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Storify: Champions (Again!)

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Take a look via Storify at the UGA women's swimming & diving team's second straight national title!
 

SEC Network FAQs

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We've all been hearing about the SEC Network for some time now. Below, you will find a list of frequently asked questions (credit: ESPN) that may help you better understand what's coming. And, to ensure the SEC Network is carried by YOUR provider, visit GetSECNetwork.com and tell your friends to do the same!

Most recent news from the Network includes the addition of DISH to the provider list, as well as the announcement of Brent Musburger and Jesse Palmer as the lead college football broadcasting team.

Don't miss a minute of your DAWGS in action next year... demand that you get the SEC Network in your home at GetSECNetwork.com today!

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GENERAL / STRUCTURAL

1.  When will the SEC Network launch?
The SEC Network will launch in August 2014.

2.  What will the network be called?
The network will be called the "SEC Network."  Although it's formal name is the "SEC ESPN Network"

3.   How is this different from SEC TV (formerly called the SEC Network)?
SEC TV, referred to as the SEC Network prior to 2013, previously aired SEC football and basketball games on local channels. The SEC Network launching in August will be its own channel on your television which you will be able to access via cable or satellite television. Events selected to air on the SEC Network will only be available on the channel. Come August 2014, SEC TV will no longer exist.

4.  How is this different than other conference or single-school networks? 
This collaboration between the SEC and ESPN will bring together unparalleled content from one of the most competitive conferences in the country with the highest quality, most innovative production partner in the sports industry.

This will be a national sports network.

5.  How can I get the SEC Network in time for the August 2014 launch?
Fans should visit www.GetSECNetwork.com to alert their cable or satellite distributor they are interested in receiving the network.

An agreement is already in place with AT&T U-verse, DISH and NRTC to distribute the SEC Network.  ESPN is working hard to ensure that the network will be available via cable, satellite and telco distributors (such as Comcast, Time Warner Cable, DirecTV, DISH Network, AT&T U-verse, and Verizon FiOS).  ESPN will continue negotiating with the other distributors in the coming months.

6.  Will the SEC Network look similar to ESPN channels?
The SEC Network will have the highest quality production value that is a standard across all ESPN networks.  At the same time, the SEC Network will have a distinctive look and feel from other ESPN networks.

7.  Where will the SEC Network be located?
The production home will be in Charlotte, N.C.  This location will provide for efficient use of ESPN's existing production facility in Charlotte and it will have support from all of ESPN's resources in Bristol, Conn.

8.  Why is Charlotte the SEC Network's home especially since there are no SEC teams in N.C.?
ESPN already has a state-of-the-art facility in Charlotte that is easily accessible from across the SEC footprint.

9.  Will each campus (or the SEC Offices) have upgraded television facilities?
Each campus will ultimately have the capability to produce live events locally which will be available on the SEC Network's digital outlets and possibly on the television channel too.

10. How many people will work for the SEC Network?
We anticipate more than 100 full-time staff for the SEC Network.

11. Where can I apply for a job at SEC Network?
Interested applicants should visit ESPNcareers.com

PROGRAMMING & CONTENT

12. Will the SEC Network be 24 hours a day, seven days a week?
The SEC Network will have 24/7 programming; it's a dedicated channel for all things SEC.

13. What kind of shows will I see on the SEC Network?
At the outset, the network will offer SEC sports and sports-related studio programming 24 hours a day, seven days a week, such as SEC Nation, the network's traveling football pregame show that will air every Saturday during the fall, a television simulcast of The Paul Finebaum Show and a daily news and information show.

More than 1,000 live events will also be available in the first full year across the television network and its digital extensions.  This will include approximately 45 football games, more than 100 men's basketball games, 60 women's basketball games and events from across all 21 SEC-sponsored sports.

14. How will the SEC Network enhance the SEC fan experience?
More than 1,000 live events will be available. The SEC Network will provide more than 450 live games on television each year.  An additional 550 games will be distributed digitally. The network will bring football, basketball, baseball, and all SEC campus sports to SEC fans. These outlets will provide more in-depth content to fans across the country than ever before.  Fans will be able to access content on a range of devices.  Also, there will be SEC specific programming dedicated to news and analysis surrounding the events.

15.  How many football games will be aired on the network?
The SEC Network will televise approximately 45 football games per season.

16.  How many basketball games? Baseball? Women's sports? Olympic?
At least 450 events will be televised on the SEC Network each year. Of the 450 events, there will be more than 100 men's basketball games, 60 women's basketball games,75 baseball, 50 softball and 120 Olympic sports on the SEC Network. More than 550 additional sporting events will be available on our digital platforms. The digital platform will include an outlet, similar to ESPN3, for the other 550 games and a live linear stream of the television network. This content will be available to network subscribers across a range of devices.

17.  Will each school have a block of time to program as they see fit?
This is a conference-wide network.  The goal is to provide equitable exposure for each of the SEC member institutions.  The SEC Network will achieve this goal without each school having its own block of time to program.

18.  Will the SEC Network show breaking news or investigative pieces about the conference similar to ESPN? 
The SEC Network will cover and report on sports news and information in an objective manner, but the basic premise is the network will represent the conference and its member institutions.  While ESPN does investigative pieces, that's not something contemplated for the SEC Network.

The network has created a Content Board which has equal representation from the SEC and ESPN.  The Board will work collaboratively on the programming and presentation.  The SEC Network, along with its digital extensions, will serve SEC sports fans and sports fans more broadly.

19.  Will I still see my weekly coaches' show on local TV?
That's very likely although dependent on whether there's an arrangement with the local television outlet.  Coaches' shows are not a focus of the SEC Network programming plan.
 
20. Will there be academic programming?
There are no dedicated blocks of academic programming planned at the outset of the network, but there will be opportunities to promote the academic and research accomplishments and reputations of SEC institutions within the live programming of the network.

21. What access and programming is each school obligated to provide to the SEC Network?
Outside of the rights in the existing CBS and ESPN agreements, each school provides the rights and access to all other live events for the SEC Network.

22.  Can schools create academic programming or shows of their own for the digital network outside what they air within game telecasts?
The digital network will primarily focus on event programming.  While we don't rule out opportunities to include programming beyond sporting events, that's not a focus for the digital network at this time.
 
23.  Will the SEC Network air high school football games?
No.

24. Will the SEC Network be able to re-air games shown on other ESPN networks?  CBS?
Yes.
 
25. Will the SEC Network air bowl games?  SEC Conference Championships? 
There are no current plans to air bowl games on the SEC Network.  The network will televise content from across the various SEC Championships.

26. Will there be fewer games available to me now that there is a SEC Network?
The intent of the network is make more SEC events available to more fans than ever before.  The SEC Network will provide more than 1,000 live events per year for SEC fans and sports fans across the country in the first year and we anticipate growth in the future.  These games will also be available online on a range of devices to allow for widespread access that is not currently available.

27. Will the SEC Network include new personalities or use existing ESPN personalities for the games and studio shows?
A mix of both existing ESPN personnel and new on-air staff will be present on the SEC Network. For example, ESPN veteran Joe Tessitore was announced as the host of the pregame show SEC Nation and Tim Tebow was also hired as one of the show's college football analysts.

DISTRIBUTION / AVAILABILITY/ AD SALES

28.   What cable operators will carry the SEC Network?
An agreement is already in place with AT&T U-verse, DISH and NRTC to distribute the SEC Network.  ESPN is working hard to ensure that the SEC Network will be available via cable, satellite and telco distributors (such as Comcast, Time Warner Cable, DirecTV, DISH Network, AT&T U-verse, and Verizon FiOS).  ESPN will continue negotiating with the other distributors in the coming months.

Your cable, satellite, or telco provider makes programming decisions based on customer requests. As a fan of the Southeastern Conference, please support the SEC Network by visiting www.GetSECNetwork.com and calling your cable, satellite or telco provider and requesting the SEC Network.
 
29.  Are there currently any carriage agreements?
Yes.  An agreement is already done with AT&T U-verse, the fastest growing multi-channel distributor in the country.

30. How do I get the digital part of the SEC Network?
Provided you are a customer who receives the network from your cable, satellite or telco provider, you can contact that provider and get a username and password which will allow you to access the content on computers, tablets, mobile phones and other consumer devices like Xbox.

31. What is the best way for fans and alumni who want to make sure their cable company carries the SEC Network?
Please visit www.GetSECNetwork.com to show your interest in the SEC Network and provide some general contact information.

32. What's the expected reach of the SEC Network outside the SEC footprint and on what level of service will distributors carry the network (Expanded basic? Tier?)?
The network will have strong appeal and interest beyond the 11-state SEC footprint.  While this is all subject to negotiation, carriage will be sought on broadly distributed packages.

33.  Will I be able to watch the SEC Network on my mobile phone or similar device?
Yes. Provided you are a subscriber of an affiliated provider (a cable, satellite or telco partner), the SEC Network will be available on computers, tablets and mobile phones. The aim is to make this content available to fans anytime, anywhere, similar to how the WatchESPN application works today.
 
34. How will you decide what games to televise early in the SEC Network's existence?
The SEC has great depth in all major sports so the network will have top-tier matchups each week to serve viewers and those distributors that choose to carry the network.  We have announced a double-header to kick-off the college football season on the network.  On August 28th, we will feature two games exclusively on the SEC Network - Texas A&M at South Carolina and Temple at Vanderbilt.
 
35.  Will local affiliates (over-the-air nets) broadcast my team's games if our region/cable provider does not carry the service (Ole Miss fans got this when they played on LHN)?
No. SEC Network programming and events will only be made available on the SEC Network channel or digital platforms.

36. Can I pay to subscribe to the network online, Pay-Per-View or via ESPN3 if I can't get it on TV?
No. The games will be exclusive to the network and its digital extensions.  However, once a subscriber has access to the network via an affiliated provider, that subscriber will have access to the content on computers, tablets, mobile phones and other consumer devices like Xbox.  The aim is to make this content available to fans anytime, anywhere.

37.  How will this impact my cable bill?
ESPN negotiates for license fee payments from its distributors and has no control over retail pricing.  Retail prices are determined by each distributor.

38. Will all SEC campuses carry the network?
Campuses served by an affiliated provider will have access to the SEC Network.
 
39. I live in [state outside SEC footprint]. Are you working to make sure we are able to see the SEC Network too?
Yes. Our interest is in delivering this content in broadly distributed packages across the country. This will be a national television channel.

40. Right now, I see all my favorite team's games online at the [SEC school athletics] site. Will I still be able to see all those games?
The network is for media rights to all sports across the 14 member institutions.  Any games produced by the schools will have an outlet, either the SEC Network or its digital extensions, where fans can watch.  You will see not only events originating from your favorite school's campus on the SEC Network or its digital extensions, but also road events involving your favorite school that you previously would have had to seek on opposing schools' websites.

41. Who will sell sponsorship for the SEC Network?
ESPN will sell advertising and sponsorship on behalf of the network.  ESPN will also represent the SEC's Corporate Sponsor Program.

42. Where can I apply for a job at SEC Network?
You can apply online at ESPNcareers.com.  Job openings for the SEC Network positions will be posted in late Spring 2014.

43. Will the SEC Network have an internship program?
ESPN has a SEC internship program already in place.  The SEC Network will source candidates from the existing process and pool.  Information about where to apply is forthcoming.

44. How will money from the SEC Network be used on campuses?
Each member institution has control and discretion on how they use any proceeds from their media rights.

#GeorgiaNSD 2014

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Well, folks, it's about to be that time of year again... fans will pack Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall in anticipation, and coaches and compliance officers will man the fax machine awaiting those valuable letters, all in the name of one of the most important days of the year... NATIONAL SIGNING DAY! Once again Georgiadogs.com and our social channels will be your one-stop shop for the best coverage of UGA's day on Wednesday. Be sure to take advantage!

*Signing Day Live: The live GTV broadcast will feature Chuck Dowdle and Radi Nabulsi running through the signees as they come in. They are expected to be chatting with coaches throughout the day as well, from football as well as baseball, soccer, and track
*Live chat: Georgiadogs.com staffers will once again host the Signing Day live chat, taking fan questions and comments and posting updates as quickly as humanly possible
*Twitter: The three accounts to follow along with on Signing Day will be @UGAAthletics (news updates), @UGACompliance (behind-the-scenes and helpful reminders), and @UGAFootball (creative look at all the news from the football program itself)
*Facebook: Check out both the UGA Athletics (/GeorgiaBulldogs) and Georgia Football (/FootballUGA) Facebook pages for updates and graphics all day long
*Instagram: Photos and videos of the news
*Vine: Short glimpses capturing the essence of the crazy day
*Hashtag: The official tag for Wednesday, from a Georgia perspective, will be #GeorgiaNSD. Follow along to stay in the loop! 

We look forward to sharing another exciting day with you all!

Words For Aaron

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The outpouring of support for Aaron Murray has been amazing! Below are some of the tweets that have been sent about the injured senior quarterback.

