Bulldog Monthly

Sanford Stadium West End Zone Project Approved

A major enhancement to the west end zone of Sanford Stadium — 120,000 square feet of new and improved space that will include a new locker room for the Bulldogs, room to host and entertain prospects on game day, a larger video board and a new plaza for game day fans — was approved by the University of Georgia Athletic Association Board of Directors during its quarterly Tuesday, February 14, 2017.

The construction project, which is expected to take approximately 17 months to complete, is estimated to cost $63 million. In order for the enhancements to be ready for the 2018 football season, initial work needs to begin by April of 2017, according to J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Greg McGarity.

The West End Zone project is the next step in the enhancement of Sanford Stadium. This project is unique to Georgia and to Sanford Stadium.

J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Greg McGarity

“The West End Zone project is the next step in the enhancement of Sanford Stadium,” McGarity said. “This project is unique to Georgia and to Sanford Stadium. It really focuses on the locker room and the recruiting space, which will be usable by so many units of the university at certain times. It also covers many areas of fan amenities: rest rooms, concession points of sale opportunities. I think for those of us that lived through Reed Alley in its original form — and now Reed Plaza — they can see what a tremendous impact it has had on the fans’ experience. I believe that this project will have a similarly positive effect on the fans that enter Sanford Stadium from the west end.”

The Georgia football team currently occupies a dressing room at the opposite (east) end of Sanford Stadium, and the Bulldogs use it only as a staging room for pre-game, halftime and post-game activities. When completed, the new dressing room at the west end will offer fully-equipped locker and shower facilities for the Bulldogs, nearly doubling the amount of available square footage.

Directly above the new locker room will be a hospitality lounge, covering over 10,500 square feet, used exclusively for hosting prospects and their guests on game days. The lounge will be the first of its kind at Sanford Stadium for the Georgia football program.

The new plaza — replacing all existing entrances into the stadium’s west end — will offer fans a dramatically improved game-day experience.

Some details of the overall project include:

“(Regarding fundraising) I think we’ve just scratched the surface,” McGarity said. “Our fans have been fantastic. We have 16,000 season ticket holders, and there are naming opportunities, both in the Indoor Athletic Facility, and also these new areas at Sanford Stadium. So I think there’s tremendous upside to what could be a once-in-a-lifetime chance for naming opportunities that will be available at Sanford Stadium.”

Further details on the West End Zone project, including artist renderings and fundraising information, can be found at the following website:

The project will now be presented for discussion by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents at its meeting on March 15 in Atlanta.

Other highlights of the Athletics Board meeting included the following:

UGA to Implement SEC Clear Bag Policy in 2017

Go Clear!

In the interest of public safety and to significantly expedite entry into its venues, the UGA Athletic Association will begin to implement the Southeastern Conference Clear Bag Policy in 2017. This policy will be in effect at the annual G-Day intrasquad football game on April 22. It will go into effect permanently for the 2017-18 competition season and will include all UGA venues that host ticketed events: Sanford Stadium (football), Stegeman Coliseum (men's & women's basketball, gymnastics) and Foley Field (baseball). 

Following are the basics concerning the Clear Bag Policy:

A downloadable and printable version of this policy can be accessed by clicking here.

11th Annual Student-Athlete Thank-A-Thon

The 11th annual Student-Athlete Thank-A-Thon will be taking place Monday, April 10 – Wednesday, April 26 from 10:00am-5:00pm.  The purpose of the event is to give student-athletes who benefit from these generous gifts an opportunity to say Thank You!  Their experience would not be the same without you.

Calls are expected to be made to randomly selected Magill Society, William W. Hartman Fund, Gymnastics Endowment Fund, Basketball Enhancement Fund, and Georgia Baseball Fund donors.  So, if you receive an unexpected call in the coming weeks, please answer it!  It is likely a UGA student-athlete calling to say Thanks.

Student Athletes of the Month: April

Matt Beringer


Matt Beringer, Golf

Major: Biology

More information about Matthew Beringer can be found in his biography by here.

Keturah Orji


Keturah Orji, Track and Field

Major: Communications Studies

More information about Keturah Orji can be found in her biography by here.

Donor Spotlight: Don and Sharon Lawson

Don and Sharon Lawson

April’s Donor Spotlight focuses on Don and Sharon Lawson of Canton, GA.

The Lawsons are native Georgians and have been contributors to the Gymnastics Endowment Fund for 10 consecutive years. When asked why they feel it is so important to support the Gymnastic Endowment Fund, the Lawsons mentioned the student-athletes as their driving force. “We have three nieces under the age of seven. It is important to us that they have good role models, such as the Gym Dogs to watch and emulate.”

