May 7, 2012
ATHENS, Ga. ---- University of Georgia Athletic Department Program Coordinator Bryant Gantt will receive the 2012 Liberty Bell Award from the Western Circuit Bar Association at a ceremony to be held on Tuesday, May 8.
The award is given annually to those whom the organization believes to promote a better understanding of the rule of law, encourages a greater respect for law and the courts, stimulates a sense of civic responsibility and contributes to a good government and community.
Gantt, a Georgia football letterman in 1989 and 1990, worked 19 years for his godfather, Ed Tolley, at the Athens law firm of Cook, Noell, Tolley & Bates as a legal assistant, investigator and process server.
“It’s always an honor when someone is recognizing you for doing something, whatever it is, because you feel like you must be doing something right,” Gantt said. “With so many doing wrong in the world today, if somebody recognizes you for doing something positive, you know you’re on the right path. I’m honored to receive the Liberty Bell Award.”
However, Gantt proved why he deserves to win such an award through his instrumental role in the March 2011 surrender of Jamie Hood. Hood, who is accused of shooting one and killing an Athens police officer, negotiated with Gantt for hours after he reached out on Facebook offering assistance for Hood to be turned in safely to authorities.
“I put a message out on Facebook because I knew a lot of the police officers and law enforcement agencies,” said Gantt. “My main thing was just to get it resolved and have no one else get hurt. The officers called and told me he was looking for me, and that they wanted me at the scene. I talked to him on the phone and seven hours later, he came out.”
As program coordinator, Gantt is responsible for providing advice and counsel to student-athletes in areas related to life skills, personal accountability and development in addition to coordinating and facilitating programming relating to student-athletes. He also served as a recruiting assistant with the UGA football office from 1997 to 2010.
“Whether it’s academic, legal or family matters, everything kind of runs in the same pattern,” Gantt said. “There’s a right way to do it, which always seems to be the harder way sometimes, and there’s the wrong way, the easy way. I say always do it the right way and you won’t have any problems.”