 

#CommitToTheG Social Media Countdown

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Well, football camp opened yesterday and we're getting excited over here! We've decided to keep the excitement going, we're going count down the days to the upcoming season on social media starting Tuesday - marking 25 days until the Clemson game. But this won't be just any old countdown... we need YOUR help to make it happen. Send us a photo of you or your loved ones showing how you Commit To The G. BE CREATIVE! We'll choose our favorites and post one each day until Aug. 31 on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! Be sure to include your name and hometown! We look forward to seeing our great fans in action heading into the season, and hey, even if your photo doesn't make it, we'd love for you to share your favorites on social media using our #CommitToTheG hashtag. We promise we'll retweet!

To participate, email your photos to CommitToTheG@gmail.com, and check out our official social media accounts starting Tuesday to see if you made it!

For more information, click here

GO DAWGS! 

#SECMediaDays

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Well, Bulldog Nation, you waited all spring and summer and now it's just about that time - football season is right around the corner and feeling particularly close now that #SECMediaDays for the Dawgs is tomorrow! It began on Tuesday and continues today, with Georgia's turn set for tomorrow (Thursday) morning beginning at 9:30 AM ET in Hoover, Ala. Georgia will make the rounds along with Alabama, LSU, and Vandy. If you've never heard of #SECMediaDays (yes, we are pushing that hashtag!) it really is quite the scene. Mark Richt and the Georgia players in attendance - Aaron Murray, Garrison Smith, and Arthur Lynch - will visit with media in different formats, from speaking to rooms full of people to sitting on TV sets and taping things for later, to doing one-on-one interviews and signing autographs for fans. Then there's Radio Row - with tons of local and national radio stations assembled in one gauntlet-like aisle for players and coaches to make a trip through - the day is truly like nothing you've ever seen before and reminds us just how important college football is in this conference and part of the country!

That said, we wanted to remind you of the ways you can follow along with tomorrow's events. We will be live on the scene, tweeting from both @UGAAthletics and @UGAHedgesBlog as our coach and players make their way around. We will also be uploading behind-the-scenes photos to our Facebook page (Facebook.com/GeorgiaBulldogs) and using Instagram (ugaathletics) and Vine (@UGAAthletics). Don't miss out on some great content as we'll do our best to give you a peek into what's being said and get a taste of the events as they unfold. When we return, keep your eyes out for a video on Georgiadogs.com.

And of course, use the #SECMediaDays hashtag to stay connected with the conversation involving all the teams.

We'll be in touch tomorrow and GO DAWGS!

Prevent. Protect. Perform.

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Georgia's Director of Sports Nutrition Jen Ketterly was recently awarded the Excellence/Perseverance
Award from the Collegiate & Professional Sports Dietician Association
(CPSDA) at the group's annual convention earlier this month. The award is given
annually in recognition of "immeasurable enthusiasm and extraordinary
dedication" to the profession and the organization. In her role as the head of
the two-year-old sports nutrition department within the UGA Athletic
Association, Ketterly is responsible for managing nutrition education for
student-athletes, writing individual nutrition plans, monitoring body
composition, evaluating nutritional supplements, and planning pre-game and
travel meals for the teams. In addition, she oversees nutrition care for football,
men's and women's basketball, volleyball, and women's golf.

Just after Ketterly's award was announced, UGA Director of Athletics Greg McGarity was given the CPSDA's Tom Osborne Award for Commitment to Nutrition, as he was instrumental in starting the program at Georgia and has allowed Ketterly and her team to be successful through his support of their work.

Between The Hedges recently sat down with Ketterly to discuss the ins and outs of her work as Georgia's nutritionist, and what results she has seen from the student-athletes after two years here.

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Between The Hedges: What did the CPSDA award mean to you?

Jen Ketterly: It was great to be recognized by our association, my peers and colleagues. It's a testament to the people I've worked with and the places I've been. I'm a believer that you're a sum of your parts, and this shows that I've been around some great people and places in my career.

BTH: How did you get into sports nutrition and how did you get to Georgia?

JK: I was a student-athlete - I played basketball at Cornell University - and growing up at some of the elite camps I attended they would have sessions for us on things like GRE and SAT prep, but they'd also have information on nutrition, and how hydrating and taking iron and eating certain foods could have a positive impact on your performance. I remember thinking it was really cool that those things could affect the way you played. When I was recruited to Cornell I was lucky that they had a great nutrition program. At the time there was only one full-time sports dietitian in the country, and that was Kris Clark at Penn State. It was just coming onto the scene and it wasn't even a field of its own at that time. It was just an idea. I thought it was something I would really like to do and it seemed like a neat path. It's been great to see it develop to where it is today, embraced by athletic programs everywhere. I got to Georgia through stops at UConn and UNC.

BTH: How did the start of the program here at Georgia come about?

JK: We didn't have a nutrition program at all before our staff came on bard. We were one of the few SEC schools who didn't. When Greg McGarity came on board in 2010, he recognized that as one of the gaps in our services provided to student-athletes. He came from Florida and worked with their training table there, and when he came here he was able to identify that need. Ron Courson was charged with running the search and also absorbing the nutrition program under the sports medicine department. That's how it happened.

BTH: What are your primary responsibilities?

JK: We wear a bunch of different hats each and every day. A couple of key areas are, first, the training table. We have a temporary space in Stegeman Coliseum that services our football, basketball, volleyball, gymnastics, tennis, and some baseball student-athletes - and we oversee that effort administratively and programmatically. We work with food services on that, and at first we had to do everything from planning the menu to running electrical lines for our hot bar to ordering mass beverages for 200 people every day. Training table is a big area for us. Second, we are tasked with servicing our programs - similarly to how the athletic trainers and sports information staff have people assigned to sports, we have that as well. So our staff members work directly with the teams to meet with the student-athletes and make plans based on their needs. We work on education - our goal as a staff is to change the culture of what nutrition was in the athletic department. We want to be very performance-based and positive. We work with the sports' directors of operations on planning meals both and home and on the road, and on game days we manage what needs to happen in terms of hydration and fueling so we can be the best-fueled team out there. We work with supplement vendors to manage that product, and from a health and safety standpoint we make sure that we are educating on the risk and benefits of certain supplements, because of course we have to adhere to stringent UGA and NCAA drug testing policies. Those are a few of our biggest jobs.

BTH: How have the student-athletes received the nutrition education?

JK: That has been one of the most pleasant surprises since being here. Our program is celebrating its two-year anniversary this July, and since we've been here we've had great support from the coaches. They've embraced what we're doing without a doubt. The majority of the student-athletes have taken it all in stride and opened themselves up on how they can get better. We take the angle not of "don't do this and this" and letting them know that they don't have to give up everything they like, but letting them know it's a learning process and teaching them how they can best utilize foods and fluids to their advantage.

BTH: How has the department grown since you arrived? Have you achieved the goals you set?

JK: Coming in, we would laugh because we came into our offices and there was nothing here. Maria [Breen] and I were hired on the same day and we came into these empty offices, and we were like, "Okay, here we go." My goal was to begin to establish that conversation about nutrition, about what it is and what it means. Our philosophy is just as it says on our logo - "Prevent, Protect, Perform." Good nutrition programs can help prevent injury. The protection element is about protecting eligibility through knowledge of those banned substances. And the performance element is very clear - science has taught us that good nutrition definitely can impact your strength, speed, stamina, endurance, and power in a positive way. Those were the elements we wanted to work with the teams on understanding. We also wanted to build the infrastructure of making those elements support our teams and make the concepts happen. I think we've done a great job of that.

BTH: What is the goal of the nutrition department going forward?

JK: The big goal we have is to create a training table facility for all our student-athletes that we can grow into and where we can have team functions. We do a lot of things surrounding food and meals, so we would like a space that is supportive of all our messages we're promoting and have a great meal. From there, I think we would like to have a better staff-to-team ratio. Right now we have about a 5-6-7 ratio, where each of our staff members works with five to seven teams and we'd like to improve on that. It would be nice to give our teams more individualized attention.

BTH: What else do you want people to know about your program?

JK: We've been able to accomplish a lot in a short time. It's truly a testament to Greg being here and giving us the support we need, and identifying that this is additive to our student-athletes and their success. He's passionate about taking care of them on and off the field and this is an example of that commitment. We are also lucky to have the wonderful sports medicine staff that we do, starting at the top from Ron Courson as our leader. He gives us the creative space and support to do what we do, and that's special. 

Summer Reruns

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Hey, Bulldog Nation! Well, if you're like us, we're enjoying a little rest & relaxation so far this summer as we gear up for another exciting year of UGA Athletics! But don't think for a second that we'll let Georgiadogs.com and our social media channels gather dust this time of year! The folks at GTV have organized a way for you to revisit your favorite (and our favorite) videos from the past year and will be showing them again in our "Summer Reruns" series! Below is the full schedule of what you can expect to see each day of the week. The first one has already been posted for today and can be viewed here


Mic'd Up Mondays: A video feature where a coach wore a microphone during a game or practice.
Travel Tuesdays: Videos that followed our teams around the country and/or the world!
Hump Day Highlights: A look back at the best athletic contests of 2012-13.
Throwback Thursdays: Some of our favorite videos from the recent to the more distant past.
Feature Fridays: Interesting profiles and behind-the-scenes looks back from the past year.
Sunday Funday: Our favorite funny features!

Go Dawgs!

#GDAY13 coverage information

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Happy Friday, Bulldog Nation! Well, if you can believe it, tomorrow is already G-Day, the annual intrasquad scrimmage for the Georgia football team. Kickoff is set for 1 PM at Sanford Stadium and it's bound to be a great afternoon as fans get to preview the 2013 edition of the Bulldogs for the first time!

If you can't make it to the game, check out the information below to enhance your viewing experience!

Watch: Live television coverage (regionally) is being provided by our friends at CSS. Check your local listings for more.
Listen: Listen to the Dawgs on Georgiadogs.com or on the official Georgia Bulldogs mobile app (UGA Sports) with a GTV subscription. The broadcast will carried on 95.5FM/AM750 News/Talk WSB, and is being made available to all Bulldog Radio Network network affiliates. Check with your local station for confirmation.
Connect: Get live game tweets from our official Twitter account @UGAAthletics and behind-the-scenes looks at the day from Between The Hedges @UGAHedgesBlog. You can also find updates on Facebook.com/GeorgiaBulldogs and by following us on Instagram (ugaathletics) and Vine (ugaathletics). Don't miss a thing!
The game's official hashtag is #GDAY13. Be sure to tag your tweets to join the conversation and find out what others are saying about the game.
Chat: Join the conversation in real-time on the Georgiadogs.com live chat, which will be located here at kickoff.

The G-Day homepage on our official Web site is located here, with everything you need to know including information on game promotions, rosters, parking, and what else is going on around campus this weekend! 

As always, GO DAWGS! Enjoy the game!

Signing Day Recap

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Well, another National Signing Day has come and gone and the Georgia football team has locked down yet another top-10 recruiting class. It was a great day all the way around, and we appreciate all the fans who came out to enjoy the day with us at Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall or who watched the live broadcast or who participated in the chat or who shared their thoughts with us on Twitter using the hashtag #GeorgiaNSD. We are so appreciative of Bulldog Nation and we know you'll join us in welcoming the 32 signees who officially become Bulldogs yesterday!

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In case you missed it, Coach Richt spoke to the media yesterday afternoon, and shared his thoughts on the class though he's still recovering from hip surgery. Full video of Coach Richt's interview - as well as interviews with other coaches who spoke during our live broadcast yesterday - can be found here

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Yesterday also marked Signing Day for the soccer team and track teams, and they also brought in great classes! For info on Georgia's soccer class of 11 players and an interview with head coach Steve Holeman, click here! Track signed four student-athletes and is expecting more, so you can check out who they signed on our Twitter page (@UGAAthletics). 

So, thank you again for being a part of the special day and we can't wait to join you in watching these new Bulldogs get here and start contributing! Go Dawgs!

#GeorgiaNSD

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Happy Friday, Bulldog Nation! Just wanted to check in and let you know about the awesome coverage we've got planned for next Wednesday's National Signing Day - the first day of signing period for football, soccer, and track & field. Here's how you can stay connected throughout the day and make sure you're up-to-date on our newest Dawgs!

*GTV live broadcast: The folks at GTV will be producing a LIVE studio broadcast from UGA's Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall, which will run from 8 a.m.-2:15 p.m. on georgiadogs.com. Chuck Dowdle and former Bulldog defensive back DJ Jones will host, and will take you through what's happening and updating you on the signees as they come in - including highlight reels on each player! Kevin Copp will also be interviewing soccer head coach Steve Holeman to discuss their signing class - that will happen at 11:30 a.m. And as the GTV team wraps up the day you'll hear exclusively from Coach Richt! All the action is free and available only on Georgiadogs.com.

*Fans will also be able to interact with our georgiadogs.com Internet team and with each other on a live chat also on georgiadogs.com. 

*Our Facebook (Georgia Bulldogs), Twitter (@UGAAthletics), Instagram (ugaathletics), and Google+ (Georgia Bulldogs) pages will include live updates as well, while we right here on Between the Hedges blog will attempt to keep you posted on the behind-the-scenes action as it unfolds on what promises to be a very hectic day around here!

*The official hashtag for the day will be #GeorgiaNSD. Don't forget to use it when tweeting about Signing Day to stay in the conversation!

Hopefully one (or all) of these modes will work for you to follow along with Signing Day as Georgia continues to provide the best coverage in the nation!

