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Post I didn’t know Bill Hartman

Friday March 17, 2006

A lot of people remember the late Bill Hartman, who passed this week, as Georgia’s kicking coach during their run of great kickers from the 1970s through the early 1990s. I don’t, since that was about the time I became a fan. But of course Hartman was much more to the program than just an assistant coach, and that job was just one step along the way in a life that took him from All-American football player at UGA to a soldier in WWII to a long career alongside Vince Dooley to a strong force heading up the GSEF and fundraising efforts in the 1990s for the school he loved so much.

I didn’t know much about Hartman. But I do know three things…

1) When Herschel Walker begins a parade of Bulldog greats to visit you in the hospital, you’re someone special.

2) Former Bulldog kicker and Hartman protegee Allan Leavitt once graciously gave me a Jack Davis print commemorating Hartman’s infamous on-field incident with Uga. Leavitt treated it as if he were giving a sacrament.

3) During my last season in the Redcoats, we broke with the tradition of spelling G-E-O-R-G-I-A after halftime and instead spelled H-A-R-T-M-A-N to honor the coach who had been basically forced into retirement by NCAA rules. It was the first and only time I had seen an honor of that magnitude while at Georgia.

I think I get why now.

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