Bulldogs sub Uga for opener

Russ, the substitute Uga, has a winning record.

SAVANNAH, Ga. -- Russ the bulldog, the University of Georgia’s longtime stand-in at mascot, will remain in his interim role when the Bulldogs open the 2012 season against Buffalo on Sept. 1, according to a member of the Seiler family who cares for the dog.

 

The Seilers offered no other details about the family’s plans or timetable in naming the next Uga, Uga IX. The mascot’s main caretaker, Charles Seiler, expressed concerns late last year about subjecting a puppy to the early September heat and hinted the family might wait until late September to install a successor to Uga VIII, which died in December 2010.

 

Russ is the longest-serving sub since Sonny and Cecilia Seiler first brought Uga I to Sanford Stadium to root on the Bulldogs in 1956. The dog was a wedding gift for the two students and quickly became the team’s mascot at the behest of then football coach Wally Butts.

 

Russ is currently in his second stint as interim mascot — he took over for his half-brother, Uga VII, following the dog’s death in 2009 — and he boasts a 14-10 record. He served the entirety of the 2011 season that saw the Bulldogs win the Southeastern Conference’s East Division title and play for the SEC championship.

The Dawgs lost that game to LSU.

Russ is charged with perpetuating the Uga line. Uga VIII was 17 months old when he died, and his illness was so sudden the Seilers did not breed him. Russ has sired several puppies over the last year-and-a-half, and one of those dogs will be the successor.

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