It is so rewarding to watch the first time they perform and see their confidence grow over the season.

Don and Sharon particularly enjoy the experience of meeting our gymnasts. At the annual GEF Open Practice in December, our student-athletes get to meet face to face with the donors and get to know more about them on a personal level. The Lawsons always enjoy meeting the new members of the gymnastics team. “They are always so excited to be a part of this team, looking forward to their first meet. It is so rewarding to watch the first time they perform and see their confidence grow over the season.”

It was at this event last year that the Lawsons stepped up in a very special way. After hearing that the Gymnastics Endowment Fund was close to a record year, Don placed a call to the Georgia Bulldog Club to see how far away from the record we were at that time. Upon learning that the GEF was $947 away, Don said, “Let’s set a new record. Put me down for another $950.”

Thanks to Don and Sharon Lawson, the Georgia Bulldog Club has now set a new giving record for each of our four annual giving priority funds. Their drive to answer the call to help the University of Georgia is what makes them special to us.

Athletic News

Three Dogs Honored at Peach of an Athlete Banquet

3x NCAA Indoor Pentathlon Champion and 2X NCAA Outdoor Heptahtlon Champion Kendell Williams

University of Georgia track and field team members Kendell Williams and Sarah Gardner and football’s Jeb Blazevich were honored at the 33rd annual Peach of an Athlete Role Model Banquet at the College Football Hall of Fame Tuesday, March 23rd.

The Atlanta Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America named Williams, a native of Marietta, Ga., the Top Female Overall Winner, while Gardner, also of Marietta, and Blazevich, a native of Charlotte, N.C., earned Peach of an Athlete honorees.They were among 10 collegiate student-athletes statewide who were honored.

The Peach of an Athlete awards banquet recognizes deserving athletes whose character, scholastic achievement, athletic excellence and commitment to community service most closely match the aims and ideals of the Scouting program. The goal of the banquet is to raise funds for the Boy Scouts, while honoring amateur and professional athletes and community leaders who provide a positive role model for area youth daily.

Kendell Williams

Williams is a junior at UGA who is earning her degree in Advertising. Competing in the heptathlon for Team USA at the 2016 Olympics, Williams has accumulated four NCAA indoor championships in the pentathlon, two NCAA titles in the heptathlon, four Southeastern Conference individual championships and is a three-time collegiate record holder in the pentathlon.

Williams’ volunteer service includes participating in “Girl Power” where she spoke to Girl Scouts about setting goals, the importance of your education and anti-bullying; volunteering with the Special Olympics prom; working with UGAAA’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee’s (SAAC) Community Service Board; speaking to students at area elementary schools about the importance of staying fit; handing out Thanksgiving meals at the Athens Community Council for Aging; among other volunteer activities.

Sarah Gardner

UGA sprinter Sarah Gardner

Sarah Gardner

Gardner, who like Williams attended Kell High School, is majoring in Marketing and is a sprinter on Georgia’s squad. She is has been a consistent member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll. Garnder also serves as Vice President of SAAC and was a member of the 2016-2017 L.E.A.D. induction class. Continuing to volunteer for the Heat Track Club that she ran on growing up, Gardner has volunteered for “Girl Power” and served as the event’s emcee; worked with the “Safe Routes to School” program with local elementary schools; given her time to the Special Olympics and the organization’s prom; been a mentor for the Ultimate Training Camp and spoken for and volunteered with the UGAAA’s “Learn, Play, Excel” Program; served as a volunteer reader at area schools; among other activities.

Jeb Blazevich

UGA tight end Jeb Blazevich

Jeb Blazevich

Blazevich is a junior tight end who is majoring in Risk Management and Insurance. During the 2016 football season, he made appearances in all 13 games, starting in 11 of them. Blazevich was one of 12 players nationwide named to the 2016 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, which was honored at halftime of the Allstate Sugar Bowl and he volunteered with his teammates in New Orleans over the game weekend. He was also named in November as one of 11 semifinalists for the 2016 Wuerffel Trophy, which is given to a college football player with an exceptional history of community service. With 39 catches and three touchdowns to his name on the playing field, Blazevich’s community service includes working with “Learn, Play, Excel” to educate and provide leadership for area students; visiting Camp Sunshine and spending time with children who have cancer; working with Extra Special People, an organization assisting individuals with developmental disabilities and their families; among other charities.

Miami Dolphins safety Reshad Jones, who played for the Bulldogs in 2007-2009, also received the Peach of an Athlete Professional Award. This award is given annually to a prominent professional athlete who exemplifies the qualities of responsible citizenship and outstanding character.

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