A lot happens in Bulldog Nation in a week, even during the offseason, and it is a challenge for us here at Dawg Sports to cover all the noteworthy Georgia sports news without causing your head to explode due to information overload. One way we strive to strike the right balance between comprehensiveness and concision is by providing a weekly overview of noteworthy nuggets that ought not to be overlooked, but that weren’t necessarily worthy of individual postings. We call this the Sunday summary, and here is this week’s edition as you prepare to wrap up your weekend:
The big news this week, of course, was the announcement that longtime Bulldog swimming coach Jack Bauerle is to be inducted into the Georgia Aquatic Hall of Fame on August 25. I didn’t even know there was a Georgia Aquatic Hall of Fame, but, if there’s going to be one, Coach Bauerle has to be in it. The 15-time SEC coach of the year and five-time NCAA coach of the year has led the Red and Black to a conference-best 471 dual-meet wins, has led the Lady Bulldogs to an NCAA-best 277 wins (claiming nine SEC championships and four NCAA titles along the way), led Team USA to a world-best 14 medals in the 2008 Olympics, and has prevented Armageddon with just 24 hours’ notice on multiple occasions. This honor is richly deserved, and we congratulate Coach Bauerle on his upcoming enshrinement.
Such recognitions are rolling in for the Red and Black, who lately have seen Sadio Doumbia, Wil Spencer, and five Georgia women’s tennis players named ITA Scholar-Athletes, the Bulldog women’s soccer team tabbed as one of five “programs to watch” after making the NCAA Tournament four times in the last five seasons, an SEC-best 128 student-athletes listed on the league’s academic honor roll for spring semester, David Greene and Charley Whittemore elevated to the Georgia-Florida Hall of Fame, Matthew Stafford and Bubba Watson given ESPY Awards, eight football players acknowledged as preseason All-SEC selections, and John Jenkins, Jarvis Jones, and Aaron Murray all named to preseason award watch lists.
An even more noteworthy individual achievement by a Bulldog athlete was registered last Wednesday, when Red and Black equestrian Ann Sasser captured the world championship in Western horsemanship at the Appaloosa Youth event in Tulsa. The Georgia junior, who was one of two Athenians to make the finals, took home the title with a 360 score, and her mount was a horse named “Undue Influence.” As a lawyer who practices extensively in the probate arena, I find that equine nomenclature amusing, but I am concerned that the Atlanta Journal-Constitution may louse up the animal’s name and accuse Sasser of horseback riding under the influence. Here’s hoping Western horsemanship competitions don’t require riders to emerge from alleys.
Alterations to the organizational chart are occurring in Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall, as Greg McGarity has announced that Georgia men’s golf coach Chris Haack will be given additional responsibilities as director of golf. In that capacity, Coach Haack will serve as liaison to the University Golf Course, oversee the Boyd Center, and provide counsel to new women’s golf coach Josh Brewer. Though Coach Haack will continue to lead the men’s golf program he has guided to seven SEC championships and two NCAA titles in 16 seasons, longtime assistant Jim Douglas will be promoted to the post of associate head coach. I like these moves, which will streamline administration, reward coaching achievement, and (given the acronym for “director of golf”) confirm that Coach Haack is a damn good DOG.
We move now from the golf course to the tennis court, where several current and former Georgia netters have been in action in Athens and Atlanta. In the Classic City, Garrett Brasseaux, Eric Diaz, and Will Oliver all won their opening singles matches in the ITA Summer Circuit event, with Diaz using a trio of straight-set victories to advance to Saturday’s semifinals before falling in the finals. Meanwhile, in the Atlanta Open, former Bulldog player and current Georgia assistant coach Drake Bernstein took his first-round qualifying match. Play concludes today at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex, and action continues at Atlantic Station through July 22.
At the Canadian Track and Field Championships in Calgary, four former Lady Bulldogs notched top two finishes, with Krysha Bayley (21’2.75” in the long jump) and Patricia Sylvester (44’ in the triple jump) winning their events and Sultana Frizell (227’ in the hammer throw) and Krista Woodward (181’7” in the javelin throw) placing second. Those achievements, coupled with Hilenn James’s two top-four finishes in Mexico and Garrett Scantling’s career-best mark in Spain, helped set the stage for a 2012 London Olympiad in which ten current, former, and incoming Georgia track and field athletes (four men and six women, who between them represent six countries) will be competing, beginning on August 3. The Bulldogs have been represented in every Olympics from 1976 forward, and Georgia’s Olympic tradition dates back to 1936, when Forrest “Spec” Towns captured the gold medal in the 110-meter hurdles in Berlin.
Finally, but most importantly, Mark Richt was one of many Bulldogs who took part in a charity golf tournament to raise funds for breast cancer awareness. Cancer has touched personally almost all of our lives, and this particular variant of that dread disease has struck home for many women who either are, or are close to, readers of this site. The University of Georgia is at the forefront of research to end the scourge of cancer in all its forms, and thanks are in order for Coach Richt and the other Bulldogs who did their part to fight the good fight.