Former Georgia Bulldog Football Head Coaches
DR. CHARLES HERTY
Dr. Charles Herty was the father of football at Georgia. After graduating from Georgia he studied at Johns Hopkins University. He returned to Athens as a chemistry professor and introduced the game to students. Herty initiated the formation of a team by helping the students prepare a field of play, or 'gridiron'. He arranged for the first game ever played in the deep South: Georgia vs. Mercer, Jan. 30, 1892. He and his old Johns Hopkins classmate, Dr. George Petrie of the Auburn University History Department, arranged for a game between Georgia and Auburn, Feb. 20, 1892, which the Tigers won, 10-0. That historic game inaugurated the South's oldest football rivalry.
Ernest Brown was a graduate student who served as coach for the 1893 season. Brown led the Bulldogs to a 2-2-1 season, and also played at right halfback that season in the game against Georgia Tech.
Robert Winston was an Englishman and former rugby player and coach who had coached Yale, Amherst, Rochester and Syracuse prior to arriving in Athens in the fall of 1894. Winston was Georgia's first paid coach and was known to put Georgia's players through rigorous training prior to the season. He coached Georgia to a 10-8 win over Auburn and four other victories during that 5-1-0 season.
GLENN "POP" WARNER
Georgia's first undefeated season (4-0) was the team of Glenn S. "Pop" Warner in 1896. After coming to Athens from Cornell in September 1895, Warner was signed to a $34-a-week salary for ten weeks in his first season, and then earned $40-a-week in his second season. He later became known as "The Great Originator" as coach of Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indians, and later coached at Pittsburgh and Stanford.
Charles McCarthy, a Brown University graduate, became Georgia's fifth head football coach and was almost the school's last. McCarthy inherited a fine Georgia team from Warner, including an outstanding quarterback named Richard "Von" Gammon. Gammon was critically injured in a game against Virginia, and died later that day. Although many called for the abolishment of football, the sport survived after a plea to state government officials by Gammon's mother. In 1898, with football safe from politically ambitious humanitarians, McCarthy coached the Georgia squad to victories over Tech and Vanderbilt, but suffered a controversial and disputed 18-17 loss to Auburn.
Saussy was a former Cornell player who came to Athens from Savannah and coached Georgia for a single season. Although not much is known about this coach, he did guide the Red and Black to a 33-0 win over Georgia Tech and a controversial 0-0 tie with Auburn. Auburn was leading 11-6 with a minute to play when the contest was disrupted by an unruly mob that prevented the official conclusion of the game.
Jones succeeded Gordon Saussy at the helm of Georgia's program, but didn't fare much better. He was a Princeton graduate that came to Athens on the recommendation of university benefactor Arthur Poe. Jones' lone team finished 2-4, lacked offensive output, and was outscored 159 to 28 in six contests.
Reynolds, a graduate of Princeton and former football star for the Tigers, was not accustomed to losing seasons. He had coached North Carolina for the four previous years, compiling an outstanding record. Coach Reynolds was known for playing up football's virtues and downplaying its vices in a masterful fashion. Reynolds was very popular with the student body. When he left, a crowd of students met him at the depot with a box of cigars and a pipe.
Dickinson came to the University at the turn of the century as a transfer from Mercer. While at Georgia he played football and baseball on the 1900, 1901 and 1902 teams. In football he was a halfback and baseball a catcher. He was captain of the 1901 baseball team. After graduation he coached both sports at the University in 1903, leading the football team to a 3-4 record with wins over Tech and Auburn. He played professional baseball in the Texas League in 1904 and returned to Athens in 1905 to coach football and baseball. The 1905 team won only one game (16-12 over Dahlonega) and lost five. Dickinson left Athens in 1905 and entered the newspaper business, where he worked until his death in 1950.
CHARLES A. BARNARD
Barnard was none too popular with his players and became more and more unpopular to fans as his team lost five consecutive games after their opening 52-0 win over Florida.
Whitney was a Syracuse graduate that came to the University in 1906 from North Carolina A&M, where he had gone undefeated the previous season. He did not achieve the same success in Athens, however. During the 1906 season, the forward pass was legalized. Whitney tried to take advantage of this new play, but it was an errant pass that led to Georgia's first defeat of that season. His 1906 team went 2-4-1 and was part of the "Ringer" controversy in the 1907 Tech game that forced his vacating the coaching duties to interim coach Branch Bocock, who coached the final three games of that season. Whitney was very superstitious and would not reveal his starting lineup until just before kickoff.
