Perhaps the most heartwarming story from G-Day did not occur on the field. The third iteration of “Big Dawg” was back in and around Sanford Stadium, as Trent Woods carried on the tradition begun in his family two generations back.
His father, the late Mike “Big Dawg” Woods, was all known to UGA fans as that bald guy with the bulldog painted on his head.
Mike Woods died on Jan. 4. Trent Woods was likely the guy who took that picture of you and “Big Dawg.” This past weekend, Trent Woods was no longer taking the pictures, he was the focus of them.
“It has been a blessing, and painful,” Woods told the Red & Black, his voice cracking as he talked about his father. “I know my dad would be here right now with me, and I know that he would be having so much fun. But I also know that I am proud that I could do this for him right now.”
On the top of Woods’ head, where the face of a bulldog used to be, there were instead the words, “Family Tradition, to be cont….., 9/2/17.” The back of Woods’ head read simply, “In memory of Dad,” the Red & Black reported.
What in the world is going on with Georgia athletics right now?
If anyone has an idea, please hit me up because your guess is as good as mine.
But really, things are falling apart.
From football to gymnastics, everything is a mess. Like, really messy. Like Kevin Malone dropping his chili on an episode of The Office, messy.
Football and D’Antne Demery.
On a day that should have been a fairly easy one for Demery, a few appearances at G-Day with fellow recruits, I’m sure they were fed really well, you know G-Day stuff, the 2017 signee had everything come crashing down in a rather dramatic fashion.
And the same guy who stood alongside the Georgia signing class of 2017 on the field of Sanford Stadium around 3 p.m. on Saturday was booked at 10:52 p.m. for simple battery and criminal trespassing
Then, less an hour after being released from the Athens-Clarke County jail on Sunday, Demery was released from his National Letter of Intent with Georgia football.
That was all it took for Demery to go from an exciting pick-up for the Georgia offensive line to a former signee being accused of grabbing the mother of his one-month-old child by the neck.
Demery’s arrest and release from his letter of intent with Georgia definitely shone a darker light on the events of G-Day.
But Demery’s situation is only one of two unfortunate circumstances to befall Georgia in the past few days.
Okay, if you thought the situation with Demery was messed up, what are your thoughts on gymnastics?
So, to fill you in if you have been living under a rock for the past 48 hours, Georgia gymnastics has parted ways with Danna Durante.
Durante was fired after five seasons with Georgia.
And while firing coaches is not a new wave that the athletic department is riding, it has been a necessary progression for the programs. But this circumstance feels different.
Lizzy Stemke was released as the volleyball head coach back in December with minimal controversy. That is where Durante’s firing differs.
Last Friday, it was reported that three Georgia gymnasts had been dismissed from the team. What followed was a strange turn of events, which ultimately accumulated in Durante’s firing.
After the dismissal of the three Georgia athletes, the program cancelled its media availability for Friday and Durante was fired on Monday.
There was never an explanation given by the gymnastics program as to why the players were dismissed. More so, the only comment given by the athletic department regarding Durante’s dismissal was a vague statement from Greg McGarity about a search for a new head coach.
“We will move forward with a national search as quickly as possible to fill the head coaching position for our gymnastics team,” McGarity said.
Yes, thank you; that very ambiguous announcement told me so much.
As far as the athletes who were dismissed go, there has been very little talk about the three of them either.
Junior Natalie Vaculik, junior Jasmine Arnold and sophomore Caroline Bradford all parted ways with Georgia gymnastics.
While Arnold and Bradford are walk-ons, Vaculik’s dismissal comes as quite a surprise considering the junior was a three-year scholarship athlete and contributor to the team.
While only competing twice during the 2016-17 season because of illness, Vaculik reigned on bars, scoring a 9.9 at Kentucky and 9.75 at the Mardi Gras Invitational.
She also competed in every meet throughout the 2015-16 season on bars, with multiple appearances on other events like vault and beam.
I say all of this to ask, what is going on here?
I mean, c’mon, it isn’t an everyday occurrence that three players are dismissed from a team, especially one that provides like Vaculik. Then after all that, the head coach is fired?
This is off.