 1970’s by Michigan head coach, Bo Schembechler. “Bo was a big hit with the membership, reminding the members that if he had been coaching the Wolverines in 1965 that ‘things would have been different.’ He was referring to Vince’s light-in the-pants but overachieving Bulldogs, upsetting defending Rose Bowl champion Michigan at Ann Arbor, 15-7.”

If you missed One Old Dawg’s remembrance of that game, they are HERE.

And speaking of the Athens Touchdown Club, One Old Dawg attended their meeting this past Monday night.  He has this to say: “I was really blown away when Coach Smart told the group at the Athens Touchdown Club how glad he was that the athletic department had purchased technology that tracks the players movements during practice (really!) He gave us statistics comparing a practice from last year to the comparable practice this year. This year we had nearly twice as many players exceed nineteen miles per hour and over fifty percent more exceed twenty miles per hour. Is that incredible or what? Not how fast they ran, but the fact they can measure players’ speed while practicing.

 “In my day, the only way coaches could tell how fast we were running is whether we outran the guy we were chasing or who was chasing us! Coach also said he had never seen more intense competition on Special Teams than this fall.

“Then Coach talked about how several seniors were stepping up to take leadership roles and I’m getting excited because I know how important it is for the players to understand the concept of TEAM and their role in leadership. I'm reminded of Ecclesiastes 4:12: 'Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.'
 
“Think about it! Last year we were 7-5 in the regular season. We lost two games by one point and another by three. Speed, inspired Special Teams, and team leadership can turn those close losses into wins.

“We have a stable full of classy running backs and our line is improved on both sides of the ball. We have twenty-six seniors and twenty-eight juniors on the roster. I know I’m easy to encourage, but I think we have decent reasons to hope for 9-3 or 10-2; maybe better. So, get out your red and black and hunker down, kickoff in ten days.  Gooo . . . Dawgs, Sic ‘em!”

We’ll continue to post occasional updates here throughout the season in which One Old Dawg will ponder current UGA football events and remind us again of his “mostly true bulldog lore.”

 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A One Old Dawg Special Edition: Reflecting on 2016 and Reminiscing about the 1966 Cotton Bowl

 
Just as it came time to write our final post for the year at One Old Dawg, the Old Dawg grew ill and was out of commission for a while.

He’s better now, and we couldn’t let that wonderful Cotton Bowl game in 1966 go by.

So, here just after the National Championship game is a special edition of One Old Dawg.

In one of our favorite pictures here at One Old Dawg’s house, he’s at the 1966 Cotton Bowl, going up (88) to tip a ball for a Lynn Hughes interception.

 

Dallas Morning News

However, before we continue about 1966, One Old Dawg first reflects on the 2016 season.

“Some Dawgs were ready to close up shop after losing to the Yellow Jackets, not wanting the embarrassment of playing in one of the ‘lesser’ bowl games. Not me! Every game we play is a chance to get better. For the players, the bowl game is a perk; they worked hard all year, and I’m glad they had a chance to go bowling. I’ve never been to Memphis but I love soul, rock and roll and good barbeque so I know I would love the place.

TCU was a worthy opponent as they proved in the game, but in the end, we got another W; 8-5 just looks better than 7-5. I enjoyed the game especially from the beginning of the 4th quarter when we took the lead for good. Way to go Dawgs!”

One Old Dawg had a hard time narrowing his focus down for this post, because he has so many great memories of the Cotton Bowl. Finally, he settled on three remembrances to highlight.

“As I mentioned in the last post, fifty years ago, we were 9-1, SEC co-champions with Alabama, ranked fourth nationally and headed to the Cotton Bowl to play the Southwest Conference Champion, Southern Methodist University, with an 8-2 record and ranked tenth nationally. Georgia had not been high in the national rankings in recent years, and we wanted to prove we were back and that we belonged there. Since SMU was ranked only six spots behind us, it would take a decisive victory to prove our point.

The first high point was the second play from scrimmage, a simple dive play over our left guard by bruising 165-pound sophomore tailback, Kent Lawrence. Kent was the fastest thing on two legs most of us Georgia boys had ever seen. Those Texas Methodists saw him right off.

 “No one could put it better than Atlanta Journal Sports editor, Furman Bisher. ‘The Sun had just come out, after a foggy morning, and the sellout crowd of 75,400, including a large delegation from Georgia, was just settling into its seats, when Lawrence made his presence known to Texans.’

