Wally Butts

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Wally Butts JR
Wally Butts.jpg
Sport(s)Football
Biographical details
Born(1905-02-07)February 7, 1905
Milledgeville, Georgia
DiedDecember 17, 1973(1973-12-17) (aged 68)
Athens, Georgia
Playing career
1925–1929Mercer
Position(s)End
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1938
1939–1960
Georgia (assistant)
Georgia
Administrative career (AD unless noted)
1948–1963Georgia
Head coaching record
Overall140–86–9
Bowls5–2–1
Statistics
College Football Data Warehouse
Accomplishments and honors
Championships
2 National (1942, 1946)
4 SEC (1942, 1946, 1948, 1959)
Awards
3x SEC Coach of the Year (1942, 1946, 1959)
Florida–Georgia Hall of Fame
College Football Hall of Fame
Inducted in 1997 (profile)
 
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Wally Butts JR
Wally Butts.jpg
Sport(s)Football
Biographical details
Born(1905-02-07)February 7, 1905
Milledgeville, Georgia
DiedDecember 17, 1973(1973-12-17) (aged 68)
Athens, Georgia
Playing career
1925–1929Mercer
Position(s)End
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1938
1939–1960
Georgia (assistant)
Georgia
Administrative career (AD unless noted)
1948–1963Georgia
Head coaching record
Overall140–86–9
Bowls5–2–1
Statistics
College Football Data Warehouse
Accomplishments and honors
Championships
2 National (1942, 1946)
4 SEC (1942, 1946, 1948, 1959)
Awards
3x SEC Coach of the Year (1942, 1946, 1959)
Florida–Georgia Hall of Fame
College Football Hall of Fame
Inducted in 1997 (profile)

James Wallace "Wally" Butts, Jr. (February 7, 1905 – December 17, 1973) was an American football player, coach, and college athletics administrator. He served as the head coach at the University of Georgia from 1939 to 1960, compiling a record of 140–86–9. His Georgia Bulldogs football teams won two national championships (1942, 1946) and four Southeastern Conference titles (1942, 1946, 1948, 1959). Butts was also the athletic director at Georgia from 1939 to 1963. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 1997.

Playing career[edit]

Butts was a 1929 graduate of Mercer University where he played college football under coach Bernie Moore,[1] and was an alumnus of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity.

Coaching career[edit]

Butts came to the University of Georgia as an assistant to Joel Hunt in 1938. Hunt left after a 5–4–1 season to take over at the University of Wyoming and Butts was elevated to the position of head coach, which he held for 22 seasons through 1960. Butts also served as Georgia's athletic director from 1939 until 1963.[2]

Butts' assistants in his first year as head coach were Bill Hartman, Howell Hollis, Quinton Lumpkin, Jules V. Sikes, Forrest Towns, and Jennings B. Whitworth. During his tenure as head coach, Georgia won its first consensus national championship in 1942 and claimed another national title in 1946.[3] Ralph Jordan, future head football coach at Auburn University, joined the Georgia coaching staff in October 1946 as an assistant line coach. Butts was a proponent of the passing game in an era of "three yards and a cloud of dust". He developed innovative, intricate pass routes that were studied by other coaches. He was often called "the little round man" as he was five feet, six inches tall and had a squat body.

Butts coached 1942 Heisman Trophy winner Frank Sinkwich and 1946 Maxwell Award winner Charley Trippi. The 1942 Georgia team won the Rose Bowl over UCLA, finished #2 in the AP Poll, and was named a national championship by a number of selectors. Butts' teams also won four Southeastern Conference championships (1942, 1946, 1948 and 1959).[4] As head coach, Butts posted a 140–86–9 record (.615 winning percentage), including a bowl record of 5–2–1.[5] Johnny Griffith, a former player and assistant coach to Butts, succeeded him as head coach in 1961.

Later life and honors[edit]

In the 1960s, Butts filed a libel lawsuit against the Saturday Evening Post after it ran an article alleging that he and Alabama head coach Bear Bryant had conspired to fix games. Curtis Publishing Co. v. Butts, as it ultimately became when it reached the Supreme Court, was a landmark libel case. The court ruled in his favor in 1967, and the Saturday Evening Post was ordered to pay $3.06 million to him in damages, an amount which was later reduced on appeal to $460,000.[6] This settlement was seen as a contributing factor in the demise of the venerable Saturday Evening Post two years later.[6] Both Butts and Bryant had sued for $10 million each. Bryant settled for $300,000.

Butts was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 1966 and in the College Football Hall of Fame in 1997.[7]

Butts died of a heart attack after returning from a walk in 1973.[8] He was buried in Oconee Hill Cemetery in Athens, Georgia.[6]

Family[edit]

Butts was the son of James Wallace Butts, Sr. (July 9, 1881 – January 2, 1959) and wife Annie (1881 – ?). Wally married Winifred Faye Taylor (July 12, 1907 – June 27, 1990) on February 19, 1929. They had three daughters, Faye, Jean and Nancy. Butts had numerous grandchildren. Many members of the Butts family have gone on to support the University of Georgia. The most notable being Allison Jones Yeomans, who generously supports UGA athletics with her husband, Dr. Craig S. Yeomans.

Head coaching record[edit]

YearTeamOverallConferenceStandingBowl/playoffsCoaches#AP°
Georgia Bulldogs (Southeastern Conference) (1939–1960)
1939Georgia5–61–38th
1940Georgia5–4–12–3–17th
1941Georgia9–1–13–1–14thW Orange14
1942Georgia11–15–11stW Rose2
1943Georgia6–40–34th
1944Georgia7–34–2T–3rd
1945Georgia9–24–24thW Oil18
1946Georgia11–05–0T–1stW Sugar3
1947Georgia7–4–13–3T–4thT Gator
1948Georgia9–26–01stL Orange8
1949Georgia4–6–11–4–1T–10th
1950Georgia6–3–33–2–16thL Presidential Cup
1951Georgia5–52–4T–9th
1952Georgia7–44–35th
1953Georgia3–81–5T–10th
1954Georgia6–3–13–2–15th
1955Georgia4–62–511th
1956Georgia3–6–11–612th
1957Georgia3–73–49th
1958Georgia4–62–410th
1959Georgia10–17–01stW Orange55
1960Georgia6–44–36th
Georgia:140–86–966–60–5
Total:140–86–9
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title
#Rankings from final Coaches' Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Thilenius, Ed; Koger, Jim (1960). No Ifs, No Ands, a Lot of Butts: Twenty-one Years of Georgia Football. Atlanta, Georgia: Foote & Davies Company. p. 8. LCCN 60015266. 
  2. ^ Former Head Coaches
  3. ^ Georgia Football National Championships
  4. ^ All-Time Winningest Division 1-A Teams
  5. ^ Official 2006 NCAA Divisions I-A and II-A Football Records Book, page 331
  6. ^ a b c "Wally Butts, Ex-Georgia Coach, Dies; Won Large Libel Suit Coached Noted Players". The New York Times. December 18, 1973. p. 46. 
  7. ^ Wally Butts profile in the College Football Hall of Fame
  8. ^ "Wally Butts; Dropped by university, mentor was not forgotten by Bulldog fans". European Stars and Stripes. December 21, 1973. p. 21. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]