As always, GO DAWGS, and we'll see you Wednesday!

Monday Morning Round-up

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Hey, Bulldog Nation - hope you all had a great and relaxing weekend. It was relatively slow around here as finals are underway and many of our coaches are on the recruiting trail in this downtime. But here are a few nuggets for your Monday morning:

*Georgia will watch 39 of its student-athletes receive UGA diplomas on Friday at graduation. More here.
*The Georgia football team held its annual awards banquet and gala Saturday night at the Classic Center in Athens. Several players walked home with awards, including Aaron Murray and Jarvis Jones as MVP's on their respective sides of the ball. Full release here
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*The Lady Bulldogs held their annual "bike build" Saturday afternoon, assembling bicycles that would then be donated to needy children in the community in time for the holidays. Read the story here, and stay tuned for a video on the event coming soon to Georgiadogs.com.
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*Men's golf coach Chris Haack is being inducted today in the Golf Coaches Association of America's Hall of Fame.

Also, tickets are still available for the Capital One Bowl. Purchase them through UGA to make sure you are in the right section at the game, and to avoid counterfeit tickets. Call the ticket office at 1-877-542-1231 M-F 8:30-4:30, or click here.

Finally, both basketball teams are back in action at home later this week, with the men taking on Iona on Saturday at 5 PM in Stegeman and the women looking to continue their unbeaten start vs. Lipscomb Sunday at 2 PM here. 

GO DAWGS!

UGA Athletics ranks in social media top-10

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ATHENS, Ga. --- The Georgia Bulldogs are used to top-10 rankings on the playing fields, but now the UGA Athletic Department has stacked up in another area: social media.

According to lists compiled by the University of Oklahoma, the Bulldogs are ranked No. 4 among FBS institutions in Twitter followers and No. 9 in Facebook "likes" on their official pages as of Nov. 7. As of Nov. 19, Georgia's official athletic department-wide accounts had 65,371 followers and 468,283 "likes."

Below is a glimpse into what the Bulldogs are doing on Twitter. 

Screen shot 2012-11-19 at 4.41.16 PM.pngOfficial hashtags: #godawgs #CommitToTheG

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Official Georgia Bulldogs (@UGAAthletics): 65,371 followers/5,768 tweets

Most recent tweet: "Don't forget to listen in to AT&T Bulldog Hotline tonight at 8pm- Do you have a question for Coach Richt? Tag it #bulldoghotline"

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Georgia Football (@WeRunThisState): 19,837 followers/1,084 tweets

Most recent tweet: "Check out @ajgreen_18's one handed TD catch against the Chiefshttp://www.nfl.com/videos/cincinnati-bengals/0ap2000000097347/QB-Dalton-to-WR-Green-4-yd-pass-TD ..."

Georgia Men's Basketball (UGABasketball): 2,295 followers/889 tweets

Most recent tweet: "We are in the Big Apple! #Dawgs vs. No. 1 Indiana tonight at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn! Who's coming? #CommitToTheG"

Georgia Gymnastics (@UGAGymnastics): 7,221 followers/1,996 tweets

Most recent tweet: "The Gymdogs didn't get on the jumbotron but look who did! @dannadurante#GoDawgs http://instagr.am/p/SNew6LL8yw/" 

Georgia Men's Tennis (@UGATennis): 1,758 followers/3,232 tweets

Most recent tweet: "Brand new video recapping the ITA National Indoor doubles final and the fall season:...http://fb.me/1MXdESqSc "

Georgia Women's Tennis (@UGAWomensTennis): 96 followers/120 tweets

Most recent tweet: "Fall Tennis Winding Down....Here's an update from Saturday's action:http://gado.gs/13k "

Georgia Soccer (@UGAWomensSoccer): 702 followers/1,228 tweets

Most recent tweet: "Bulldogs named NSCAA Academic Team for 10th straight year: http://gado.gs/141 "

Georgia Volleyball (@UGAVolleyball): 870 followers/912 tweets

Most recent tweet: "Georgia fighting to hold on but it's too little too late and the Dawgs fall 17-25 in the fourth set. Kentucky wins 3-1."

Georgia Equestrian (@UGAEquestrian): 841 followers/1,317 tweets

Most recent tweet: "Congrats to UGAs Sara Parr on winning most outstanding player in horsemanship against SDSU #GODAWGS"

Georgia Softball (@UGASoftball): 5,634 followers/2,838 tweets

Most recent tweet: "Congrats to former Bulldog @KSandberg23 on being named the NPF Rookie of the Year! Second year in a row that it went to a #bulldog!"

Georgia Men's Golf (@GeorgiaGolf1): 484 followers/146 tweets

Most recent tweet: "Nationally rated prospects Branson Davis, Parker Derby and Greyson Sigg have signed with the Bulldogs. http://gado.gs/145 "

Georgia Women's Golf (@UGAWomensGolf): 318 followers/290 tweets

Most recent tweet: "Our 2013 recruiting class is now 3: welcome to the Bulldog Family, Harang Lee#godawgs"

Georgia Swimming & Diving (@UGASwimDive): 870 followers/500 tweets

Most recent tweet: "Georgia's swimming and diving teams shook things up in Friday's 3meet with Division III power Emory. http://gado.gs/147" 

Cheerleading (@UGACheerleading): 1,914 followers/890 tweets

Most recent tweet: "It's Tech Week! #nuffsaid #GoDawgs #cleanoldfashionedHATE"

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Football coach Mark Richt (@MarkRicht): 50,683 followers/193 tweets

Most recent tweet: "DawgNation. Get some sleep friday night n be ready to get up early on Saturday. Fill Sanford stadium to the brim. Sr day. Tech. Enough said!"

Men's Basketball coach Mark Fox (@coachmarkfox): 11,784 followers/920 tweets

Most recent tweet: "Game day . . . In Brooklyn"

Women's Basketball coach Andy Landers (@UGACoachLanders): 1,676 followers/445 tweets

Most recent tweet: "#IfItWasUpToMe you'd #CommittToTheG tonight at 7:00pm. It's Game Time..pic.twitter.com/TO04ugKw"

Men's Tennis coach Manuel Diaz (@CoachMannyDiaz): 1,252 followers/1,920 tweets

Most recent tweet: "@Sports_HQ: Show class, have pride, and display character. If you do, winning takes care of itself. -Paul Bryant"

Women's Golf coach Josh Brewer (@CoachJoshBrewer): 418 followers/2,825 tweets

Most recent tweet: "Interesting #bcs"

Gymnastics coach Danna Durante (@DannaDurante): 431 followers/181 tweets

Most recent tweet: "Gym Dogs finish the week with a fantastic showing in the intrasquad! So good to see some of our most devoted fans in the gym! #lovethisteam"

Volleyball coach Lizzie Stemke (@CoachLStemke): 275 followers/222 tweets

Most recent tweet: "Thanks to a great flight crew! #smoothtravel pic.twitter.com/XN91hZoK"

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Hairy Dawg mascot (@UGAHairyDawg): 8,206 followers/754 tweets

Most recent tweet: "Last time UGA had a freshman run for over 1,000 yards. 1980. Bama finished 2nd in SEC. UGA beat Notre Dame for the National Championship."

Between The Hedges, UGA Athletic Association Blog (@UGAHedgesBlog): 2,626 followers/854 tweets

Most recent tweet: :Monday morning thought: It's Georgia Tech week! #godawgs #CommitToTheG#GATA"

Football equipment staff (@UGAFBEquipment): 1,897 followers/114 tweets

Most recent tweet: "Movin on up! #SEC #closertothetop"

Facilities (@UGAFacilities): 509 followers/303 tweets

Most recent tweet: "I know its cold, I know its early, but I just wanted to make sure you know...pic.twitter.com/wQ1YYIdg"

Compliance (@UGACompliance): 610 followers/65 tweets

Most recent tweet: "With today being the first signing day of the National Letter of Intent (NLI), here's some compliance trivia:... http://fb.me/1YuhH6G5s "

Nutritionists (@DawgSportsNut): 790 followers/349 tweets

Most recent tweet: "High protein, low calories? → 3 oz Baked Skinless Chicken Breast = 26 g protein, 140 calories"

Student Services (@UGASAAC): 309 followers/26 tweets

Most recent tweet: "Saac meeting today!! Also, hunger bowl donations at rankin are looking great! Keep it up! pic.twitter.com/UFC5BsFQ"

SEC Digital Network: From Marine Corps To UGA

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**The following story was published by the SEC Digital Network on Georgia track & field athlete Elizabeth Tepe. Tepe is was a member of the Marine Corps from 2006-10, before competing for two years in junior college and transferring to Georgia this year. Beginning this spring, she will compete for the Bulldogs in the hammer throw, ready to use her many life lessons.**

By: Sean Cartell


SEC Digital Network

ATHENS, Ga. - She may have been just 18 years old, but Elizabeth Tepe could feel her life spiraling off course.

Her grades were poor, her home life even worse and her outlook for the future dim. A prep softball player at Ponderosa High School in Parker, Colo., Tepe was a non-qualifier out of high school with few options available to help recalculate her path.

 "When I was in high school, I had kind of a rough home life," Tepe said. "I moved out of my house when I was 16. I didn't have much experience or knowledge of the world, and that comes with being young."

Tepe, now a junior on the University of Georgia track and field team, knew she had to make a change. Following her high school graduation, Tepe enlisted in the Marine Corps.

"I decided that I just needed to find a better path in life," Tepe said by telephone on Thursday. "I enlisted in the Marine Corps, graduated a month later and was in boot camp. It's one of those things you just know in your heart that you need to do."

Perhaps looking at the surface, one might not have been able to predict a bright future for Tepe. But if there was an understanding of the importance and maturity of her extreme perceptiveness and self-awareness, one would have felt the extraordinary character and determination she has always exuded.

"I think having to grow up quickly makes you bet on yourself a lot more," Tepe said. "Sometimes we're afraid to take a chance on ourselves and trust that we're going to do everything we can to make it. I was kind of forced to do so from that perspective."

*****

From 2006-10, Tepe served as an ammunition technician in the Marine Corps at Camp Pendleton in California, where she supported Combat Logistics Regiment-15 for training and deployment exercises.

"You don't find out right away what you're assigned to until the end of boot camp," Tepe said. "Essentially, I was a BB counter. I counted bullets, got them to units, went out in the field and traveled with them to field ops taking ammunition, making sure the ammunition was accounted for and everybody knew what they were doing. I moved to more of an administrative unit, where I was over a unit of more than 1,000 Marines."

The experience in the Marine Corps provided Tepe with much more than practical experience. It also introduced her to fellow female Marines who carried themselves in a way in which she wanted to emulate.

"I think being a female Marine is even a little bit more poignant for me," Tepe said. "It's hard to find good female role models. It was good to see women alongside me who were strong and motivated to do good things with their life. Serving your country and putting on that uniform, you realize who you want to be and who you can be. I took so much confidence from that and it made everything else just seem easy."

Her time in the Marine Corps helped teach Tepe everything she expected and much more. She emerged a highly confident and disciplined individual, and had married fellow Marine Jarrod Tepe.

"I went in knowing I needed discipline, knowing I needed to find a little direction," Tepe said. "When I came out, I had gotten married and I had experienced so many amazing things. You learn self-confidence, self respect and really, all the way around, I grew as a person. I became a woman and I became more athletic. I was always an athlete, but I became a little more pointed in my direction. I knew I had the confidence that I could really handle anything I needed to."

*****

Following her time in Marine Corps, where she received the Good Conduct Medal, Tepe enrolled in Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, Calif., a two-year community college. Her husband had recently deployed and Tepe was looking for an activity to fill her time.

"I had gotten an exit in the Marine Corps and school, at that point, was a little too easy," Tepe said. "You need to be preoccupied when your spouse is on deployment. I thought I would go out for track and I was attempting to run a 200. The throws coach, Shawn McGinley, came up to me and asked if I was interested in throwing the hammer. I told him that I didn't know what it was, but I would try it."

Tepe found that the hammer throw, surprisingly, had a direct correlation to some of the skills she had perfected in the Marine Corps.

"I tried it and just really fell in love with it," she said. "In the Marine Corps, you drill a lot and there is a lot of footwork. With the hammer, there is a lot of intricate footwork, so it sort of came naturally."

For Tepe to say the hammer throw came naturally is a bit of an understatement. She thrived in the event, setting the national junior college record in the event with a personal-best mark of 186-9 her sophomore season. That was nearly a two-inch improvement from the previous record set by Michelle Amete of Mesa [Ariz.] College in 2006.

Tepe finished third at the California Community College State Track and Field Meet in 2012, helping her team to a tie for sixth place overall. It marked the best team finish for the Saddleback women's program since finishing fifth in 1986.

Tepe's successes, however, weren't just limited to the track. She finished her junior college career with a 4.0 grade point average and was named the U.S. House of Representatives Student Veteran Leader of the Year.

"By the time that I got to junior college, I knew that was exactly what I wanted to do," Tepe said. "I was hungry to know about the world, and junior college presented that to me with books and class and learning. I wanted it. Before I joined the Marine Corps, I knew I wasn't ready. I just needed to grow."

