Georgia players, including quarterback Jake Fromm (11) (with balls) during drills at practice today. Georgia traveled back to its indoor facilities in Athens two days before the national title game against Alabama in January. The indoor facility is expected to be named after former UGA player and Augusta National chairman Billy Payne.
Photo: bandres@ajc.com
Photo: bandres@ajc.com

Georgia to name indoor practice facility after Billy Payne

Two years after breaking ground on construction and exactly one year after dedicating it, Georgia’s indoor practice facility finally will have a name. From now on, the Bulldogs will practice inside the William Porter Payne Indoor Athletic Facility.

The Georgia Board of Regents on Tuesday approved naming the building after Billy Payne, as he is more commonly known, people with knowledge of the process confirmed. An announcement is expected from UGA soon.

Payne remembers night Muhammad Ali lit up Atlanta during 1996 Olympics

It was not immediately known if Payne donated money toward construction of the facility or if others did in his honor, but a “substantial gift” generally is required by the regents for naming rights to a state building. The UGA Athletic Association reported that 100 percent of the funds for $30.2 million building were privately raised. The building was dedicated on Feb. 14, 2017, but has been in use since January of last year.

Payne is the recently retired chairman of Augusta National Golf Club and the man most responsible for bringing the Summer Olympic Games to Atlanta in 1996 as president and CEO of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games.

Payne steps down as Augusta National chairman | Photos: Payne’s tenure at Augusta

He is an Athens native and a second-generation Georgia football letterman who played for Vince Dooley from 1965-68 and holds undergraduate and law degrees from the university.

As chairman of Augusta National from 2006-17, Payne is credited with opening membership to women and for his contributions to golf, such as including more international players in the Masters field and providing spectator access for children.

Payne’s vision changed Atlanta history

Payne also is a chairman and a founding member of Centennial Holding Co., an Atlanta-based real estate investment company that claims more than $1 billion in assets on its website.

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