EXPIRED: 11/19/09 – UGA, 4, was also know as Loran’s Best, but was really Uga VII (Uga the 7th). At only 4 years old he already had a professional job, adoring fans and a lineage to be proud of. And now the mascot of the University of Georgia is gone.

His great-grandfather was invited to a Heisman trophy presentation in 1982 and, bedecked in tuxedo and all, accompanied Herschel Walker to the Downtown Athletic Club in New York. His grandfather had a role in the movie “Midnight In the Garden Of Good and Evil” and graced the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1997. His father had a career football record of 87 wins.

Anyone would be hard-pressed not to boast about this… well, unless you were a dog and couldn’t physically do that. But were he able to, one has to imagine that Uga, the solid white, English bulldog and nationally famous mascot for the University of Georgia’s football team, would be hard-pressed.

Uga VII, who, like his ancestors before him, took his name from University of GeorgiA, took the field for the first time on August 30, 2008, during Georgia’s season-opening game against Georgia Southern. He then was present at every Georgia Bulldogs home game and most away games, wearing his standard, official red jersey and spiked collar on a meaty 56 pounds.

His size, however, belied a quiet, easygoing temperament, prompting owner Sonny Seiler to implore a family friend last season to “quit calling him cute.”

“Call him fierce, call him tenacious, but don’t call him cute – that’s not the image he’s looking to portray,” Seiler joked at the time.

Either way, the people of Georgia loved him. As player-turned-sports-announcer Matt Stinchcomb said, “He’s by far the biggest celebrity on the field when Georgia plays.”

Arrangements are still being finalized by the university’s sports information office, but Uga VII, whose death (presumably by heart attack) was completely unexpected and whose fans are “devastated”, will no doubt be interred at Sanford Stadium, where his six predecessors are enshrined.



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