*****

Tepe's impressive performances didn't go unnoticed. Several coaches on the West Coast, including legendary UCLA throws coach Art Venegas, took notice and passed the message along to Georgia throws coach Don Babbitt, a former UCLA letterwinner.

That led to a conversation between Babbitt and McGinley that ultimately helped lay the path for Tepe to attend the University of Georgia.

"I learned about Elizabeth from her junior college coach, whom I spoke with while on a trip to the West Coast," Babbitt said. "He told me she was a very good athlete, learned very quickly, and she was a good person."

Though Tepe is a relative newcomer to the event, given her track record, Babbitt knew that she could immediately be a strong contributor on his team.

"I think she can be very good," Babbitt said. "She is still very new to the event, but she has good base technique and leans very fast. She should score well at the SEC level and has a great shot to make it to NCAAs."

Since arriving in Athens prior to the 2012-13 academic year, Tepe has been made to feel at home, affirming her decision to move across the country.

"The team is awesome; I couldn't have expected anything more," Tepe said. "Everybody is so nice, making sure that I'm adjusting well. Moving 3,000 miles away from home is not easy, but the team definitely made it a lot easier. School was rough at first, trying to balance my practice schedule and classes, but I've definitely gotten used to it. I'm having a good time."

Tepe is certainly at a different stage of her life than the majority of her teammates, but that hasn't prevented her from fitting in well among her team and throws group.

"They keep calling my husband my boyfriend because they're not used to it," Tepe said with a laugh. "I think everybody's been very accepting of it. I just try to be a good role model and do the right thing. I wish I had somebody when I was 18 or 19 that was 25 that I could look up to. I hope to be that for them."

Babbitt agrees, saying that he is excited about the positive influence Tepe can provide for her teammates.

"I think she will be a voice of reason and experience, and help keep things in perspective for the younger throwers," Babbitt said. "She has a good outlook on life, and realizes what is truly important and what is not important. I think she has a great perspective and is thankful for the position she is in. I think this could be very, very beneficial for the team and her teammates."

*****

Tepe will begin competing for the Bulldogs this spring and Babbitt believes that his newest pupil has the ability to accomplish even greater things at the NCAA Division I level.

"I think she can be top eight at the NCAA level and she has a shot to win the SEC title down the line," Babbitt said. "She still has a ways to develop, but I can see she has tremendous potential."

Tepe's time in the Marine Corps prepared her to achieve far more than she ever thought possible. That is one key attribute she has carried over to her collegiate athletics career, along with many other transferrable abilities.

"I think that they go hand-in-hand," Tepe said. "There are so many things that you need to be an athlete and that you need to be a Marine or person in the military. You have to have discipline, judgment and justice. When you see somebody do something wrong, you have to call them out. You have to have your own set of morals established and then there is the whole physical side of it. The transition from the Marine Corps is hard, but to go into something like athletics seemed very natural."

Her coach agrees, saying that her accomplishments have been nothing short of impressive.

"I think she has had to stay very motivated and disciplined these past few years," Babbitt said. "That is hard to do. Many can't or don't do that at her age. I am very impressed by it. She will be very successful in the future because of her attitude."

Experience is a valuable asset and Tepe has more than most 25 year olds. She hopes to be able to use her knowledge to help others achieve their dreams, including her own teammates.

"I hope they can see what I've done and not compare themselves, but understand that anything is possible," Tepe said. "Something I always go by is that it's not the fact, but your attitude toward the fact that determines the outcome. I try to pass on that you need to do the right thing, even if it's a hard situation. You are able to get through it if you have the right attitude."

Being Hairy Dawg

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Ever wonder what it's like to be Hairy Dawg? Wonder no more! Thanks to Parker Moore, one of the four UGA students who split time serving as the Georgia mascot, we get a glimpse inside that life. 

This story originally ran in the Georgia Football game program distributed at the Ole Miss game. 

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Georgia Spotlight on Hairy Dawg: An Insider's Look At The Bulldog Mascot
By Parker Moore

My love for all things Georgia (minus Tech) did not come through environmental influences in my geographical culture. I was born in Columbia, S.C. where seldom was heard an encouraging word about UGA. When I was less than a year old, we moved to New York City where indifference and apathy reign supreme when it comes to college football. Phrases like "Hunker Down Hairy Dawg", and "Gooo Dawgs, sic em" could be taught as a foreign language in NYC public schools. "Between the hedges" is where your property line ended, and prophesies like "Man is there gonna' be some property destroyed tonight" were sometimes heard but had nothing to do with a celebrating a win over Florida. The football universe for the average New Yorker starts with the Giants and ends with the Jets who play in the same building across the Hudson in New Jersey.

My love for Georgia football can be traced back to my mother, Anna, who grew up in Armuchee near Rome in Floyd County. She met my father, Ed, in 1982 at Prince Avenue Baptist Church in Athens when they were both students at UGA.  At the time, he was on the football team. He didn't grow up loving the Dawgs as my mother did. He grew up in Western Pennsylvania and transferred to Georgia from Pittsburgh as a sophomore. After college, they married and my dad went into the ministry. In 1992, he accepted a call to be the pastor of a small Baptist church in Queens (NYC), and they have been there ever since.   We would try to travel to a game each fall where I would get to see Athens in all its glory.  It was a thrill to walk out onto the field at halftime when my father's teams would be recognized.   But primarily my love for and knowledge of Georgia came from inside the home. In a city of eight million people, we were, to the best of our knowledge, the only family who decorated the house and the yard in Red and Black every autumn Saturday. I am a New Yorker to the core who loves the Georgia Bulldogs.

As a home-schooled student, I never had an opportunity to play football growing up.  My sports career consisted of Little League baseball in the spring and touch football in the fall.  When I transferred to Armuchee High School for my senior year, I was on the football team and played on special teams and as a back-up defensive end. That was the first time I had ever put on a football uniform. So I find it a bit comical that I am the only one from my high school team that still suits up in full pads every weekend. 

I also have the privilege of wearing silver britches with a tail on the back of them, a football #1 jersey, oversized paws with only 4 fingers, and an enormous bulldog head commonly known as Hairy Dawg. Contrary to popular belief, the suit itself has no ventilation system, which means temperatures in the suit rise anywhere from 25 to 30 degrees hotter than the immediate surroundings. There are only a few students that get to assume the responsibilities of Hairy Dawg. One student suits up for the pregame Dawg Walk, another works the first half, and the third handles the second half. We rotate each week.

In addition to UGA sporting events, we are often called to make appearances at private and corporate functions as a goodwill ambassador for the University.  From the perspective of the attendees, Hairy Dawg just appears. My highest profile "gig" to date was an opportunity to shoot two commercials in Bristol, Conn., at the ESPN studios.   ESPN contacted UGA this past January and asked for Hairy Dawg to make an appearance in a commercial with former Bulldog and current NFL quarterback Matthew Stafford. Also, they shot another one with Hairy Dawg and Robinson Cano from the New York Yankees.

The ESPN gig was a thrill, but it does not rank as my highest honor serving as Hairy Dawg.  What brings me the most joy while being the mascot is being able to brighten the day of those who often need it the most. I often get to visit hospitals, assisted living facilities, special education classrooms, and even handicapped sections at sporting events. There is no greater feeling than seeing a little boy in a hospital bed light up, or being able to hold the hand of a child in a special education classroom or hug those in wheel chairs who are unable to stand up; that rare opportunity is the primary motivation for why I am the mascot. Being Hairy Dawg gives me a unique chance to bring joy to so many different types of people. It truly is an honor.

In order to assume the reigns of the great Hairy Dawg, one must try out. A two-minute dance or skit must be performed in front of former Hairy Dawgs, the dance coordinator, the cheerleading coach/spirit squad coordinator and various judges. I have always loved to dance so naturally, my tryout consisted of mostly dancing. The first time I had ever put the suit on was the day of tryouts, and I was scared to death. Fortunately, the judges liked my routine enough to select me as one of the next Hairy Dawgs. The position is not handed down from year to year so I had to try out again this year. Being a returner, I knew my tryout had to top all others (and there were 22 of us trying out). I pulled a few strings and actually recruited 20 members of the Red Coat band to come to the coliseum. For my grand finale, I lead the band in a rendition of "Shout It Out." The judges approved, and I am currently in my second full season as Hairy Dawg.

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The role of Hairy Dawg is shared between four Georgia students including (l-r) Colton Fowlkes, Charles Purcell, Parker Moore and Billy McWhorter (not pictured) {Photo by Lindsay Boyle}

Bulldogs to host more championships

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**Very exciting news out of Athens today as UGA was selected to host the 2014 NCAA Men's & Women's Tennis Championships as well as one of the 2014 NCAA Gymnastics Regionals. Georgia consistently bids on hosting opportunities, and is often awarded those championships. The Bulldogs have hosted the tennis tournament more than any other school in the country - now 30 times for either men, women, or both. We know the players and coaches and are pumped and the staff is already updating its to-do lists!**

Below is the full release that ran on Georgiadogs.com today.

Also noteworthy, Georgia will host the 2013 NCAA Women's Golf Championships this spring.

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ATHENS, Ga. --- The University of Georgia will host the 2014 NCAA Men's & Women's Tennis Championships as well as a 2014 NCAA Gymnastics Regional, according to an announcement from the NCAA on Thursday.

The Dan Magill Tennis Complex has hosted the men's tournament 24 times and the women's event three times, in addition to three combined tournaments for a total of 30, most recently in both 2010 and 2012. The event has been combined since 2006. The Georgia men's tennis team has won six NCAA titles on the men's side - five of which came while playing in Athens. The women claimed the national title in 1994 and 2000 - the former coming at home.

The NCAA has recognized a national champion in men's tennis every year since 1946. It has done so in tournament format since 1977. The first women's championship was held in 1982. The tournaments have undergone some changes since their inceptions, including moving from a 16-team field to the current 64-team field in 1999. The first two rounds are held at on-campus sites, followed by the Round of 16 and beyond at the designated NCAA Championship site.

In the inaugural men's tournament held at the University of Georgia, Stanford defeated UCLA in the team portion while the Cardinal's Matt Mitchell was the singles champion and Bruce Manson and Chris Lewis of Southern California claimed the doubles crown. In the first women's tournament, Stanford defeated UCLA in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Cardinal's Alycia Mouton won the singles championship and the Bruins duo of Heather Ludloff and Lynn Lewis took the inaugural doubles honor.

"We are extremely excited to have been selected again," said 25th-year men's tennis head coach Manuel Diaz. "It's a credit to the many wonderful people in our athletic department who make the event so special, as well as all the volunteers in our community and the fans from around the country who make it the best collegiate event in our sport. Our athletic director [Greg McGarity] and everyone here at UGA are committed to continuing to host championships."

"This is fantastic news for the University of Georgia and the community of Athens. We're very excited and honored to host the incredible NCAA Tennis Championships again," said Jeff Wallace, in his 28th season as the head coach of the women's tennis team. "It all started with Coach Dan Magill in the 1970s and his vision to make Georgia the 'mecca of college tennis,' which it became under his leadership. Some of the greatest moments in our program's history have taken place at the complex that most deservedly bears his name. We're looking forward to having the nation's best players and teams come to Athens, and our staff and community always do a tremendous job of supporting the event."

Georgia is also one of six host sites for a 2014 NCAA Gymnastics Regional. The regional competition will be held at Stegeman Coliseum on Saturday, April 5, 2014. Teams and all-around competitors advancing out of the regional championships will compete at the 2014 National Collegiate Women's Gymnastics Championships in Birmingham, Ala., hosted by the University of Alabama and the Alabama Sports Foundation.

The other five host institutions for NCAA Regionals include Arkansas, LSU, Minnesota, Penn State and Washington. Georgia has served as host of a regional 11 times, most recently in 2011.

"To be able to host a regional championship is a bonus for our fans and our team," said first-year gymnastics head coach Danna Durante. "Georgia always puts on well-run championship events, and Stegeman Coliseum is an outstanding venue for a regional championship and the teams traveling in. Looking at our 2014 schedule, we have tough road meets against several national powers, so for us to be able to host regionals is really beneficial from a planning standpoint. We are looking forward to it."

It's Midnight Somewhere!

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You've heard of basketball teams holding Midnight Madness to kick off the season... well, Georgia is about to do the same thing, from 7-10 PM this Friday night in Stegeman Coliseum. It's not exactly "midnight," but it's still going to be a great event and we hope you'll join us for Basketbash! 

Information on the event, including can't-miss giveaways, can be found here

Also make sure you view the men's and women's season previews from the good folks at GTV.

For an unprecedented amount of updates on men's basketball, be sure you're following @UGABasketball on Twitter - seriously, you won't believe how many updates! And speaking of Twitter - wonder when @UGACoachLanders will start taking pictures of his cow and sharing them with us again. It doesn't get much better than that during WBB season.

It's Football's bye week so be sure you come out and support the Hoop Dawgs this Friday night! See you there!

Georgia-Florida Beach Sweep

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***Editor's Note*** The following was posted on Georgiadogs.com today. Please consider helping out if you plan on attending Georgia-Florida weekend at the end of the month. Let's be responsible for our actions and represent Bulldog Nation well!


