UGA Hall of Fame

Published 11:30 am Friday, May 28, 2021

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The University of Georgia Chapter of the National Football Foundation, the nation’s No. 1 chapter, held is annual awards dinner this past Monday night. The chapter honored David Pollack, Georgia’s three time All-America defensive end who will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in Las Vegas.

With so much unsettled circumstances, for lodging and banquet arrangements, the NFF is holding its showcase induction in Vegas, the first time the event will have taken place away from Manhattan.

Pollack will be the 18th former player or coach, who wore the red and black, to be inducted into the hall. Waiting in the wings will be Champ Bailey who has already been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

There are several others, Georgia officials believe are substantial candidates for induction, including Garrison Hearst and Jon Stinchcomb.  George Patton, who came to Georgia as a quarterback and left as an All-America tackle, will be considered for induction by the Ole Timer’s committee.

The Monday night banquet at the Athens Country Club brought about recognition for a number of athletes — high school, college and former Bulldog players — along with honoring Dr. Gary Bertsch, who played end at Idaho State, and is world renown for his work in nuclear disarmament. He was honored with the Distinguished American Award.

Dr. Tommy Lawhorne, the A+ linebacker and a member of Vince Dooley’s first SEC championship team and valedictorian of his graduating class at UGA, was also given the Distinguished American Award.

The chapter’s Contribution to Amateur Football Award went to Bryant Gantt, UGA’s Director of Player Support and Operations, an MVP staff member for Coach Kirby Smart. A surprise Contribution to Amateur Award was given to former Georgia player and coach, Steve Greer, who is suffering from ALS. Lawhorne arranged for two tables of his former teammates to participate in the dinner and especially wanted to include Greer, whom the chapter wanted to recognize with one of its top two awards.

Steve’s positive attitude blows away all who know him. That presentation, by Dr. Lawhorne, was perhaps the highlight of the evening. Greer’s wife, Susan, their three sons and all the grandchildren were there and engulfed him as the plaque was being presented—a very touching and memorable moment.

Representing the NFF was Auditor, Jonathan Taylor, whose daughter, Blake, will be entering UGA this fall. 

Fred Butler of Coca-Cola arranged for the Coca-Cola Helping Hand Award to be presented to Malcolm Mitchell, former Bulldog wide receiver and his “Share the Magic Foundation” whose goal is to connect young kids with the joy of reading.

Jeff Petrea of Georgia Power, recognized scholar athletes from Clarke Central (Jaavan Mack) and Cedar Shoals (David Cross) along with Carl and Barbara Parks who provide matching funds for the chapter’s scholarship program.

Robert Miles, UGA’s goodwill ambassador and behind-the-scenes MVP administrator, recognized the Billy Payne award winners. John Parker, hosted the Reid and Cynthia Post Graduate Achievement winners Aaron Chubb, Donald Chumley, George Collins, Spike Jones and Des Williams. Former Georgia coach and athletic director, Vince Dooley, honored, on behalf of the Frances Wood Wilson Foundation, five Northeast Georgia scholar athletes:  Samuel Chafin, Washington-Wilkes; William Fang, Cedar Shoals; John Ferguson, Athens Academy; Carter Freeman, North Oconee; Tristan Lyon, Gainesville High.