Richt dominated the state, signing 14 of the top 50 players from Georgia, and only FSU did better on the Southern 100 list.
As initial impressions go, Georgia football fans ought to like what they've seen of new coach Mark Richt. With a wardrobe brimming with garnet and gold after 15 years as an assistant at Florida State, Richt showed up at his first Georgia press conference wearing red and black. Okay, you expect that. But it wasn't just him. His whole family was decked out in red and black. Wife Kathryn and all four kids.
Obviously, there's more to making the man than clothes. But Richt also made a good impression in this year's recruiting wars. Starting late because FSU was again playing for the National Championship (which happened five times during his tenure in Tallahassee), Richt kicked his normally intense work ethic into hyperdrive. He hired a whole new coaching staff at Georgiaexcept for recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner, who is one of the best in the businessand then hit the road in an unfamiliar state.
"Georgia was never my recruiting territory at Florida State," says Richt. "But Georgia has an awful lot of talent and it will be the principal area we will work."
2000 HOME FOOTBALL ATTENDANCE
Florida State, whose class is generally regarded as the best in the country, dominated the AJC's "Super Southern 100" list with 16 signees. But Georgia was second with nine, one better than Tennessee and two better than LSU, whose class was ranked ahead of FSU in the Sporting News.
Georgia's most highly regarded recruit is D.J. Shockley, who was rated the No. 1 quarterback in the country by SuperPrep. As a senior at North Clayton High in Atlanta, Shockley passed for 1,861 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also rushed for 864 yards and eight TDs.
Other standouts in this year's Georgia recruiting class include Charlton County linebacker Marquis Elmore, Tucker defensive tackle Darrius Swain, and Ware County receiver Fred Gibson, who had given a verbal commitment to Florida, then changed his mind. Gibson also plans to play basketball at Georgia. Johnson County's Russ Tanner was the top-ranked center in the South. And despite missing out on the top running backs in Georgia, the Dogs may have landed a future star in Tony Milton, who rushed for 5,502 yards and 77 TDs at North Florida Christian High in, of all places, Tallahassee.
Georgia may have been an unfamiliar state, but the UGA coaching job was one Richt had eyed for some time.
"Georgia had come up in conversations with Kathryn before; it's a job that, in our minds, was a very good one," says Richt, who declined several head coaching offers during his tenure at FSU before openly politicking for the Georgia job.
"This is the first time," he says, "that I ever asked Coach Bowden to make a call for me."
Hall of Fame honors Hoage
Genetics major Terry Hoage (BS '85) was a thinking man's football player. He wasn't fleet of foot, but he had a remarkable ability to be where the ball waswhich comes in handy when you play defensive back. He led the nation in interceptions with 12 in 1982, and finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy balloting as a senior in '83. In recognition of his heroics at Georgia, Hoage was recently inducted into the National College Football Hall of Famethe 12th Bulldog to be so honored, following teammate Herschel Walker's induction a year earlier. After graduation, Hoage expected to attend medical school after a short tour of duty in pro football. But he surprised himself by lasting 13 seasons. He led the NFL in interceptions in '88, and got a Super Bowl ring as a Washington Redskin in '92. Judging from the similarity between his college and current photos, the Templeton, Calif., resident looks like he's still capable of suiting up.
Dooley joins Bear, Pop Warner
Vince Dooley and legendary football coach Glen "Pop" Warner share a common heritage, each having coached at GeorgiaWarner from 1895-96 and Dooley from 1964-88.
In January, Warner and Dooley were linked again when Dooley received the prestigious Amos Alonzo Stagg Award, presented for lifetime achievement by the American Football Coaches Association, which honored Warner with the same award more than a half-century ago.
Honored for lifetime achievement by the American Football Coaches Association, Dooley won 201 games in 25 years as a head coach, including the National Championship in 1980. The Dogs have won 14 more NCAA titles during his 22 years as athletic director. occurred during his 22-year tenure as athletic director.
Named athletic director at UGA in 1979, Dooley has seen 15 Georgia teams win national championships under his watchincluding four during the 1998-99 school year when Georgia finished second in the Sears Cup standings, which rank the nation's most successful athletic departments. Previous Stagg Award winners read like a Who's Who of college football coaches, including Alabama's Paul "Bear" Bryant and Oklahoma's Bud Wilkinson.
Swimmer Kristy Kowal is fourth straight Bulldog honored by NCAA
Top VIII a welcome habit
Kristy Kowal, who won a silver medal at the 2000 Olympic Games, is a recipient of the annual NCAA Today's Top VIII Award, which honors eight student-athletes who have distinguished themselves in athletics, academics, character, and leadership. The award comes on the heels of Kowal being named NCAA Woman of the Year.
Kowal's selection in 2000 marks the fourth consecutive year that a UGA student-athlete has been a Top VIII Award winner, and she is the fifth recipient overall. Terry Hoage (see story at left) was Georgia's first winner back in January 1984 when the award was NCAA Top VI, but 13 years passed before the Bulldogs claimed winner No. 2 in swimmer Lisa Coole in 1997. Football player Matt Stinchcomb followed in 1998, and sprinter Debbie Ferguson was honored in '99.
By winning seven NCAA individual championships during her career at Georgia, Kowal set a new school record, surpassing three four-time titlists: Gwen Torrence (track), Hope Spivey-Sheeley (gymnastics), and Ferguson (track).
Kowal holds eight American, one world, and three U.S. Open records. She helped Georgia win back-to-back NCAA swimming and diving championships and four consecutive SEC titles.
Kowal's achievements stretch far beyond the pool. The early childhood education major posted a 3.58 grade-point-average, and she was extremely active in the Athens community. For her volunteer efforts with the Safe Kids project, homeless shelter, and soup kitchen, Kowal received the 2000 Peach of an Athlete Award from the Atlanta Boy Scouts.