UGA Continues Arms Race

February 12, 2020
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ATHENS — Key facility updates, praise for senior-level executive athletic staff, and expressions of gratitude from current student-athletes and were among the prominent topics at the University of Georgia Athletic Association Board of Directors quarterly meeting Wednesday on the UGA campus.

J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Greg McGarity opened his report by inviting Bulldogs’ baseball pitcher Emerson Hancock and soccer player Cecily Stoute to speak before the group.  Both expressed their thanks to the Board, as well as the athletic staff in attendance, for their experiences as student-athletes.  Hancock, whose team starts its 2020 season this Friday, added that the Bulldogs expect to be playing in Omaha later this spring at the College World Series.

McGarity also recognized several individual Board members for their professional accomplishments during the year.  He then took time to commend several individuals on his executive staff.  Among them was Senior Deputy Athletic Director Josh Brooks, who presented updates on three facility projects:
• Initial stages of the Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall expansion have begun with the removal of nearly 1,400 truckloads (15,000 cubic yards) of dirt.  The Butts Mehre building has served as the administrative center for the Athletic Association, as well as the operational hub for the football program, since 1987.  The latest expansion, at an estimated cost of $80 million, will add a greatly expanded weight room, locker room, meeting rooms, coaches’ offices and sports medicine facility, as well as a number of other improvements for the football program.  Construction for the first phase is expected to be completed by April of 2021.  Phase two of the project will include a small portion of new construction and renovation of existing space, and would be completed by January of 2022, McGarity said.
• The grandstand at Henry Feild Stadium, home to the UGA men’s and women’s tennis teams, is nearing completion after nearly a year of construction work.  Built at a cost of $8.5 million, the grandstand will officially open when the Bulldogs play host to Florida Atlantic in a dual match on Monday, Feb. 24.  The tennis teams will also host an Open House to showcase their new facility on Tuesday, March 17.
• A second round of waterproofing the south side of lower-level spectator seating in Sanford Stadium is currently underway.  UGA has invested $2.7 million for this project, which will waterproof all of the 100 sections of seating from rows 1-60.

Also included on the agenda was a glowing academic report from Faculty Athletics Representative, Prof. David Shipley.  Highlights of Shipley’s report included:
• A total of 19 UGA student-athletes graduated in December.
• The final grade point average for UGA’s 540 male and female student-athletes for Fall Semester was a 2.97.  Every women’s team was at or above a 3.09 GPA, with the Top 5-ranked tennis team leading the way with a 3.61, followed by a 3.55 average by the cross country team.
• On the men’s side, five teams were at or above a 3.11 GPA, with cross-country, the winner of the 2018-19 Faculty Athletic Representative’s Award for the team with the best GPA, holding slight lead over tennis – 3.30 to 3.29.
UGA has four strong nominees for the SEC’s Boyd McWhorter Post-Graduate Scholarships and Brad Davis Community Service Awards in 2020. Rodrigo Blankenship (football) and Elena Christofi (tennis) have been nominated for the McWhorter awards and two swimmers, Jordan Stout and Walker Higgins, are up for the Davis Awards, the winners of which will receive $10,000 post-graduate scholarships.
• Blankenship also won a National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Award in December – our past winners include Drew Butler and Aaron Murray.

The Athletics Board will hold its annual spring meeting on June 3-5, 2020, while its fall meeting will take place on Sept. 11, 2020.

 
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