Brunswick, Ga. - Brunswick community members and volunteers will gather to "sweep" the beaches of St. Simons Island on the morning of Oct. 27 as football fans head to Jacksonville, Fla., for the Georgia-Florida game. The community cleanup is part of the fifth annual Georgia-Florida Football Weekend Community Beach Sweep.

Between 5,000 and 6,000 football fans will gather on St. Simons Island's East Beach on Oct. 26, an annual tradition that occurs the Friday before the Georgia-Florida football game. In years past, on Saturday morning the beaches have been littered with large amounts of waste--such as Styrofoam coolers, beverage cans and glass bottles--which pose a threat to marine life without cleanup efforts.

College students and football fans are asked to do their part--and to "stash their trash" in the provided beach trash and recycling containers and to refrain from using Styrofoam products, said Lea King-Badyna, a Glynn 4-H Advisory Council member and beach cleanup organizer.

"This year we are concentrating volunteer efforts on Saturday morning of the Georgia-Florida football weekend," she said. "On this high-volume weekend, fans, civic clubs, church groups, youth groups and individuals are all invited and encouraged to come out and help keep our Georgia beaches litter-free. This is an opportunity for community members to make a big difference in preserving a healthy coast."

Beach cleanup volunteers are asked to meet Oct. 27 at 7:30 a.m. at the old Coast Guard Station beach entrance boardwalk on St. Simons Island. Trash bags and gloves will be provided on site. Actual volunteer work time is anticipated at two hours.

The community beach sweep initiative is organized by the Glynn County 4-H Advisory Council in partnership with Keep Brunswick-Golden Isles Beautiful, Glynn County Parks and Recreation, Georgia Department of Natural Resources Coastal Resources Division, the UGA Cooperative Extension Office in Glynn County, the UGA Marine Extension Service and Georgia Sea Grant.

For more information or to participate, contact the Keep Brunswick-Golden Isles Beautiful offices at 912/279-1490.

Interviewing 101

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With millions of people on Twitter, Facebook, and every other social networking tool out there, it makes sense that collegiate student-athletes - often in high-profile positions in campus - would be right in the thick of things when it comes to sharing information this way. In dealing with the ease with which fans, media, and donors can readily view student-athletes social media profiles, and the fact that nothing is private these days (and once it's out there, it's permanent), it has become increasingly important for these student-athletes to be educated, to learn what to do and - perhaps more importantly - what not to do, as well as to understand how they can use social media to benefit themselves and their teams.

On Monday the UGA Athletic Association welcomed husband & wife media training specialists Randy Minkoff and Sue Castorino to campus to give lessons to specific teams and to freshmen on social media tips and interview etiquette. While many social media tactics, such as not posting negative comments about your opponent or photos of yourself holding a beer, might seem like common sense, student-athletes get in trouble for these very things every day, and Randy and Sue did a great job of reminding the Bulldogs to be smart.

Soccer players Tori Patterson and Elizabeth Johnson (team pictured below) spoke afterwards in an interview about how proud they are to put on a Georgia jersey and represent this university every day, which is why they said they enjoyed the tutorial on how to make sure they do a good job while they're here in this spotlight - regardless of how big or small it might be. Because someone is always out there listening.

Here's to hoping the next time you read about a Georgia student-athlete, they're conducting themselves in a way that would make you proud! Go Dawgs!

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Following the #Dawgs: Updates

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Georgiadogs.com and GTV are pleased to announce several new digital products to make following your Bulldogs much easier.

Mobile Apps

Georgiadogs.com has deployed a new and improved mobile experience for Bulldogs fans with iOS and Android devices. The official mobile application of University of Georgia athletics offers iOS and Android users easy and instant access to up-to-the-minute news and info for the 2012-13 school year. The mobile application is free to download from the App Store and Google Play Market. New to the application this year, users may now enhance their experience by purchasing access to live video and audio broadcasts from within the app.

In addition to the newly improved smartphone application, georgiadogs.com is now offering an iPad application! The new iPad app delivers the experience fans have come to love from georgiadogs.com, in a format optimized to take full advantage of the iPad's technological capabilities. Georgiadogs.com's iPad application is the definitive, premium tablet source for official Bulldogs content.

Bulldogs fans can gain access to live video and audio broadcasts with a paid in-application upgrade. The live media upgrade costs $4.99 per month/$19.99 per year for iOS users and $9.99 per year for Android users.

The update to the free application will include access to the following enhancements and features:

  • New design and optimized touch functionality
  • Live Video and Audio Broadcasts
  • Full GameTracker sport coverage
  • Newly added General Athletics section
  • Clickable pre/post-game functionality for the robust, new schedule section
  • A new in-app notifications system
  • School blog integration
  • Redesigned photo gallery presentation
  • Twitter integration on events pages, as well as more sharing options
  • Audio and video have been separated for ease of use
  • Bug fixes

The official mobile application of Georgia athletics is compatible with iOS devices and requires iOS 5.0 or above (iOS 4.3 support coming soon). The Android version is compatible with any Droid device running Android 3.2 (tablet) or 4.0 (smartphone) and up.

The application can be downloaded on your phone via the App Store or Google Play Store by searching for "Georgia Bulldogs."

Mobile GTV Video Player

Also, georgiadogs.com, in conjunction with CBSSports.com, yesterday rolled out the first version of an HTML5 video player within GTV that will allow you to view GTV on-demand content on your iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, and iTouch). We plan on this being available on "embedded" stories, and live game broadcasts soon.

Fans won't have to do anything different to access on-demand video. Our site will determine if the user is browsing georgiadogs.com on an iOS device and present the HTML5 player accordingly.

Iphone link: Georgia Sports - CBS Interactive, Inc.
Ipad app: Georgia Sports - CBS Interactive, Inc.

Bulldogs at the Paralympics Update

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By Connor Nolte

I know its a football Saturday but I wanted to give an update on Jarryd Wallace from London. I was able to watch him race last night and it was pretty incredible.

After the race, I was down in the "mixed zone", which is the tunnel that the athletes are interviewed by every reporter and broadcaster known to man. I gave Jarryd a big hug and congratulated him on how he ran. He finished 4th in his heat and only the top 3 advance to the finals. One last spot is  awarded to the sprinter with the next fastest time after the 6 auto qualifiers.

I wasn't sure if he was going to get that last spot so I was just talking to him about the overall experience when he looked over my shoulder and his face lit up. He had seen the start list for the final on a monitor and it included his name. Tonight, Jarryd races in the final of the 400m, an event in which, including last night, he has only run twice in competition since his amputation. A pretty incredible story. I'll be there again cheering him on as he races against Oscar Pistorius for the second straight night and two other Americans, Blake Leeper and David Prince.
 
 
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Checking in from the Paralympics

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**NOTE: Jarryd Wallace races in the 4x100m in London TODAY! Watch online at Paralympics.org between 5:07-5:14 PM!

By Connor Nolte

I guess this blog is long overdue. A lot has happened since I last reported on my experience with the United States Olympic Committee (read here).

My internship at the USOC has officially ended. I had a great summer in Colorado Springs working in the marketing department on Team USA's digital media efforts. While that internship is finished, I offered my services to the communications department for US Paralympics. They took me up on the offer and I am currently in London, England, with Team USA. It has been an incredible experience and I am so honored to be a part of the 2012 Paralympics.

My role here consists of covering events, posting stories to USParalympics.org, and posting Instagram images to the @USParalympics account. I've been covering just about everything. My favorite assignment to receive is the wheelchair basketball teams. My eyes have been opened to what an amazing sport it really is.

There hasn't been much time for sightseeing in London but I have been able to see most of the Olympic/Paralympic venues here and was even able to attend the Opening Ceremony. My credential gets me into every event and I've been trying to make my way to as many venues as possible.

I can't really describe what the atmosphere is like over here. I've never seen anything like it. Everywhere you look there are people and most are decked out in clothes that show support for their home countries. The scale of this event is incredible. I work out of the Main Press Centre most of the time, and it is a gigantic building with hundreds of computers and thousands of journalists file in and out each day.

I am planning on being at the Olympic Stadium to see fellow Bulldog, Jarryd Wallace, compete on the world's biggest stage. What an amazing opportunity! I haven't met up with him since he has been in London but am hoping to see him at some point while I'm here.

I also have some good news regarding my master's program. I completed my internship and passed the exit exam so I will be officially graduating with my Master's degree in Sport Management in December. I am extremely proud to have earned not one, but two degrees from the University of Georgia!

After the Paralympics I will be traveling in Europe for two weeks before heading back to the States. I'll be stopping in Paris, Rome, Greece, and Barcelona during my travels. I hope to post one more update after watching Jarryd race and the Games end.

Go Dawgs!

-Connor

#Football #Hashtags

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Happy Gameday Eve, Bulldog Nation! Hopefully you're all excited about tomorrow's season opener vs. Buffalo as Georgia is finally about to tee it up Between the Hedges in 2012!

Along those lines we've introduced something new this season that will ideally make your gameday social media experience better when it comes to following the Dawgs! We invite you to join us in using game-specific hashtags on Twitter when tweeting about the Bulldogs. The hashtags will give you a way to continue showing your support on social media, while the new tags will let you see what everyone else is saying about that week's game and join in the conversation! The list of hashtags is here:

Buffalo: #UGAvBUFF
Missouri: #UGAvMIZZ
FAU: #UGAvFAU
Vanderbilt: #UGAvVANDY
Tennessee: #UGAvTENN
S. Carolina: #UGAvSC
Kentucky: #UGAvUK
Florida: #UGAvUF
Ole Miss: #UGAvOM
Auburn: #UGAvAUB
Georgia Southern: #UGAvGSU
Georgia Tech: #UGAvGT

Thanks so much in advance for your support and please let us know by tweeting @UGAHedgesBlog how it goes for you! Try it out today as you start getting excited for tomorrow's game! We'll have updates all day tomorrow on our official UGA account (@UGAAthletics).

As always, GO DAWGS!

Getting better in 2012-13

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Good morning, Bulldog Nation. Looking around campus and the athletic complexes this week, and even just driving through town and seeing how many more people are around, it's obvious that the academic year is upon us. Football practice is in full swing, the soccer team is scrimmaging this Friday night, all the facilities have about finished their off-season upgrades, and... the UGA Athletic Association has completed some workshops in hopes of improving itself for the coming year. 

Last week several staff members spent a night at Lake Lanier, listening to speakers Carl Swearingen, Genie Chamberlin, and Carole Middlebrooks address the topics of team-building, customer service, and even a little bit of thinking outside the box. One thing Carl said that stuck with me, in particular, was that just because something has always been done a certain way, doesn't mean it's the right way. It was interesting to hear him, as a long-time Georgia season ticket holder, mention examples of things he's observed that he feels could be improved. One of his points was that sometimes companies, businesses, organizations, and the like get stuck in the same rut, and it was good to hear an outside perspective ask us why we do certain things or why we do them that way. The takeaway was that if you don't have a good answer, it may be time to change, adapt, and make a new plan of attack, and that's an attitude that will make UGA Athletics better.

The day also included team-building exercises such as building boats out of nothing but cardboard and duct tape and racing them across the hotel's pool. And, some karaoke - which included a guest rendition of "The Devil Went Down To Georgia" by our own Greg McGarity. We've got the pictures to prove it! (We'll save those for another day...)

Yesterday, the UGAAA met for lunch and a talk by Dr. Earl Suttle, who had some "Earl's Pearls" of wisdom on leadership and staying positive for a better work environment and overall growth and success of the team. Both retreats were good for us to evaluate ways to get better, and to make sure Georgia fans get a good experience when they come to our games, that student-athletes have a good experience playing here, that other UGA students are proud to say they attend this university, and that everyone is proud to be a part of the Bulldog Nation.

We're all looking forward to a very exciting 2012-13, and can't wait for you to be a part of it with us!

Go Dawgs!

Weekend Update: Olympic Bulldogs

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Good Monday morning, Bulldog Nation!

In case you were living under a rock this weekend, here's your one-stop update on what all your current/former Georgia athletes did in London!

*Allison Schmitt, a rising senior swimmer, already secured herself 2 medals - taking silver and set the American record in the 400 freestyle on Sunday in 4:01.77, one day after anchoring the US 4x100m freestyle relay that took bronze in another American record-setting performance. Schmitt just qualified this morning for the semifinals of this afternoon's 200m freestyle, and will be seeded second. The 200m free finals are on Tuesday.

*John Isner won his opening round singles match and will take on Tunisia's Malek Jaziri today (Monday) at 11 am ET. Isner lost his first round doubles match with Andy Roddick on Saturday, and could still be named to a mixed doubles team for the US, with that draw set to be announced Tuesday.

*Gymnastics signee Brittany Rogers helped Canada earn a berth in the team final for the first time at a non-boycotted Olympics Sunday. Canada has now reached the final just twice in history, the last in 1984. She and her teammates will compete Tuesday. Rogers placed seventh on vault with a score of 14.666 to qualify for the individual event final to take place Aug. 5. She also took 16th on bars with a 14.500.

*Former Georgia volleyball player Lizzie Reid and Great Britain will take on Algeria tonight at 5 pm, looking to avenge their opening round loss to Russia. Reid played the final two points of the second set vs. Russia on Saturday.

...and that's what you missed! Pretty amazing first weekend for the Dawgs in London... already 2 medals and plenty of opportunities for more!

