ATHENS - Dan Magill, known as the "greatest Bulldog of all time," passed away Saturday night at the age of 93.
An Athens native, Magill spent 60 years in UGA athletics, starting as a batboy for the baseball team in the 1930s. He became the tennis coach in 1954, holding the job for 34 years. He also served 27 years as sports information director, and the press box at Sanford Stadium is named for him. Magill also founded the Georgia Bulldog Club in 1953, serving as its secretary for 25 years.
"I don't know of anyone who contributed more to our program through his time, his commitment, his life," former athletics director and head coach Vince Dooley said in a statement released by UGA. "He, more than anyone else, has always been the true Bulldog spirit of the Georgia people."
Current UGA athletics director Greg McGarity worked under Magill on the tennis team and sports information office in the 1970s. When McGarity returned to UGA for his introductory press conference in 2010, he saw Magill in the audience and choked up.
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"The University has lost the greatest Bulldog of all time," McGarity said Sunday in a statement. "He was a mentor to numerous people, including myself, and touched the lives of so many. He was the best at everything he did in his roles as a legendary tennis coach, sports information director, and Bulldog Club founder. Mr. Magill was the consummate professional who was loved by everyone.
"On a personal note, he was one of my best friends over our 49-year relationship during which I found him to be both memorable and remarkable. I'll miss my good friend."
Fran Tarkenton once said that Magill "promoted Georgia when there was not much promotion going on. ... we became a tennis mecca because of him and his promotional ability. His undying objective was to promote the University of Georgia and the city of Athens out of pure love."
Magill's record as tennis coach was 706-183, and when he was retired he was the winningest coach in Division I history. The Bulldogs won the national championship in 1985 and 1987, and his players won five individual national championships.
He retired in 1995, but was still a regular around the Butts-Mehre Building up until recent years, as his health began to fail.
He is survived by his wife, Rosemarie Reynaud Magill and three children: Hamilton III and daughters Shannon and Mollie. A private funeral will be held Thursday, August 28, at 10:00 a.m. A celebration of Magill¹s life is scheduled for noon Thursday at the Athens Country Club.