Monday, July 25, 2011

40 Days: Who's UGA Retired Number?

Sapp's touchdown that broke the drought...

Today marks 40 days until we pop smoke and invade Atlanta with more precision of a crack team of (insert badass made up movie spec-ops group). It's another special day on the countdown today -- and no, this doesn't mean that we have two guys who are sharing the same number. It's actually quite the opposite. We currently have no team member wearing the old #40.

Why, do you ask?

Well, that's because the number was retired in 1958, a short two months after the guy for whom it was retired hung it up for the last time. It was two months after the Dawgs beat Tech for the second time in a row after having lost to them an incredible 8 times consecutively. The retired jersey is none other than Theron Sapp's old #40.

In case you aren't familiar with "The Drought Breaker" take some time to read this fabulously-written excerpt from Georgia Trend magazine in 2002:

November 30, 1957 was a sub-freezing but delightful afternoon for Bulldog fans at Grant Field. A stiff wind was blowing out of the northeast as some 40,000 fans — mostly Tech partisans — came to see if Tech could make it nine consecutive victories over Georgia or if the Dogs would find a way to break the drought. They did, thanks to Theron Coleman Sapp, a mighty fullback out of Lanier High School in Macon.

The Bulldogs were suffering through a third consecutive losing season and had not scored a touchdown against Tech in four long years. But this was another day. After a scoreless first half, Sapp recovered a fumble at midfield. On third and 12 at the Tech 39, quarterback Charlie Britt hit Jimmy Orr with a 13-yard pass for a first down at the Tech 26. From then on it was all Sapp ... Sapp ... Sapp.

The article continues with Nerd boss commentary...

The late legendary Georgia Tech Coach Bobby Dodd said of Sapp, "Walker won the national championship for Georgia (1980) and was awarded the Heisman trophy (1982) but to older Bulldogs who suffered through the 1950s, Sapp's breaking the drought was greater. He silenced eight years of bragging from Tech students and alumni. Breaking the drought was a remarkable achievement."

I hope you found that the athletic department retiring his number that quickly after his playing days were over as funny as I did. I'm not denigrating the validity of the reason his jersey was retired, I just think that they probably could've waited just a little longer (like maybe the first game of the next season) and had a nice little jersey retirement ceremony. 

I think we can all VERY MUCH appreciate that he helped lead the Dawgs after a much needed win on Grant Field that chilly November afternoon in 1957. Can you imagine losing to the Nerds 8 straight years? I might have a myocardial episode after a streak started, much less an 8 game skid. Mr. Sapp, we applaud you sir, for without your fateful play that day, we might be in Tech's spot right now.

Nahhh, that'd never happen, no matter how many football games we lost.


***I'd like to send a special thank-you to the reader out there who pointed out my errancy in not throwing up one of these for another of the retired numbers - Mr. Charles Trippi. Much obliged and I won't be making that mistake again.***

Next up: No. 39's, Dustin "Whamback" Royston AND freshman safety, Corey Moore

1 comment:

  1. Not bad work for a former Poet!