 “Kent broke through the line, cut to his left and raced down the side line 74 yards to the end zone. Bobby Etter drilled the extra point and it was 7-0 Georgia with only one minute and five seconds off the clock. This was a high point because, as Furman Bisher put it, “…this was to be the tenor of the game.”

 “About half the team raced down the side line with Kent to the end zone. If there had been a penalty for ‘excessive celebration’, we would have drawn a flag. That play set the Dawgs on fire and propelled us toward that decisive victory we were looking for.
 
Atlanta Journal
 

“The second high-point was the fact that we held SMU to only forty yards rushing and Jerry Levias to only three receptions for sixty-two yards. Levias was an outstanding receiver and an elusive runner with blinding speed. Everyone, including us, expected him to be a major factor in this game but our defense held him in check.

Athens Banner Herald
“The third high point was the last four plays of the game. George Patton had come to Georgia as a quarterback. We spent a year together on the scout team in 1963 where he gave his best impression of whoever the quarterback was on the team we played the next Saturday.

Athens Banner Herald
 
 “In 1964 the new coaching staff, headed by Vince Dooley, moved George to defensive tackle. His All-America honors testify to the wisdom of that decision, but George used to remind us jokingly that the staff that recruited him promised him he could play Quarterback.

 “The last few minutes in his college career were winding down, when coach Dooley sent George in the game on offense, to play quarterback. With wild supporting cheers from the sidelines and the stadium, George threw three very long and very incomplete passes and then ran sixteen yards for a first down to end the game.  It was indeed an impressive beginning at quarterback but George had to settle for the Most Valuable Lineman award as Kent Lawrence was the hands down favorite for backfield honors.  The bottom line is we got our decisive victory and George finally got to play quarterback in a varsity game; it was a very good day for Georgia Football.

 “I could not settle on one verse to express what I feel so you’ll have listen to two: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.” Don’t be confused by the language. Paul is not saying that all circumstances are God’s will, and we should give thanks for those circumstances, but rather it is God’s will that we always give thanks to God, regardless of the circumstances we face. In the midst of the most troubling circumstances, I can always find many things to be thankful for.

 “James 1:17: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” I have faced many difficult circumstances and enjoyed many blessings. I have learned to give thanks in all of them, even the hard times. As I look back through the years, I am convinced that “grace and mercy have followed me all the days of my life” (Psalm 23). Otherwise, how can I explain how a 5’ 11” 165-pound runt, without good speed, can end up as a starting defensive end on an SEC championship team? Not that my life was mapped out by God, I had choices to make, other people had choices to make; there were things I needed to do.

"As I look back on all the so-called coincidences that had to occur for things to work out as they did, I am impressed that God does all things well. So, I give thanks to the Father of the heavenly lights for giving me courage and strength to press on through the hard things and using them to perfect my character. Then I give Him thanks for the people who helped me along the way and for using the good things to give me joy, hope and peace. 

 “Last, and certainly not least, I give thanks for One Young Dawg, being my wife, whose idea it was to do this blog and who “encouraged” me to write every week and then cleaned up my rambling and added her personal touch so you would have something pleasant to read. All you guys out there know it; we all married way over our heads. Thank you, God and Beverly.

Go Dawgs!!!”

 
Thank you, One Old Dawg. I came across a hand written letter written to One Old Dawg's parents by none other than Erskine Russell, UGA defensive coach who later would go on to do amazing things as head coach at Georgia Southern. He wrote, "I don't mind saying he (Jerry) has been my kind of football player because he has gotten more milage with average ability than anybody I know. When Jerry was in our line-up, we were a better football team, mainly because he was our leader. He kept others jumping. I know of no individual who has made a greater contribution to our program than Jerry has . . . He's a good one." High praise from one who would become a legend himself.

In reading all the press coverage for the 1966 Cotton Bowl, a quote from Vince Dooley stand out. Jim Minter, the executive sports editor with the Atlanta Journal questioned Dooley about the season ahead. Dooley said, “You think about people like Lynn Hughes, George Patton, Jack Davis, Frank Richter, Jerry Varnado, Ken Pillsbury, Jimmy Cooley, John Kasay, Steve Neuhaus, Dickie Phillips, Bobby Etter and all the others and you realize how much they’ve meant . . . You never know if you can replace people like them.” As he reflected on the team’s execution in the Cotton Bowl, he said, “I rate them a great team.”

