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August 24, 2014
A legend passes on
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The Georgia Bulldog Nation lost an integral part of its history Saturday night with the passing of longtime sports information director, men's tennis coach and historian, Dan Magill.
He was 93.
A native of Athens, Magill got his first job as bat boy for the baseball team and manager of the tennis courts while in high school. During his collegiate years, he competed on both the school tennis and swim teams before entering the Marine Corps during World War II.
He graduated from the University's Henry W. Grady School of Journalism and Mass Communications in 1942.
He was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 1976.
"I don't know of anyone who contributed more to our program through his time, his commitment, his life," said former UGA athletic director and head football coach Vince Dooley. "He, more than anyone else, has always been the true Bulldog spirit of the Georgia people."
Magill retired as tennis coach following the 1988 season after leading the tennis Bulldogs for 34 years and becoming one of the most influential men in the history of collegiate tennis. He remained on the Georgia athletic staff through 1995 as Director of Men's and Women's Tennis as well as Assistant Athletic Director for Public Relation and the Georgia Bulldog Clubs. During his long tenure with the University, he also served 27 years as sports information director and 25 years as secretary of the Georgia Bulldog Club, which he founded in 1953.
The press box at Sanford Stadium was named in honor of Dan Magill during a ceremony prior to the Oct. 23, 1999, game between the Bulldogs and Kentucky.
The honors would keep coming.
In 1996, Magill was inducted into the UGA Circle of Honor and was a recipient of the 1994 Bill Hartman Award which goes annually to a former athlete or coach who has made a significant impact in his chosen career. He's also a member of the National Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame and Southern Tennis Hall of Fame.
He is survived by his wife, Rosemarie Reynaud Magill and three children: Hamilton III and daughters Shannon and Mollie. A private funeral will be held Thursday, August 28, at 10:00 a.m. A celebration of Magill's life is scheduled for noon Thursday at the Athens Country Club.
Below are what some have said about the Bulldog legend:
•"I've been in college athletics for over 57 years as a player and coach, and I have met some fine people who have been great for college athletics, but none greater than Dan Magill. I¹ll tell you how strong he was. He took an average student like me and promoted me where I was named Academic All-America! That¹s something." - Pat Dye, former UGA All-American and head coach at Auburn.
• "He was a straight shooter and wanted to promote the University of Georgia teams and players to receive the maximum recognition and publicity. I think we all agree he was a great character, always full of humor and goodwill. Nobody loves Georgia more than Dan Magill." - Zippy Morocco, former Georgia multi-sport athlete.
• "When I first got to Georgia, I was introduced to Coach Magill as Georgia¹s greatest fan, and now that I have been around him for all those years, I realize that is so true. Additionally, he is both an unforgettable and lovable character. He named me the General and that nickname worked out in my favor. A lot of us probably got to know his wife before we knew him. She taught freshman English. She was a very good teacher. When I came through Georgia, all the athletes knew Mrs. Magill the teacher and Coach Magill, Mr. Everything in Bulldog athletics." - George Patton, former UGA All-American football player.
• "You could use all the positive adjectives in the dictionary when you talk about Dan Magill. You begin with the work ethic. Nobody worked harder at his job. Also you always admired his enthusiasm and his humor, but the thing that set him apart was his wonderful feelings of loyalty to the University of Georgia. You felt good as soon as you walked into his office. He would greet you with a nice quip or comment and before you knew it, he would be talking about something or somebody significant. Whenever I was with Dan, I always left with the feeling that I had learned something new." - Zeke Bratkowski, former UGA QB.
• "My senior year, near the end of the season, I bumped into him and he said, "I¹ve been looking for you. You just won the Outland Award.¹ he smiled and said, 'Thanks Coach Magill, but what is the Outland Award?' I had no idea. All I know is that he had a lot to do with my being honored. Just like it was with all of our athletes at Georgia. The thing I remember is that he was always busy doing a lot of different things, and he was good at all of them. To do all the other things like writing and running the Bulldog Clubs while coaching the tennis team to championships tells you just how great he was." - Bill Stanfill, former UGA All-America DT and Outland Trophy winner.
• "In 1946, Dan held the chains on the sideline for football games. You make a run and you look over and you see Dan running right along beside you. I have often thought how wonderful it would have been if Dan had been a football player. Nobody would have worn the Georgia uniform more proudly. His name is just like the 'G.' He is one of the biggest symbols of Georgia athletics. What I have enjoyed so much about him over the years, has been his sense of humor. When I retired from pro football and began coaching at Georgia, I always enjoyed dropping by his office for conversation. Georgia was so important to Dan, and he responded by giving his heart and soul to the University."- Charley Trippi, former UGA All-American HB.
• "First thing I remember about Dan Magill came when I was in high school. He was the first promoter I ever knew. He promoted Georgia when there was not much promotion going on. He looked me up in high school and showed an interest in my fondness for tennis. I played in the Cracklerland tennis tournament when I wasn¹t very good. He made tennis something special and that is confirmed by what Georgia tennis became. We became a tennis mecca because of him and his promotional ability. His undying objective was to promote the University of Georgia and the city of Athens love. When I saw him a couple of years ago, he talked about playing tennis at his age and getting into arguments with his opponents. The biggest problem, he told me, is that we can¹t remember the score!" - Fran Tarkenton, former UGA All-America QB.
• "I've had the great privilege of knowing Dan for over 44 years. He has done more to promote college tennis than anyone in the country, and is clearly one of the very best coaches in the history of the game. He will always be known for his sense of humor and story-telling prowess. I was coaching at South Carolina many years ago when I had one of my early encounters with Dan. He yelled out to Wes Cash, "Hit those overheads over the fence, Wes! I'll go get 'em!" I knew then that he was a great coach." - Ron Smarr, former head tennis coach, South Carolina, Colorado, Rice University.
• "What I appreciate about the multi-faceted and incomparable Dan Magill is his enduring passion for the varied interests which have defined and consumed his life and career writer, publicist, coach, humorist, promoter and historian. Above all, he is the quintessential Bulldog loyalist. Confirmation of his consummate loyalty is graphically confirmed by his retirement from coaching. After coaching Georgia tennis for 34 years and taking the Bulldogs to the summit of collegiate tennis, he stepped aside so Manuel Diaz could become the head coach. While Dan would have enjoyed coaching longer, he knew that Manuel would likely be stolen away to coach at another school if he waited too long. He wanted Manuel to coach at Georgia. This defining moment all feelings and personal interests are subordinated to the best interests of the University of Georgia to me, substantiates that the University of Georgia has never had a greater loyalist." - Loran Smith, UGA Athletic Assn. and former Magill assistant.
• "Dan was the greatest standard bearer for the Georgia people of all time. The Bulldog Nation in many, many ways was built on his shoulders. The greatest and grandest Bulldog of them all." - Claude Felton, UGA Sports Communications Director.
• "Coach Magill is an absolute legend and in my mind the greatest Georgia Bulldog ever. What he has done over his years is unmatched and his impact on this school has been so big words cannot even describe. To me personally, Coach Magill was a great friend. I talked to him two or three times a week and always spoke to him after my matches. He was truly one of my biggest fans and that is so humbling." - John Isner, former UGA All-America tennis player.