Former Augusta National chairman Billy Payne, a Georgia alum, addresses supporters Monday at the celebration naming event of Georgia’s indoor athletic facility.
Photo: University of Georgia
Photo: University of Georgia

Billy Payne honored at naming of UGA’s indoor practice facility

Billy Payne, a former football player at Georgia, was celebrated Monday night in Athens at the naming ceremony for Georgia’s indoor athletic facility.

The university’s Board of Regents approved in February naming the new facility the William Porter Payne and Porter Otis Payne Indoor Athletic Facility in honor of Payne and his father.

The naming was funded by more than $10 million in donations from friends and family of Billy and Porter Payne. 

Billy Payne, instrumental in bringing the Olympic Games to Atlanta, was chairman of Augusta National Golf Club - home of the Masters Tournament - from 2006 until his retirement in 2017.

He earned a political science and law degree from Georgia. Both he and his father lettered in football with the Bulldogs, Billy from 1966-68 and Porter from 1946-49. 

Porter Payne was an All-SEC offensive lineman and a teammate of Charley Trippi.

The event Monday was hosted by CBS announcer Jim Nance, who has anchored coverage of the Masters Tournament since 1989.

Among those participating in the program were university president Jere W. Morehead, athletics director Greg McGarity, Hall of Fame golfer Jack Nicklaus, former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young, the new Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley, and UGA football coaches Kirby Smart and Vince Dooley. Dooley coached Billy Payne at Georgia.

“We are exceptionally proud to have the Payne family name honored by placement on one of our most significant athletic facilities,” McGarity said.

The $30.2 million building was dedicated on Feb. 14, 2017, but has been in use since January of last year.

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