Dan Magill, described by many as the greatest Georgia Bulldog of all time, died Saturday night in Athens at the age of 93.
An Athens native, Magill began his 60-year association with University of Georgia athletics as a baseball batboy in the 1930's and continued in numerous roles until his retirement in 1995.
Magill had no peer as an innovator and promoter, and is known nationally for building over time the country's finest collegiate tennis facility -- one that now bears his name. But his contributions to the university, the athleticaAssociation, and perhaps most of all to the Georgia people have been great and many.
"I don't know of anyone who contributed more to our program through his time, his commitment, his life," said former UGA athletic director and head football coach Vince Dooley. "He, more than anyone else, has always been the true Bulldog spirit of the Georgia people."
Magill retired as tennis coach following the 1988 season after leading the tennis Bulldogs for 34 years and becoming one of the most influential men in the history of collegiate tennis.
Heavy hearts in Athens today as we mourn the loss of The Greatest Bulldog Ever, Dan Magill. Thank you for everything. pic.twitter.com/7JTtRfMKJq— Georgia Bulldogs (@UGAAthletics) August 24, 2014
He remained on the Georgia athletic staff through 1995 as Director of Men's and Women's Tennis as well as Assistant Athletic Director for Public Relations and the Georgia Bulldog Clubs. During his long tenure with the university, he also served 27 years as sports information director and 25 years as secretary of the Georgia Bulldog Club, which he founded in 1953.
His time as sports information director is well documented and he was known as one of the country's greatest team publicists. In recognition of his long tenure as sports information director, the press box at Georgia's Sanford Stadium was named in honor of Dan Magill during a ceremony prior to the Oct. 23, 1999, game between the Bulldogs and Kentucky. A marker was unveiled inside the press box for Magill, who served as Sports Information Director from 1949-1977.
In 1996, Magill was inducted into the UGA Circle of Honor -- the highest honor for former coaches and athletes at Georgia -- and was a recipient of the 1994 Bill Hartman Award which goes annually to a former athlete or coach who has made a significant impact in his chosen career. He's also a member of the National Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame, State of Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, and Southern Tennis Hall of Fame.
As a tennis coach, his brilliant 34-year record at Georgia was a staggering 706-183 making him the all-time winningest coach in NCAA Division I history at the time. His team won a record 13 Southeastern Conference outdoor championships and eight indoor league titles. He won two NCAA national championships in 1985 and '87. His 1985 Bulldogs performed the unmatched "hat trick" -- they ranked No. 1 in the final national team rankings, No. 1 in individual singles (Mikael Pernfors), and No. 1 in doubles (Mikael Pernfors and Allen Miller).
His players won five national collegiate individual championships: Pernfors, NCAA national singles champion, 1984 and '85, and Volvo All-America singles champion in '84; Allen Miller and Ola Malmqvist, ITCA indoor doubles in '82 and NCAA national doubles champions in '83.
Magill has been the recipient of both the NCAA National Coach of the Year and the J.D. Morgan Awards--the two most prestigious honors a college coach can receive.
He is also responsible for bringing the NCAA national men's tennis championships to Athens 25 times including 13 in a row from 1977-89. He developed the Georgia tennis complex into the finest on-campus tennis facility in the country which includes 12 outdoor courts, four indoor, and grandstand and private box seating for 3,000. He also spearheaded the move to locate the Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame facility on the Georgia campus which was financed by country music singer Kenny Rogers who lived near Athens at the time. For his efforts, the entire facility was officially named the "Dan Magill Tennis Complex" in 1993.
While in college and managing Georgia's tennis courts in the summer, Magill originated the Crackerland Championship which developed into one of the South's largest sectional tournaments. He also instituted the State Collegiate Championships, Southern Collegiate Championships, and SEC Coaches Indoor Championships.
He is survived by his wife, Rosemarie Reynaud Magill and three children: Hamilton III and daughters Shannon and Mollie. A private funeral will be held Thursday, August 28, at 10:00 a.m. ET. A celebration of Magill's life is scheduled for noon ET Thursday at the Athens Country Club.
• Video tribute at georgiadogs.com