Just a reminder, we'll be tweeting live results from the individual Georgia sports Twitter accounts, as well as from our official account (@UGAAthletics) and from our blog's page (@UGAHedgesBlog), so if you're trying to avoid results, STAY OFF TWITTER! :)

And if you're talking about the Bulldogs in the Olympics, please use our official hashtag #UGAOlym!

Have a great day and Go Dawgs!

Georgia Coverage of #UGAOlym

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Happy Friday afternoon, Bulldog Nation! Just wanted to check in and see who's excited for tonight's Olympics Opening Ceremonies? We definitely are! As you probably know by now, Georgia has 26 current or former athletes set to compete, as well as a coach and an administrator, AND, even one of my co-workers from UGA Sports Communications, Mike Mobley, on hand.The composite list of Bulldogs can be found here!

We will be doing our very best to bring you as much coverage of Georgia's action from the Olympics as possible. Your best bet is to follow us in as many ways as you can: check Georgiadogs.com, where we'll be posting stories throughout the Games, follow us on Twitter (@UGAAthletics and @UGAHedgesBlog, or on the sport-specific pages if you're looking for something in particular. Those can be found here). Also, "like" us on Facebook at Facebook.com/GeorgiaBulldogs. And of course we'll have as many nuggets as possible right here on Between The Hedges. 

A word of warning, our sports information folks will be working hard to bring you all the updates they can in real time, and since London is five hours ahead of us here on the East Coast, that means if you set your DVR to watch on the couch at night during prime time, you might not want to follow along as closely to us while the Games are going on. We definitely don't want to ruin anything for anyone! ::spoiler alert::

And finally, if you're chatting about the Games and your favorite Olympic Bulldogs on Twitter, please consider using the hashtag #UGAOlym. It's the best way to keep up with everything Georgia while everyone is in action!

Thanks, everyone, and we hope you have a great time watching and cheering on the Dawgs! Don't miss tonight's ceremonies starting at 7:30 PM ET!

Go Dawgs!

Olympians on campus

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Today we were lucky to have two of Georgia's 24 2012 Olympians on campus to train and meet with the media. Former Bulldogs Chris Colwill (diving) and Reese Hoffa (shot put) were here Tuesday and Georgiadogs.com was there to catch up with the Bulldog greats. Check out Colwill's interview here. Hoffa's to follow.

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Colwill was a three-time NCAA champion and a five-time SEC champion while at Georgia (2004-06, 08). He qualified for the London Games by winning the three-meter springboard at the U.S. Trials in Washington in June.

Meanwhile, Hoffa launched a world-leading mark of 72-2 1/4 in the shot put to win his Olympic Trials at the University of Oregon last month, clinching a berth in his third straight Olympics. He was a five-time All-America for Georgia from 1998-2001.

Georgia in the 2012 Olympics

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We've got Olympic fever here at UGA, and we hope you do, too! So far 24 current or former Georgia student-athletes have qualified for the 2012 Summer Games, which begin in London on July 27. Here is a list of who to watch for next month:

 

Swimming & Diving:

Rising senior Allison Schmitt (USA)

Rising junior Shannon Vreeland (USA)

Rising junior Andrew Gemmell (USA)

Former Bulldog Amanda Weir (USA)

Former Bulldog Kara Lynn Joyce (USA)

Former Bulldog Chris Colwill (USA)

Former Bulldog Wendy Trott (South Africa)

Former Bulldog Troyden Prinsloo (South Africa)

Former Bulldog Sarah Poewe (Germany)

Incoming freshman Brittany MacLean (Canada)

Incoming freshman Matias Koski (Finland)

Incoming freshman Yousef Alaskari (Kuwait)

Incoming freshman Ediz Yildirimer (Turkey)

Track & Field:

Former Bulldog Reese Hoffa (USA)

Former Bulldog Kibwe Johnson (USA)

Former Bulldog Andras Haklits (Croatia)

Former Bulldog Martin Maric (Croatia)

Former Bulldog Hyleas Fountain (USA)

Former Bulldog Jenny Dahlgren (Argentina)

Former Bulldog Sultana Frizell (Canada)

Former Bulldog Levern Spencer (St. Lucia)

 

Men's Tennis: Former Bulldog John Isner (USA)

 

Gymnastics: Incoming freshman Brittany Rogers (Canada)

 

Volleyball: Former Bulldog Lizzie Reid (England)

 

Also, former Lady Bulldog women's basketball star Teresa Edwards has been named the Chef de Mission for the U.S. Olympic Team, and will provide leadership for the squad while functioning as a liaison between the London Organizing Committee, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and other committees at the Games.

 

Men's basketball graduate Connor Nolte is serving this summer as a digital media intern for the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) in Colorado Springs, Colo., and will be assisting the governing body with its social media outreach efforts leading up to and during the Olympics.

 

And on Sunday Jarryd Wallace - the son of women's tennis coach Jeff Wallace and former Georgia distance runner Sabina Wallace - was named to the 2012 U.S. Paralympic Track & Field team which starts in August in London.

 

Be sure to keep up with all your favorite Bulldogs as they pursue their Olympic dreams -- follow along for updates here on Between The Hedges and, as always, on Georgiadogs.com.

Georgia Summer Round-up

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It's slower than usual in the UGAAA this time of year, but here is a round-up of some of the latest news surrounding your Bulldog teams as we enter the summer months:

*Baseball's Hunter Cole was named a Freshman All-America, while several of his Diamond Dog teammates were chosen in this month's MBL draft. Read more about the draft here.

*Track & Field performed solid at the NCAA Championships, with the women recording their highest team finish since 2007 and freshman pole vaulter Morgann Leleux taking second place in her event. More here.

*Mark Richt's new contract was finalized and approved, securing Richt in Athens through the 2016 season while Director of Athletics Greg McGarity's contract was extended through 2017. 

*Gymnast Kat Ding and swimmer Wendy Trott were named Capital One Academic All-Americans, with UGA one of just four schools (Alabama, Duke, Vermont) to have two student-athletes named to the prestigious list. More on that here.

Keep connected with all your University of Georgia Athletics news on Georgiadogs.com, as well as on Facebook (Facebook.com/GeorgiaBulldogs) and on Twitter (@UGAAthletics). 

Follow Between The Hedges on Twitter as well (@UGAHedgesBlog).

Whirlwind weekend

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Suffice it to say this weekend has already started off as a whirlwind here in the UGAAA and there's no end in sight! Starting with this afternoon's luncheon honoring football great Charley Trippi and continuing with tonight's inaugural Circle of Honor Gala, there are enough "extra-curricular" activities to keep us busy without even mentioning all the sports competing! Baseball, tennis, track & field, equestrian, softball, soccer... oh, and something called GDay? Yeesh!

To keep up with all of that, be sure you're following us online at @UGAAthletics and @UGAHedgesBlog for everything you need! And please, if you're tweeting about the spring game tomorrow, use the hashtag #GDay2012 to join the conversation about the game!

Have a great (busy) weekend and GO DAWGS!

Recap: Student-athlete awards banquet

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By Aimee Russo, UGA Sports Communications

The University of Georgia Athletic Association honored student-athletes from all 21 varsity sports at the annual awards banquet held at the Tate Center Grand Ballroom on Monday evening.

Several special recognition awards were announced, including the athlete of the year, presented to winners swimming's Mark Dylla of Littleton, Colo., and Marta Silva Zamora of Santiago de Compostela, Spain from women's golf.

Also, highlighting the banquet were the men's cross country and women's swimming and diving teams who were the recipients of the Faculty Athletics Representative Award for earning the highest team grade point average (GPA). 
 
Joel Eaves Award winners, football's Ty Frix of Calhoun, Ga.,swimming's Wendy Trott of Capetown, South Africa, and cross country's J.P. Hackney of Marietta, Ga., were recognized for earning the highest GPA for amale and female student-athlete. The gymnastics team was also awarded the Bulldog Cup for participation in community service, leadership programs, and support of other teams.
 
Other special award winners include:
 
Marilyn Vincent Scholar-Athlete Award: Erica Malagón, Athens, Ga., and Wendy Trott, Capetown, South Africa, women's swimming and diving.
Dick Bestwick Scholar-Athlete Award: J.P. Hackney, Marietta, Ga., men's cross country/track and field.
Clifford Lewis Leadership Award: Wendy Trott, Capetown, South Africa, women's swimming and diving.
Dick Copas Leadership Award: Ty Frix, Calhoun, Ga., football.
Hornsby Howell Community Service Award: Noel Couch, Towaco, N.J., gymnastics.
SEC Boyd McWhorter Postgraduate Scholarship winner and nominee: J.P. Hackney, Marietta, Ga., men's cross country/track and field and Wendy Trott, Capetown, South Africa, women's swimming and diving.
SEC Brad Davis Postgraduate Scholarship nominees: Aron White, Columbia, M.O., football and Kathleen Gates, Wilmington, N.C., volleyball.
UGA Sportsmanship Award: Chris Burnette, LaGrange, Ga., football and Laura Eddy, Atlanta, Ga., soccer.
Inspiration Award: Jarryd Wallace, Watkinsville, Ga., member of Bulldog cross country/track and fieldteam in 2008.
 
Athletes receiving recognition for earning all A's during their academic careers include Nicki Alexander, Atlanta, Ga., equestrian; Alex Andes, Atlanta, Ga., equestrian; Samantha Belcher, Carbondale, Colo., equestrian; Madison Berger, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., equestrian; Greg Bingham, Columbus, Ga., football; Olivia Boggs, Smyrna, Ga., women's swimming and diving; Jenna Buckley, Atlanta, Ga., soccer; Noel Couch, Towaco, N.J., gymnastics; Matthew Degenova, Kenner, La.; football; Kathleen Eastman, Jackson Hole, Wy., soccer; Hadley Ferguson, Fernandina Beach, Fla., women's cross country/track and field; Will Freeman, Atlanta, Ga., men's swimming and diving; Ty Frix, Calhoun, Ga., football; Andrew Gemmell, Wilmington, Del., men's swimming and diving; Jessica Hale, Marietta, Ga., track and field; Julia Hemingway, Alpharetta, Ga., equestrian; Morgan Justiss, Alpharetta, Ga., equestrian; Lauren Herring, Greenville, N.C., women's tennis; Marrion Kalafut, Acworth, Ga., women's cross country/track and field; Alisha Laing, Schoolcraft, Mich., volleyball; Maddie Locus, Sugarland, Texas, women's swimming and diving, Erica Malagón, Athens, Ga., women's swimming and diving; Jordan Mattern, Aurora, Colo., women's swimming and diving; Michelle McKeehan, Greenwood, Ind., women's swimming and diving; Bret McDaniel, Atlanta, Ga., women's cross country/track and field; Emily McNutt, Woodstock, Ga., women's cross country/track and field; Connor Nolte, Alpharetta, Ga., men's basketball; Darcie O'Brien, Lawrenceville, Ga., women's swimming and diving; Jenna Owens, Highlands Ranch, Colo., soccer; Lucie Ondraschkova, Opava, Czech Republic, women's track and field; Sarah Perry, Lawrenceville, Ga., women's cross country/track and field; Camille Pfister, Kennesaw, Ga., gymnastics; Maria Palumbo, Alpharetta, Ga., soccer; Christian Riess, New Orleans, La., men's swimming and diving; Maria Salazar, Portland, Ore., equestrian; Kate Skoglund, Tualatin, Ore., equestrian; Rachel Stallman, Atlanta, Ga., equestrian; Kelsie Stovall, New Orleans, La., women's track and field; Paige Stawicki, Argyle, Texas, equestrian; Ali Sullivan, Wilton, Conn., equestrian; Wendy Trott, Capetown, South Africa, women's swimming and diving; Shannon Vreeland, Overland Park, Kansas, women's swimming and diving; Allison Updike, Nesquehoning, Pa., women's track and field; Shayla Worley, Orlando, Fla., gymnastics.
 
Academic Achievement honorees include:
Baseball: Colby May, Guyton, Ga.
Basketball: Matt Bucklin, Marietta, Ga., and Meredith Mitchell, Midfield, Ala.
Equestrian: Honey Beth Campbell, Gainesville, Ga., and Jessica Buckko, Sarasota, Fla.
Football: Chris Burnette, LaGrange, Ga., Reuben Faloughi, Martinez, Ga., Tavarres King, Mount Airy, Ga., Cornelius Washington, Hephzibah, Ga., and Parker Welch, Jesup, Ga.
Golf: Michael Cromie, Cary, N.C., and Abby Johnson, Buford, Ga.
Gymnastics: Kaylan Earls, Chicago, Ill.
Swimming and Diving: Bobby Chambliss, Dunwoody, Ga., Adam Parker, Maryville, Tenn., Lauren English, LincolnPark, N.J., and Ansley Long, Kennesaw, Ga.
Soccer: Ashley Baker, Lilburn, Ga.
Softball: Ashley Pauly, Kennesaw, Ga.
Tennis: Ignacio Taboada, Atlanta, Ga., and Alina Jeromina, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Track: Waymon Storey, Atlanta, Ga., Miles Svoboda, Marietta, Ga.

