Even the offseason is busy in Bulldog Nation, and we here at Dawg Sports endeavor to keep you informed without making you feel overwhelmed. Accordingly, rather than addressing every individual news item individually, we save some tidbits of information for inclusion in a weekly wrapup, which we like to call the Sunday summary. Here are the details you need to know that you may have missed:
We begin on the courts of the Dan Magill Tennis Complex, where there is news both good and bad. On a positive note, former Bulldog men’s tennis player Drake Bernstein has been tapped as an assistant by Georgia women’s tennis head coach Jeff Wallace. Coach Bernstein, a Winder native and member of the Red and Black’s 2008 national championship squad returns to Athens after a one-year stint as an assistant with the Alabama women’s tennis team. During Coach Bernstein’s season in Tuscaloosa, the Crimson Tide ladies won the SEC West, hosted their first-ever NCAA Regional, and finished with the highest postseason ranking in school history. Welcome home, Coach Bernstein!
Unfortunately, that happy development was accompanied by a sad one, as former Georgia men’s tennis team captain Aaron Cohn passed away on Wednesday at the age of 95. Cohn, who had been the Bulldogs’ oldest surviving tennis letterman, was the recipient of the Bill Hartman Award from the athletic association, the Distinguished Alumni Merit Award from the University, the Distinguished Service Scroll from the Joseph Henry Lumpkin School of Law, and the Julie Lathrop Award for Outstanding Contributions from the American Criminal Justice Association. Prior to retiring from the Juvenile Court bench in 2011, Cohn was the oldest serving judge in the country. After playing tennis for the Red and Black from 1935 to 1937, Cohn volunteered for U.S. Army service in 1940, exiting the military six years later as a lieutenant colonel after serving as a combat operations officer for General George S. Patton’s Third Army during four major campaigns. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Aaron Cohn, a damn good ‘Dawg and decorated American patriot whose long life of service to the greater good ended on July 4.
We turn from the somber back to the celebratory as we note that Coach Bernstein is not the only University of Georgia graduate to have been hired to help coach the Red and Black recently: Stefanie Williams has joined Jack Bauerle’s staff as an assistant swimming coach. While competing for the Lady Bulldogs from 1999 to 2002, Coach Williams belonged to three SEC championship squads and three national title-winning teams, earned All-American honors 28 times in as many career opportunities while being named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll two times, was a part of four NCAA championship relays, and twice claimed conference crowns in the 200 freestyle, an event in which she left the Classic City as the school record holder. Since serving as a team captain in her senior year in Athens, Coach Williams has spent eight years as an assistant swimming coach at the college level, including three seasons at Missouri and the last four at Ohio State, where she was elevated to associate head coach last year. Welcome home, Coach Williams!
Several Georgia women were in competition this week, including Lady Bulldog linksters Emilie Burger and Rocio Sanchez Lobato, who carded individual top-eleven finishes at the World University Golf Championships to guide their respective American and Spanish squads to top two team finishes. Sanchez Lobato, who improved her world amateur ranking from 193rd to 68th with last weekend’s second-place showing at the Ladies’ British Open, is expected to rise again following her three-under-par 285 this week in the Czech Republic. Somewhat closer to home, Red and Black equestrian team member Lauren Tieche claimed the reserve championship at the NRHA National Collegiate Reining Derby in Oklahoma City last weekend. Fellow Georgia rider McKenzie Lantz notched a sixth-place finish at the event. Finally, Bulldog track and field athlete Saniel Atkinson set a personal best with a 6’2.25” high jump to win her event at the Jamaican National Championships in Kingston.
As I noted on Independence Day, Olympic fever is taking hold in the Classic City, as rising junior Andrew Gemmell won the men’s 1,500-meter freestyle and former Georgia swimmer Kara Lynn Joyce came in second in the women’s 50-meter freestyle at the U.S. qualifying trials to add two more Bulldogs to the list of Athenian Olympians. The London Olympiad, which gets underway on July 27, features 24 current, former, or incoming Bulldog athletes. We should not forget, either, that Georgia will be represented in the Paralympic Games that follow the Olympics, as well; sophomore Jarryd Wallace has been selected as a first alternate on the U.S. Paralympic track and field team two years following the surgical removal of his right leg.