Georgia Bulldog Legend

By: Joe Delaney news services

Georgia Bulldog fans everywhere were saddened to hear of the passing of the great Charley Trippi this week.

It’s easy to think that yeah, the old dude was pretty good from what we’ve all heard……… Well, think again. Charley Trippi was GREAT. His passing this week at the age of 100 marked the end of a great era in Georgia football.

As a youth on St. Simons MANY years ago, I read about the exploits of Charley as I looked at the history books.

This was mainly to read about our own Lamar “Racehorse” Davis. It was difficult to read anything about the Dawgs of that era and not hear mention of Charley.

My interest in Racehorse came from him coaching me in youth football on St. Simons, alongside the Glynn Academy great Lee Owens.

Racehorse’s son, the late Lamar “Pic” Davis, and I grew up together on St. Simons and we ran around with our own little group of hoodlums. It was a wonderful time to be a kid with about 6000 people on St. Simons.  It was kind of like Mayberry with a beach.

So, Charley was great? As the Georgia Florida game looms upon us consider this. In the 1942 game, the Bulldogs won 75-0 over the Gators. Charley threw a TD pass. He also ran for two more touchdowns and returned an interception for a fourth score. Seen anyone doing that lately? Charley was the man!

In the 1943 Rose Bowl, Charley, Racehorse, 1942 Heisman winner Frank Sinkwich and the Dawgs ran all over the UCLA Bruins in route to a 9-0 win.

Trippi was named the game MVP. The game really wasn’t that close as the Dawgs rolled up 379 yards of offense to the Bruins 157. The Bulldogs hammered out 22 first downs to 4 for UCLA in front of 93,000 fans. The Bulldogs would wait another 75 years to play in the Rose Bowl again.

In 1943 and 1944 Trippi was in the military and returned halfway through the 1945 season. Still, he was named All-SEC and led Georgia to a 20-6 Oil Bowl victory over Tulsa, in which he threw a 54-yard TD and returned a punt 69 yards for another TD. But the best was yet to come.

1946 was Charley’s senior season and the guy went CRAZY. He led Georgia to an undefeated season.

In the season finale against Georgia Tech, he accumulated 544 yards of offense and scored 3 TDs in the 35-7 rout of the Bees.

The Dawgs finished out the season with a 20-10 win over North Carolina. Charley was named the Maxwell Award winner as the best collegiate player in the country and came in second in the Heisman voting to Glenn Davis of Army.

That spring in Athens, Charley played shortstop and outfield for the Diamond Dawgs and hit .475 with 11 home runs in 30 games.

He chose to play football over baseball even with the New York Yankees and other MLB teams lobbying for his services.

The 6’0 186lb Trippi went on to have a stellar career with the Chicago Cardinals of the NFL. Being the number one overall pick, he signed an unbelievable, at the time, $100000 contract with a $25000 signing bonus. The Cardinals got their moneys’ worth.

Charley is in the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, the College Football Hall of Fame, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

His #62 was retired by the Dawgs. In a fitting tribute, Bear Bryant said “Charley Trippi was the greatest college football I ever saw”. Yes, Charley was THE MAN.

Trippi had a long and wonderful life. He passed away this week in his beloved Athens. Rest in Peace Charley. DAMN GOOD DAWG.