Q&A: Director of Event Management Christie Purks

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In this edition of the Behind The Hedges Q&A, we sat down with Director of Event Management Christie Purks. With two degrees from UGA and with her vast experience including serving as the meet director of the 2001 and 2008 NCAA Gymnastics Championships in Athens, Purks has just about seen and done it all in her time in the UGAAA.

BtH: So you're the Director of Event Management - could you take us through your average day?

Purks: Well...

BtH: Is there no such thing as an average day?

Purks: That would be very true. There's a lot of variety--you can kind of put my job into two categories: one is the daily planning that involves being in the office, drafting memos and having meetings, and then the other portion is when I'm out at the events, at the tennis or basketball court. Those days are more troubleshooting and problem-solving, taking care of issues as they come up as opposed to the planning of the other category.

BtH: Do you have a favorite subpart of either part?

Purks: I like being out of the office. There's a lot of variety, you come in contact with lots of different people. It's not that it's easier, because you're dealing with problems, but I do enjoy being out. I would not do well sitting behind a desk every day, so that's one reason why I've kind of been drawn to this job.

BtH: How did you come to be at UGA?

Purks: I have two degrees from the University--I was a Public Relations major as an undergrad and later got my graduate degree in Sport Administration. I had the good fortune one summer as an undergrad to work for the athletic department as a student intern. That got my foot in the door and gave me the opportunity to meet Lewis Gainey, who at the time was the Assistant Athletic Director for Event Management. When I got done with classes for my graduate degree, I needed an internship to complete the program. Lewis offered one to me helping plan a swimming and diving national championship and, once I was done, offered me a full time job.

BtH: You've coordinated several other national championships across a variety of sports, right?

Purks: I have! I tell students who come talk with me that that's what I consider myself most fortunate for being able to work at Georgia, because we host a lot of postseason events. Many institutions just don't have the resources, either staff-wise or financially, to be able to host these kinds of events, but the University of Georgia has always taken pride in hosting postseason events so I feel like I've actually been given the opportunity to plan big events on a big stage at UGA. Maybe my favorite - well, I shouldn't say favorite - maybe the largest event I've gotten to handle was the 2008 Women's Gymnastics National Championship.

BtH: Which Georgia won.

Purks: We did win, which is always nice.

BtH: When you say it's not your favorite, is it because you have a different one, or because you're not going to pick favorites?

Purks: I won't pick favorites. I've done two gymnastics championships, two swimming and diving national championships, and a tennis one, too. They're all different and unique and come with their own stories. But that one was by far the largest I've had to coordinate and put on.

BtH: What's the hardest part--is it that kind of size and scale?

Purks: That's one part of it--with the gymnastics, we tried very hard to replicate the way it's done at the Olympics, with the gymnasts competing on podiums that had to be constructed from scratch. It brought about lots of different challenges for the facility, we had to build the platforms and rearrange seating in the arena. Way different than a regular season gymnastics meet.

BtH: A lot of tough logistics and planning must go into these events. What's something you like to do to relax, your favorite part of Athens?

Purks: Well, I grew up in Atlanta, so I do like the big city life, but it's replicated really well for scale here. And Athens has a lot of great restaurants, that's definitely my favorite part. But I also went to school here and loved it, and I just feel like I'm one of the fortunate ones who got to hang around.

---By Eliot Beckham

Hairy Dawg on SportsCenter!

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Big shoutout to our very own Hairy Dawg for his appearance in the latest "This Is SportsCenter" spot, which debuts today on ESPN! Hairy was on site in Bristol last month and got to check out some of the sights around the ESPN campus -- including sitting in for this shoot!

Congrats to Hairy on his small-screen debut! 

You can check out the commercial here!

Follow us on Twitter!

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EXCITING NEWS!! As of today our Twitter account for Between The Hedges - @UGAHedgesBlog - is up and running! This account will keep you connected to the UGA Athletic Association and all of your favorite Bulldog teams by tweeting links to these blog posts, sharing pictures and videos from around campus, and just giving you an overall idea of what's going on here in Athens! We hope you enjoy it and please give us a follow!

Q&A: Director of Marketing John Bateman

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John Bateman's job at the UGA Athletic Association is officially the Director of Marketing, but as he puts it, it's hard to call something you love "work." In the first edition of the Between The Hedges Q&A, we sat down with Bateman to learn what he does for the UGAAA.

 

BtH: Thanks for sitting down with us. Could you describe what being the Director of Marketing entails, what an average day is like?

 

Bateman: Well, I usually like to get in around 7:30 - I read up on what's going around in the SEC online, make sure I'm up to date on what other schools are doing - and then after that, it's really a mixed bag. On non-event days, I'll do work around the office with our student assistants and interns to prepare for and handle group and single game tickets for events coming up. On days we do have events, I'll usually organize ticket sales at the student bookstore or coordinate large sales to groups. Then I'll head to the event and make sure that souvenirs and concessions are running smoothly and that our groups are having fun. Around halfway we'll get attendance figures, and that's when the cycle begins again.

 

BtH: Last night's baseball game against Georgia Tech drew a crowd of 3,004, a season high.

 

Bateman: Yeah, it went really well. Georgia versus Georgia Tech is always such a great and competitive game no matter the sport, and always draws a large crowd. It helps when the weather is as nice as it was yesterday. We tried hard to promote it within the student body specifically, and we couldn't have asked for a better turnout. 1,044 of that crowd were students, which completely surpassed expectations. So thanks to them for making it such a great success.

 

BtH: The game didn't go too bad either (Georgia won by a scoreline of 7-1).

 

Bateman: As marketers, we don't throw touchdowns, make free throws or score goals, but we do influence the game. We try to pitch the event to the fans as what it is: an enjoyable SEC sporting event put on by one of the top athletic programs in the nation, featuring incredible student-athletes.

 

BtH: What you do for Georgia is really appreciated. How did you end up here?

 

Bateman: I grew up in Albany and came to UGA as an undergraduate in '86, graduating in '91. I got my Masters degree in education from the graduate school here, focusing in sport management. As an undergrad I had been a student manager with the basketball team, and that was where I got started. After grad school I interned for a while at the offices of the Southeastern Conference in Birmingham, but came back in '94 to work on the promotions staff. I haven't left since.

 

BtH: So Athens has kind of been a second home to you. What's your favorite part about living here?

 

Bateman: Oh, do I have to pick one? It's America's greatest college town. The food, the music, the downtown life... it's just so easy to go out and get involved, to meet people. I've had the opportunity to coach the Athens Academy 5th and 6th grade girls' basketball team, just through friends I've met. The town keeps you young.

 

BtH: If it's hard to pick one aspect of Athens you like most, it's got to be even harder to pick the best thing about work.

 

Bateman: It's hard to call it going to work, really. But getting to interact with all the students is certainly a highlight. We have an especially close relationship with the campus community.

 

BtH: You're the "Mayor of Milledge," right?

 

Bateman:  Some of the [fraternities and sororities] came up with that nickname for me a while back, just because we're so involved in marketing events and coordinating with them.

 

BtH: I've seen it's your twitter handle, @mayorofmilledge. You've got quite a following.

 

Bateman: I just talk about Georgia, and make sure people know when and where events are happening. It's not hard selling the Dawgs.

 

Check back next week for another edition of the Q&A!

Design a shirt, win $1000!

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Good Monday morning, Bulldog Nation! I hope that if you had a chance to get away for Spring Break that you had a great time and were able to stay connected to all your favorite Georgia teams along the way! 

Wanted to make sure you all don't miss a great opportunity to showcase your Georgia Bulldog pride with this great contest! State Farm - through its 2012 UGA Spirit Shirt contest - is offering you the chance to design a Georgia t-shirt for the chance to win $1,000. 

The winning design will be selected by UGA students, and must be submitted by March 21. That's just two days from now, so get designing! 

All the information you need, including how to upload your design, can be found here.

Work hard, play hard for UGA Volleyball

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The UGA Volleyball team is currently enjoying its spring break week in Wilmington, N.C., mixing a lot of fun and downtime in with some serious training and preparation for the upcoming 2012 season.

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During the trip to Wilmington, the team is spending its mornings training on the beach, followed by practice at a local high school. Georgia will put its hard work into practice as it faces East Carolina in a scrimmage today. The team will also spend the time working together to cook meals and bonding.

Following the spring break getaway, the Bulldogs will continue their spring season, traveling to Chapel Hill, N.C., to take on UNC on March 24. Georgia will make the trip to Clemson on April 4 to take on the Tigers, before wrapping up the spring season on April 21 when it hosts Georgia Southern at the Ramsey Student Center at 3 p.m. Fans are encouraged to attend the match and admission is free.

Richt meets with media on Monday

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With spring practice set to begin for the Georgia football team next Tuesday (a week from tomorrow) and the annual G-Day spring game set for April 14, which will be here before we know it, head coach Mark Richt sat down to touch base with the media before he heads out of town for his own "spring break" of sorts.

Richt started by talking about the team's somewhat different approach to strength and conditioning for the upcoming season, which includes two new hires in that department. Read about that here.

With Sherman Armstrong, the team is looking to "bolster the speed element," Richt said, as Armstrong has extensive experience working with all types of athletes on speed, strength and quickness. Meanwhile, John Thomas - who comes to Georgia after 20 seasons on the staff at Penn State - will specialize in high intensity training. Richt was pleased with the fact that the team will now be able to offer a diverse approach when it comes to strength and conditioning because the plans can be different for each player. "One size does not fit all" when it comes to strength and conditioning, Richt said.

The head coach also talked about the fact that spring practice is a great time to get back to the fundamentals and work on the little things. He is excited to get to see who is already showing they're ready to play football in the Southeastern Conference, and "which guys are mature enough to get into the ballgame."  

Finally, exciting news out of the press conference was the announcement that Richt as well as Todd Grantham have signed contract extensions and will be with the Bulldogs for many years to come. Read more about that good news here.

Full video of the press conference is here.

Can't believe spring ball is already almost here! Go Dawgs!

Hey, I know you!

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At one of the largest and busiest airports in the world, you don't always expect to run into folks you know at Hartsfield-Jackson, but yesterday the gymnastics and equestrian teams did just that! 

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Good luck to both teams as they compete this weekend on the road! Equestrian takes on SMU and TCU today and Oklahoma State tomorrow, while the Gym Dogs meet Michigan tonight. GO DAWGS! Hopefully they offered each other a little pep talk in the airport!

Baseball for a good cause

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By now you've probably heard about/read about/seen Georgia Baseball's exciting walk-off win over Kennesaw State last night at Coolray Stadium in Lawrenceville, but what you might not know about is what else the game was being played for. 

Four-year-old Kasyn Olivadotti - daughter of Georgia's inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti - is currently being treated for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in Atlanta, a condition Kasyn was diagnosed with after Kirk and his family moved to Georgia to take the job last year. The wives of the other Bulldog coaches, in conjunction with Children's Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA), put on a fundraiser for cancer research in Kasyn's honor, where ALL proceeds from last night's game went toward the "Kasyn Cares Fund" at the Aflac Cancer Center of CHOA.

Kasyn even got to throw out the first pitch before last night's game. How about those red shoes?!

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A big thank you to everyone who helped organize the event and make the day so special for a part of the UGA family. More information on the event and CHOA can be found here

The Great Transformation

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It's always amazing to think about how many sporting events take place at UGA each week. But what most people don't realize is how many people it takes to make those events run smoothly, and how much time and energy is put into making sure our student-athletes and coaches are able to do their jobs without having to worry about any of the behind-the-scenes details. We're lucky here at Georgia to have some of the best and hardest working folks in the business, whether they've been here 30 years or 30 days. Everyone's role is important and together we're able to help our teams compete at the highest level each and every day.

One of the most striking examples of this, however, and something that doesn't get near the amount of attention it deserves is something I'll refer to as The Great Transformation. Ever stop to think about the fact that less than 24 after the Gym Dogs are through competing in Stegeman Coliseum, there are often basketball games? Or vice versa? There have been times when it had to go from basketball to gymnastics to basketball in a 3-day span, and the process of converting the building from one set-up to the other is amazing. 

After last Friday night's gymnastics meet vs. UCLA, we had the chance to catch up with facility manager Melvin Robinson, who spearheads The Great Transformation, and explained a little bit of the process that he and his crew go through dozens of times each winter/spring.

Robinson said his staff about 15-20 people usually take between 3 1/2 - 4 hours to both break down one set-up and assemble the other. 

"It's longer going from basketball to gymnastics because we have to make sure everything is right," Robinson explained. "[Assistant gymnastics coach] Doug [McAvinn] helps with making sure everything is set up properly, that the measurements are right, the weights are right, so that way takes a little more time. It's closer to four hours when we have to go that direction."

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"We just get in here, tear it all apart. Tonight, we'll move all the equipment, bring the rims back out, clean the floor. We're more efficient and effective with the process now, and I really enjoy it. I like to get after it, work hard and see the end result."

Robinson said he learned the set-up and break-down process from others on his staff who had been doing it before he got here, and once you watch it happen a few times you get it.

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Next time you watch a Gym Dogs meet and come back that same weekend to see a basketball game, don't forget to think about how that was possible!!

Be social!

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Good Thursday afternoon, Bulldog Nation!