Bocock was a Georgetown graduate and former player who took the reins of the Georgia program after W.S. Whitney was forced out. Bocock worked in the law office of Judge Hamilton McWhorter, and it was McWhorter that allowed Bocock to leave the office in the afternoons to train the Georgia team. Bocock led Georgia to a 5-2-1 record in 1908. Perhaps his biggest win was when his Georgia team upset Auburn 6-0 in 1907 when he was the interim coach.
J. COULTER & FRANK DOBSON
Coulter and Dobson served as "co-coaches" of the Georgia team in 1909. Coulter, a Brown University graduate, had no previous head coaching experience and was unable to get the Georgia offense in gear. So he hired Frank Dobson, a Roanoke, Virginia, native who had assisted John W. Heisman at Tech. He inserted several trick plays into the Georgia offense, and they became the talk of Athens, but that still didn't prevent the Red and Black from going 1-4-2. Dobson moved on to Clemson in 1910, where he was Clemson's first paid football coach and also the school's baseball and first basketball coach.
Cunningham gave the Georgia program what it had so desperately needed: continuity and winning. Until Cunningham, a Vanderbilt graduate, arrived in Athens, the Georgia coaching post had been held by 13 coaches in 18 years. Cunningham was hired by Dr. Steadman Vincent Sanford and remained coach for nine years. He coached Georgia's first All-American, Bob McWhorter, and the legendary George "Kid" Woodruff. He led Georgia to seven winning seasons and compiled an overall record of 43-18-9. Cunningham joined the Army when the United States entered World War I, and came back to coach one more year, before re-entering the Army where he reached the rank of General.
HERMAN J. STEGEMAN
H.J. Stegeman was a 1919 graduate of the University of Chicago, where he played under the legendary Amos Alonzo Stagg. He was sent to Athens by the Army to install a physical training program for the University's R.O.T.C. students. Stegeman also doubled as an assistant under W.A. Cunningham and later assumed his role as head coach of the program in 1920. Stegeman was the coach of the original "Bulldogs" of 1920 that went 8-0-1 and won the Southern Conference Championship. Stegeman coached two more years and had a 20-6-3 career mark at the helm of the Georgia program. Stegeman's contributions to the University were not solely limited to coaching the football team. He also coached baseball, basketball and track. Stegeman remained at Georgia for 18 more years as Athletic Director and Dean of Male Students. Stegeman Coliseum on the Georgia campus is named in his honor.
GEORGE "KID" WOODRUFF
Woodruff, a captain and star on the 1911 Georgia team, returned to his alma mater in 1923 as its head football coach. Woodruff introduced the Notre Dame "Box 4" shift offense to southern football. He had witnessed the effectiveness of the offense when the Fighting Irish destroyed Tech 35-7 in 1923 and decided that he wanted to implement the same system at Georgia. Woodruff brought three of Knute Rockne's disciples (Frank Thomas, Harry Mehre, and later, Jim Crowley) to tutor the Georgia men about the finer points of the most popular offense of the day. Woodruff, an extremely successful businessman from Columbus, drew a salary of only a dollar per year, and Georgia got more than its money's worth from him. Woodruff's 1927 squad went 9-1 and won the Southern Conference Championship, and he went on to compile a 32-16-1 record over his five seasons at the helm. His most notable accomplishment might be that he gave three legendary coaches their start in the profession: Thomas of Alabama, Mehre of Georgia and Ole Miss and Crowley of Michigan State and Fordham. The football practice fields behind the Butts-Mehre building are named for Woodruff.
Harry Mehre's 1929 Bulldogs, mostly sophomores, upset mighty Yale, 15-0, in the dedicatory game at Sanford Stadium with the famous Catfish Smith scoring all 15 points. Mehre had four teams that contended strongly for the conference championship (1930, '31, '33, '34) and each likely would have gone to a bowl game had there been as many post-season games as today. Mehre left Georgia in 1937 to assume the head coaching duties at Ole Miss where he remained for eight seasons and compiled a 39-26-1 record. He left Ole Miss in 1945 and became a soft drink wholesaler and football analyst for the Atlanta-Journal for 22 years. The Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall on UGA's campus is named for him.
Hunt came to the University in the winter of 1938 and remained for only one season. He was a star player at Texas A&M and won that school's award for being the top athlete in 1929 when he scored 19 touchdowns for the Aggies. After serving an assistantship at LSU, he came to Athens and guided the Bulldogs to a 5-4-1 record in the 1938 season. Hunt never captured the favor of Georgia's fan and alumni and left Athens after just one season. Perhaps Hunt's greatest accomplishment was leaving a little-known line coach behind to succeed him, Wally Butts. Hunt went on to coach at the University of Wyoming and later returned to LSU.
