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Collar fits new mascot well

POSTED: September 3, 2008 5:01 a.m.
JOHN BAZEMORE/The Associated Press

Newly crowned Georgia mascot UGA VII keeps cool in his sideline doghouse in the fourth quarter against Georgia Southern on Saturday in Athens. The game was UGA VII's first.

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ATHENS — Wearing a red "G" jersey, a pure white English bulldog calmly trotted across green turf to be collared the University of Georgia's new mascot.

Uga VII made his debut Saturday in a ceremony before the Bulldogs' 45-21 win over Georgia Southern.
The Uga line of mascots have been featured on the covers of Sports Illustrated, Time, Newsweek and have appeared in several movies.

The Redcoat Marching Band serenaded the coronation with Georgia fight songs.

As University of Georgia president Michael Adams slipped the red leather spike collar over his neck, Uga VII was greeted by a standing ovation and chants of "Uga! Uga!"

"I think he feels the energy in the stadium," said Adams, as he welcomed the third Uga mascot of his presidency at the 50-yard line.

"It's a job where you are always second to a dog," Adams said.

The new mascot comes in with high expectations. Georgia is No. 1 in the preseason poll for the first time in the program's history.

"I think it is a great thing that we have a new Uga to usher in our upcoming national title," said Doug McPhearson, a fan from Cumming.

Savannah lawyer Frank W. "Sonny" Seiler and his family, who have owned the line of white English bulldog mascots since Uga I in 1956, escorted the school's newest celebrity onto the field.

Uga VII was named "Loran's Best" after longtime Georgia sideline reporter Loran Smith.

"If he just lives up to his father, we will all be happy," Seiler said. "But I hope he creates a legacy of his own."

Seiler was tiplipped about the selection process that chose this 3-year-old, 56-pound bulldog.

After the ceremony, the new mascot retreated to his new sideline doghouse to rest upon a throne of ice in his new air-conditioned doghouse.

Uga VI, to whom Uga VII bears a strong resemblance, died of heart failure in June after a nine-year reign.

Uga VI was Georgia's winningest mascot with an 87-27 record with Southeastern Conference championships in 2002 and 2005 and seven wins in nine bowl appearances.



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