Going to make this one quick, as we've all got to go home and take our naps before the big men's basketball game tonight at 9 PM ET! Georgia taking on Kentucky at the unforgiving Rupp Arena tonight on ESPN! On that note, though, I want to invite you all to participate in something really cool tied in with the game. The one and only Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) will be on hand in Lexington on a strictly social media mission. Jay is going to be faciliiating a conversation about the game using the hashtag #askbilas. Fans are encouraged to use that hashtag to talk about the game and ask Jay questions, and the best tweets will even make it to air! Please help support the Bulldogs and show them the love tonight on Twitter! 

Also in the world of social media, we've got something very new and exciting in the hopper for you. Starting now, we've embedded an ESPN3.com page on the left side of our official Facebook (Facebook.com/GeorgiaBulldogs), where you'll be able to watch all the men's and women's basketball games as long as both teams are playing in their respective SEC tournaments. So log onto Facebook and click "ESPN3" on the sidebar to stay up to the minute with the action!

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On that note, we're signing off on Between The Hedges. But please continue your reading and viewing here on Georgiadogs.com... the folks at GTV and IMG have some great videos for you this week so please check them out!

Goodnight!

Weekend wrap-up

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Happy Monday morning, Bulldog Nation!

Hope your week is off to a great start - ours is already off and running with the momentum of an unbelievable weekend in the Athletic Department! Overall, Bulldog teams went 13-2 on the weekend, not even counting some standout individual performances across the board. 

The highlight was probably the men's basketball team's dominating 76-62 win over 11th-ranked Florida in Stegeman Coliseum Saturday afternoon. After the game, head coach Mark Fox discussed his team's effort and their mindset following the loss to LSU in their last outing, while senior Gerald Robinson said he was a good feeling about the Florida game immediately after the loss in Baton Rouge. 

On the women's side, the Lady Bulldogs clinched the No. 3 seed in the upcoming SEC Tournament as they defeated LSU at home yesterday, 62-46. They used 14 points from sophomore Khaalidah Miller to pull away from the Tigers in the regular-season finale, while the game was special for a different reason - as former Georgia men's golf standout and current professional golfer Bubba Watson made good on a bet he had with Andy Landers (because of this shot) and got to serve as a guest coach for the contest.

We caught up with Bubba before the game. He was clearly in the zone. Check it out here

The Diamond Dogs swept Winthrop this weekend at home, while the softball team went a blistering on the weekend in California, a stretch that included three wins over ranked opponents as the team moves to 12-2 on the year.

The Gym Dogs suffered a loss at No. 1 Florida on Friday night, but turned in their second-highest road score of the season with a 196.825. That placed the gymnastics team at No. 4 in the first edition of the RQS rankings that came out today. The RQS rankings used a team's six best scores of the season, three of which are from away meets, and are calculated by eliminating the team's highest score and averaging the remaining five.

The men's and women's track & field teams placed third and fifth, respectively, at the SEC Indoor Championships in Lexington, Ky., with three athletes winning individual titles in Torrin Lawrence (400m), Aaron Evans (800m), and Colleen Felix (triple jump).

Women's tennis won two matches, including a 4-3 thrilled over Memphis on Friday coupled with yesterday's 7-0 rout of No. 17 Clemson. 

Swimming & diving used its Last Chance Meet to improve upon some postseason qualifying marks, while equestrian posted a pair of wins over fourth-ranked Baylor (13-6) and Fresno State (17-1) over the weekend in Athens.

We really appreciated all the love on Twitter (@UGAAthletics) and sent to our individual sport pages... keep it coming!

And speaking of Twitter, here's a chance for something pretty cool. This Thursday night when the men's basketball team travels to take on Kentucky, fans have the chance to interact with ESPN's Jay Bilas using the hashtag #askbilas. Jay will be fielding questions and engaging about college basketball throughout the game, so don't miss out!

Until next time, GO DAWGS and thanks for reading!

Georgia Bulldogs Facebook Covers!

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For all of you Facebook users out there, the good folks at Georgiadogs.com have created four brand new images that you can download and set as the cover photo on your new Facebook timeline! The images available right now are gymnastics, baseball, football, and men's tennis.

Just follow the instructions here to show your Georgia Bulldogs pride on your Facebook page! ENJOY!

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Starting a new streak

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As the men's tennis team prepares to take on in-state foe Georgia Tech today at 4:00 p.m. in Lindsey Hopkins, the Athens Banner-Herald ran an article on the rivalry and how the fourth-ranked Bulldogs are aiming to get back on track vs. Tech after last year's heartbreaking 4-3 loss in Atlanta snapped Georgia's 24-match winning streak over GT dating back to Dan Magill's last season (1988).

To that end, head coach Manny Diaz said, "A lot of our guys are still thinking about last year's match that got away. Georgia Tech was just a fine, fine team. ... Last year, we had the lead in the deciding match, and we served for that match, so it's a painful memory for some of our players and a match we'd love to have back."

Read sports editor Chris White's full story here

In other news, the official UGA Athletics Twitter ran an interesting promotion today to get fans excited for the match, as the latest in their #tweetup series went like this:

@UGAAthletics:  is back! In tennis what do you call a score of 0? Find me at the UGA bookstore entrance & win $20 for a date night in Athens!

...that solicited the following responses:


 it's called love...hello from Asheville, NC



The first 200 fans in attendance today get "Wreck Tech" t-shirts. You can never have too many of those. Good luck to the tennis Dawgs today as they try to start another streak over the Yellow Jackets.

Grady Students Gain Experience With UGA Athletics

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By Eliot Beckham, Sports Communications/Social Media intern, for "Between The Hedges."

"I strongly believe that the best way to teach journalism is to go out and do it," says Dr. Welch Suggs, as he surveys his students each interviewing a member of the Georgia women's golf team Wednesday at the UGA golf course. "I am a very big promoter of experiential learning, so I wanted to find an environment where students could get a wide variety of covering different events, and also being able to write different feature stories."

Dr. Suggs teaches a class new to the Grady School of Journalism this semester entitled Sports Reporting and Writing. The class gives an opportunity to students who are interested in the field of sports journalism to get hands-on experience interacting with student-athletes and covering events. Last semester, several of Suggs' students attended UGA soccer and volleyball games, conducted interviews, and wrote game recaps on deadline.

"What we're doing with sports in general, we're teaching the reporting skills that any journalist in sports is going to learn: reporting, researching, storytelling across a variety of platforms, and being an honest broker of information - not trying to sell someone a story, but really trying to present the news as we see it," Suggs said.

Events like Wednesday's media session with the golfers, where students played the part of the press in a brief press conference with head coach Kelley Hester before pairing off with the student-athletes for one-on-one interviews, accurately reflect the real process journalists go through on a regular basis. And despite the informal setting of the golf course on a pleasant afternoon, the atmosphere feels professional.

"As a student, I don't really get to do stuff like this very often," says senior journalism major Michael Terry, who is taking the course this semester while also working as an assistant in the UGA Sports Communications office. "There are people on one side of the fence who give the information, the side I've worked on most, and there are people on the other side who want it, so it's definitely different to be on the journalist's side. I think this class is helping me better learn what I can help a reporter with."

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Women's golf coach Kelley Hester speaks to Welch Suggs' class.

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Students conducted interviews with the golf team and will turn in a feature for class.


For more information, or to read the finished products, visit the course Web site, www.gradysports.uga.edu.

Hump Day Wrap-up

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The Georgia track & field teams are set to split up and go three different directions as they make their final preparations for the SEC Indoor Championships Feb. 24-26 in Lexington, Ky. This weekend the Bulldogs will compete at the Husky Classic in Seattle, the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark., and the Tiger Paw Invitational in Clemson, S.C. 

Bulldog senior sprinter Torrin Lawrence, who has the second fastest 200-meter dash time (21.12) and the fourth fastest 400 time (46.89) in the SEC this season, is returning to a track in Fayetteville, Ark., this weekend where he has had immense success. He not only won a national 400 crown in 2010, but he also clocked the fourth (45.03), fifth (45.10) and seventh (45.23) fastest collegiate indoor 400 times in history in the facility. Lawrence is the three-time defending 400 champion at the Tyson Invitational and will be going for four straight this weekend.

Click here for a video preview of the meets courtesy of GTV.

In other UGAAA news, the Athletic Board of Directors held its quarterly meeting yesterday, and approved funding for three exciting facility upgrades as improvements continue to abound across campus. Read the full recap of the meeting here.

Last night the men's basketball team poured in 81 points in its win over Arkansas, good for the team's highest SEC output of the season and most points scored in a non-overtime game in 2011-12. The game inspired a lot of chatter on the @UGAAthletics and @UGABasketball Twitter accounts, including the following:

@MouthoftheLyon: @UGABasketball brought home the bacon #beatarkansas

@BulldogBrock: #Dawgs win 81-59! What a huge victory! Way to go @UGABasketball

@UGA_Problems: Proud to be a DAWG! Great job tonight guys! @UGABasketball

A very happy @CoachMarkFox met with the media after the game, saying he thought last night was the first time all season his players got to enjoy the "fruits of their labor."

And finally, something pretty cool was going on yesterday out at the UGA Golf Course. More on that tomorrow here at "Between The Hedges," but for now, here's a sneak preview of what went on on a beautiful February day!

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Until next time, GO DAWGS!

The Bauerle and Stafford Connection

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First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Georgia head swimming coach Jack Bauerle AND former Bulldogs quarterback Matthew Stafford.

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But aside from their birthday, the two share another connection. Matthew's father, John, was a graduate assistant coach for the Georgia swimming team in the 1970s when Bauerle was a student-athlete. Bauerle is getting his teams ready for next week's SEC Championships in Knoxville, while Stafford, the Detroit Lions' quarterback, recently was chosen as the Comeback Player of the Year by The Associated Press and the Quarterback of the Year by the NFL Alumni Foundation. Limited to just three games due to injuries in 2010, Stafford started all 16 games in 2011 and led the Lions to a playoff berth. He was 421-of-663 for 5,038 yards and 41 touchdowns in the regular season, then went 28-of-43 for 380 yards and three touchdowns in the playoffs. Stafford became just the fourth quarterback in NFL history to throw for more than 5,000 yards and just the seventh to throw more than 40 touchdowns in a season. He beat out Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers and New England's Tom Brady for the NFL Alumni Foundation Quarterback of the Year honor.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO TWO 'DAMN GOOD DAWGS!'

Georgia Football in the Super Bowl (again)

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Congratulations to former Bulldog Danny (D.J.) Ware, who helped the New York Giants to their Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots last night! Ware had one reception for eight yards and one carry for six yards in the Giants' 21-17 win.

In each of the last nine seasons, 23 former Georgia football players have helped their teams to the Super Bowl, and the Bulldogs have been represented by at least one former player in each of the last 11 years. A total of 47 former players have played in the Super Bowl capturing 40 wins.

Ware is now a two-time Super Bowl champ (2008, NYG).

Congratulations to Danny and thank you for representing Georgia on the biggest stage!

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Former Bulldog Danny Ware is a two-time Super Bowl champion.

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PHOTO BLOG: Setting the scene

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Good morning, Bulldog Nation! HAPPY NATIONAL SIGNING DAY! If you are following us on Twitter (@UGAAthletics), which you should be for the most up-to-date signing day information, be sure to use the hashtag #GeorgiaNSD to follow all the action as it unfolds.

I thought I would give you a little-behind-the scenes glimpse into what's going on here in Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall, though it's not yet 8:00 and the sun isn't fully risen.

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Parking Services keep the peace outside Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall

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As fans start to arrive, they can grab breakfast and coffee on the house!

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The set-up for the GTV live broadcast set to air on Georgiadogs.com

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The early-arriving UGA beat writers. Hard at work as usual.

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And finally, the fax machine! We'll be watching this all day long waiting for those letters!

Well, that's all for now. Stay with us throughout the day! And head on over to the front page of Georgiadogs.com where our GTV live broadcast and the live chat are underway!

GO DAWGS!

Welcome to Between The Hedges!

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Good afternoon, Bulldog Nation! I'm Kate and I handle a lot of the social media for the UGA Athletic Association. We are so grateful for your support on our official pages, which has helped us get over 350,000 "likes" on our Facebook page (Facebook.com/GeorgiaBulldogs) and over 37,000 followers on Twitter (@UGAAthletics)!

Our next big project is this blog, which we will affectionately call "Between The Hedges," and which we hope will give you another avenue - a looser, more casual avenue - to follow your Bulldogs. Posts here will typically be shorter and more informal than you might see in a press release, and my hope is that we will be able to give you a behind-the-scenes look into the daily happenings around the UGAAA and with all your favorite Bulldog sports teams.

We will officially "launch" Between The Hedges tomorrow, Feb. 1, in conjunction with National Signing Day, so please check back for updates on all the commitments Georgia receives throughout the day. We will also be keeping you posted via Facebook, Twitter, and on Georgiadogs.com ALL DAY LONG, so you have no excuse for missing a minute of the action! 

I am working on getting an official blog e-mail address created so that we can take your feedback, so stay tuned for that and other exciting announcements. As always, thank you for your support from all of us here at UGA Athletics, and we'll see you tomorrow on Signing Day!

Best,

Kate Burkholder
Assistant Sports Communications Director/Social Media