Athens Banner Herald
 
Athens Banner Herald

 Certainly, Vince Dooley has been proven right. The 1966 team has definitely taken its place in the history of University of Georgia football. Since 1892, there have only been 14 Conference Titles.

 It has been my joy to be One Old Dawg’s sidekick as he remembered these wonderful first three years of University of Georgia football with Vince Dooley at the helm.

 It was our original intention at One Old Dawg to focus on his memories of the 1964, 1965, and 1966 years as the fiftieth anniversaries rolled around, but One Old Dawg has opinions, lots of opinions, so going forward who knows what we might do?
 
And so with that, we’re signing off. At least for now.

We end as we always have with a great big, Go Dawgs!!!!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

One Old Dawg: And now about that Tech game plus a few thoughts about the 1966 Cotton Bowl


As we wait on bowl selections, One Old Dawg has a few words to say about last week’s Georgia-Georgia Tech game. Well, actually, more than a few.  “Yeah, I know. We could have, should have won the Tech game! We whipped them in every category for more than three quarters! We were up thirteen points and had them pinned down second and twelve on their own four-yard line; we had them right where we wanted them!  

“Then the unthinkable happened – they stuffed it right down our throats – six plays and ninety-six yards later they are standing in our end-zone and it’s 27-21. But, we still had the upper hand; we’re ahead by six. We can take the kickoff, eat up the clock, maybe score a touchdown or field goal and it will be over. The unthinkable happened again. They intercepted a pass! Ten plays later, they’re back in our end zone, and Tech has the lead 28-27 with only thirty seconds left. We had seen late game miracles this season, but there was not one for us last Saturday.

“That’s life, that’s football. There’s nothing to do but suck it up and keep moving. Let these failures be the motivation to improve, to become stronger and more determined. As I was writing this blog the words of the Apostle Paul from 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 came to mind: “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” Paul was talking about the persecution they experienced for preaching about Jesus, which is certainly not in any way comparable to having a less than desirable football season. However, the principle emphasized is applicable to everything in life. We must not let today’s hardships or failures hinder our pursuit of success. In fact, with the right perspective, today’s failures and difficulties will help prepare us for tomorrow’s success. The good thing about football is there’s always next year.

“Meanwhile we await the Bowl game invitations. Our winning tradition and strong fan base makes us an attractive choice, so hopefully we will have one more game and the opportunity to end this season on a positive note to help us get through until next fall.”

One Old Dawg now turns his attention to the championship season fifty years ago. “The atmosphere was entirely different. The shouts of Georgia players and fans, ‘We’re number one’ were sincere. We believed we could compete with the best in the land and wanted the opportunity to prove it. But the system was not set up that way. Undefeated number one ranked Notre Dame and number two-ranked Michigan State had tied in their regular season meeting, and neither played in a bowl game. I’m not sure why Michigan didn’t, but it was a long-standing rule at Notre Dame to forgo playing in post-season games, I guess an academic decision. So, they remained one and two in the polls, ignoring number three Alabama, which was undefeated and untied. Georgia, with one loss, was ranked fourth. It was frustrating that the polls were fixed prior to the bowl games but we still wanted to try to better our lot in the minds of football fans by beating a high ranked team. That wasn’t to happen.

“We ended up in the Cotton Bowl playing the Southwest Conference Champion Southern Methodist University with an 8-2 record and ranked in tenth place.



 

"It wasn’t what we had hoped for, but they were the champions of a highly respected conference, and we were going to one of the top four bowl games in the country. Life was good. We packed our bags and saddled up for another bowl trip to the great state of Texas. We had a great time in El Paso at the Sun Bowl two years before and this trip promised even more; not to mention we would be playing on national television. That is not a big deal today but it was in 1966. In my three years on the varsity, this would be only the third televised game. The first was the 1964 Sun Bowl and the second the 1965 Alabama game between the hedges. So, we were pumped, ready to do our best to raise Georgia’s football stature on a national stage. More on the SMU game next time. Let’s go Bowling! Gooo dawgs! Sic ‘em.”

One Old Dawg will be taking a break until bowl time, and then he’ll be back with more of his mostly true Bulldog lore talking about the 1966 Cotton Bowl game as well as the yet to be determined bowl match-up for this year’s Bulldogs.

Until, then, Go Dawgs!
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