Butts came to the University as an assistant under one year head coach Joel Hunt and remained for 22 years at the head of Georgia's program. He was known as the 'Little Round Man' to most of the fans, but as a bona fide coaching genius to others in the profession. He led the Bulldogs to previously unparalleled success with six bowl appearances, four SEC Championships, 140 victories and an undefeated season in 1946. He was known as an advocate of the passing game and brought that to the forefront of offensive thinking in Southern collegiate play. He coached a Heisman winner (Frank Sinkwich, 1942), a Maxwell award winner(Charley Trippi, 1946), and the "Peerless Pilot" Francis Tarkenton. Butts resigned in 1960, but stayed on at Georgia as Athletic Director until his retirement in 1963. He later went on to a highly-successful career in the insurance business until his death in 1973. The Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall on UGA's campus is named in his honor.
Griffith was a former Bulldog player and member of the undefeated 1946 team, and succeeded the legendary Wally Butts by taking the reins of the Georgia program on January 6, 1961. Griffith was known as an excellent recruiter in his days as a Georgia assistant from 1956-1960. He was unable to establish a winning program in those years after Butts, and was a combined 1-8 against Florida, Auburn, and Tech. His biggest coaching victory was a 30-21 upset win over Auburn in 1962. He did coach one of Georgia's all-time greatest passers, Larry Rakestraw, who is still prominent in the Bulldog record books. Griffith resigned his coaching duties in December, 1963, and later went on to establish a successful construction business in Atlanta. He became a tireless worker on behalf of the State of Georgia Sports Hall of Fame and was selected for induction into the Hall in 1997.
Vince Dooley is the most successful coach in Georgia history. He guided the Bulldogs to more than 200 victories in a quarter century at the helm of the Georgia program and is one of the best known and most highly regarded coaches in the country. He was hired in January 1964 by then Athletic Director Joel Eaves to bring life back to the Georgia program and succeeded beyond all expectations. His teams became known for their outstanding toughness, sound fundamentals, and finding a way to win en route to a career record of 201-77-10. He became only the ninth coach in NCAA Division I history to win more than 200 games. The Bulldogs won one national championship (1980) and six SEC Championships under his direction. He took his teams to 20 bowl games and coached a Heisman Trophy winner (Herschel Walker, 1982), a Maxwell Award winner (Walker, 1982), and Outland Award winner (Bill Stanfill, 1968), 40 First-Team All-Americans and 10 Academic All-Americans. He was named NCAA National Coach of the Year by every major poll in 1980 and by Chevrolet-WTBS in 1982. A former president of the American Football Coaches Association, Dooley was named SEC Coach of the Year seven times and NCAA District Coach of the Year on six occasions. During his tenure, seven of his players earned the prestigious National Football Foundation post-graduate scholarship and 11 former players received equally-coveted NCAA post-graduate scholarship. Seventy-seven of his players earned Academic All-SEC recognition. He holds the unique distinction of being inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame in two different states, Georgia and Alabama. Dooley is a 1994 inductee into the National College Football Hall of Fame.
Goff succeeded Vince Dooley in 1988. He was a former player and All-SEC quarterback under Dooley from 1973-1976, and captain of the Southeastern Conference Champions in 1976 when he was named SEC Player of the Year. After serving three years as an assistant coach at South Carolina, he became one of Dooley's assistants at Georgia from 1981-1988. In seven seasons, Goff coached the Bulldogs to a 46-34-1 record, four bowls (with victories over Arkansas in the 1991 Independence Bowl and Ohio State in the 1993 Citrus Bowl), and an eighth place national ranking following the 10-2 campaign in 1992.
In Jim Donnan's five years as head coach, he compiled a 40-19 overall record including 25-15 in SEC play. The eight wins or more in four straight seasons set a school record. And for the first time in school history, the Bulldogs won four bowl games in four consecutive seasons (def. Wisconsin in '98 Outback Bowl; def. Virginia in '98 Peach Bowl; def. Purdue in '00 Outback Bowl, and def. Virginia in '00 Oahu Bowl). Under his direction, Georgia also finished in the nation's top 20 a school record four consecutive seasons. A native of Burlington, N.C., and graduate of N.C. State, Donnan came to Georgia following a record-setting run at Marshall. In his six years with the Thundering Herd, Donnan's teams won 64 games, one nationals championship, three national runner-up finishes, and earned five consecutive trips to the post-season playoffs. He was named National 1-AA Coach of the Year twice. He had previously been the architect of Oklahoma's high powered offenses from 1985-1989 where the Sooners won 49 games in those five years including 27 straight Big Eight contests and the 1985 National Championship.