Place kicker Kevin Butler (5) holds a number of field goal records at Georgia.
Photo: AJC
Photo: AJC

Kevin Butler leads UGA’s 2019 ‘Circle of Honor’ class

Georgia football record-setting kicker Kevin Butler is among four former Bulldogs who will be added to the “Circle of Honor.”

Two-time NCAA championship gymnast Jenni Beathard along with All-America golfer Nick Cassini and former basketball standout Jarvis Hayes are the other three former athletes selected for Class of 2019 induction, according to the UGA release.

The newest Circle of Honor inductees will be introduced on Dooley Field at a yet-to-be-determined home football game before their formal induction Feb. 7, 2020, in the Sanford Stadium West end zone.

According to the release: “The Circle of Honor is designed to pay tribute to extraordinary student-athletes and coaches who by their performance and conduct have brought honor to the university and themselves, and who by their actions have contributed to the tradition of the Georgia Bulldogs. The criteria for selection also stipulate that each recipient has earned his or her academic degree.”

Butler, who completed his degree in economics at Georgia in 2018, tied an NCAA record with 27 games of two field goals or more and ranks as UGA’s most prolific long-distance kicker. Butler still owns a share of the longest field goal in SEC history, a 60-yard game-winner with 11 seconds left against Clemson in 1984.

The Stone Mountain product also is the school-record holder for most field goals over 50 yards (11, 1981-84), and he has the highest percentage of field goals made over 50 yards, 11 of 21 at 52.4 percent.

Butler finished his career as the SEC’s all-time leading scorer — a record that stood for 14 years.

Here is the biographical information for the other inductees:

Jenni Beathard

As a freshman in 1996, Beathard overcame chronic ankle injuries to earn All-America honors on the uneven bars, finishing second at the NCAA meet. The following year, she flourished as the team’s top entry on bars and its leadoff performer on the balance beam.

Georgia's Jenni Beathard (left) is congradulated by her coach Suzanne Yoculan and teammates after her first place performance in the uneven bars Saturday April 19, 1997.
Photo: Brian Thorpe/AP

Beathard posted a score of 9.950 to win the NCAA championship on bars. As a junior she continued her excellence on bars by earning her first career score of 10.0 in a tri-meet with Arizona and Michigan. She went on to claim the NCAA co-championship on the balance beam, one night after the Gym Dogs captured the fourth team title in program history.

Beathard capped her collegiate career earning All-America honors in both bars and beam in 1999, helping lead Georgia to a second straight NCAA team championship. She was awarded the American Athletic Inc. Award, given annually to the nation’s outstanding senior gymnast.

An Academic All-SEC honoree three straight years, Beathard earned her bachelor’s in exercise and sports science in 2000.

Nick Cassini

Cassini joined the UGA Golf program in 1998 and helped lead the squad to the program’s first national championship the following spring. He later earned First-Team All-America honors in 2001, becoming the 16th Bulldog with that designation. Cassini also was a Second-Team All-American in 2000.

Nick Cassini earned First-Team All-America honors at Georgia in 2001.
Photo: Walt Unks/AP

A native Atlantan, Cassini was the SEC’s Player of the Year in 2001, when the Bulldogs claimed their second straight conference title.

Cassini ended his UGA career ranked second with the lowest season average (71.05) and lowest round (7-under) and fourth in career average (72.11).

He graduated in 2001 with a degree in family and consumer sciences. He will become the first Circle of Honor inductee to have played for the men’s golf program exclusively.

Jarvis Hayes

A native of Atlanta, Hayes and his twin brother Jonas transferred to Georgia in 1999, having played at Western Carolina as freshmen. After sitting out the 2001 season, Jarvis took the SEC by storm as a sophomore. He averaged a league-best 18.6 points per game in 2002, earning SEC Player of the Year honors. Hayes again led the Bulldogs offensively in 2002-03 while averaging 18.3 points per game and reached 1,000 career points in just 55 games, six games quicker than UGA’s career scoring leader, Litterial Green.

Jarvis Hayes just the second Bulldog to earn consensus first-team All-SEC honors two times.
Photo: Ed Reinke/AP

Hayes helped Georgia to a combined 41-18 record in his two seasons, with an NCAA Tournament berth in 2002. He joined Dominique Wilkins to become just the second Bulldog to earn consensus first-team All-SEC honors two times. He also owns the unique distinction of having won scoring titles in two separate leagues: the SEC in 2002 and the Southern Conference in 2000.

Hayes was drafted by the Washington Wizards with the No. 10 overall pick of the 2003 NBA Draft. He played seven seasons with Washington, Detroit and New Jersey, as well as two seasons in Italy and Romania.

Hayes earned his degree in housing in 2014.

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