Bill Saye, a UGA football letterman and one of the leaders of “Wally’s Boys,” died in his sleep Monday night. He was 86.
Saye played for coach Wally Butts during the platoon era of football. But he was well known around Athens as a passionate fan of the Bulldogs. An Athens native, Saye told stories of playing on the field at Sanford Stadium when he was in grade school and walking the length of it underground -- through the culvert where Tanyard Creek flows.
Saye played football at Athens High and later at the University of Georgia. After a stint in the U.S. Marine Corps, where he earned the rank of First Lieutenant, became a teacher and football coach at Hart County High School. After teaching and coaching for nine years, Saye transitioned to a business career. He became a sales executive for General Wholesale in Atlanta, where he worked for 37 years.
All the while, Saye was a UGA football season ticket holder. After retirement, he returned to Athens, where he became a volunteer for a number of organizations, including Piedmont Regional Hospital.
But Saye’s labor of love was the “Wally’s Boys Association,” a group of former players who played for Wally Butts and would meet regularly. As treasurer of Wally’s Boys, Saye managed the organization’s annual breakfast at which Georgia coaches such as Vince Dooley, Mark Richt and current coach Kirby Smart always attended.
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