Season will open with Russ, not Uga VIII, as mascot

Sonny Seiler, owner of the English bulldogs who have served as Georgia’s mascots since 1956, has informed UGA President Michael Adams and athletics director Damon Evans that the next Uga won’t be ready by the start of the season.

That means Russ, the 5-year-old half-brother of the late Uga VII, will continue to fill in as the Bulldogs’ mascot for the Sept. 4 opener and at least one or two more games.

“We’ll be fine. Russ will do his job,” Evans said at the SEC spring meetings Wednesday. “We’re fortunate to have a family like the Seilers who ... are always able to provide us with a good quality dog, and they will do so again this year.”

Seiler has identified several puppies -- offspring of the Uga VI line -- as candidates to become Uga VIII, but none will be big enough by the start of the season. Puppies in a new litter due this month also might be considered.

“I think he wants to ease [the dog] into the season, like we do freshmen sometimes,” Adams said.

So, Russ’ reign will last a bit longer.

He filled in after Uga VII died  in November, serving as the mascot for an upset win at Georgia Tech and an Independence Bowl victory over Texas A&M. Seiler has said Russ is too old to be considered for the position of Uga VIII; a younger dog is preferred to increase the chances of a long tenure.

The issue of the next Uga is no small matter in Bulldog Nation. In fact, Adams said with a laugh, the UGA presidency is “one of the few gigs in the world where you’re always second place to a dog.”

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