Augusta's athletes

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Augusta athletes have found success off the golf links, in venues ranging from football stadiums to ultimate fighting octagons. Here's a sampling.

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Boxer Vernon Forrest called Augusta his home while building his career.  Associated Press/File
Associated Press/File
Boxer Vernon Forrest called Augusta his home while building his career.

HULK HOGAN: The wrestling legend, whose real name is Terry Gene Bollea, was born in Augusta, then moved to Tampa, Fla.

He gained popularity in the mid-'80s to early-'90s in the World Wrestling Federation, then became Hollywood Hogan for World Championship Wrestling.

In 2005, Hogan was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.

Also that year, Hogan began a two-year stint in reality TV along with his wife and two children in Hogan Knows Best on VH1.

He has also had some appearances out of the ring in television series including Walker, Texas Ranger and in films including Muppets from Space .

EMERSON BOOZER JR.: The former New York Jets running back got his start at Lucy C. Laney High School. Boozer went on to play for the Jets for 10 years in the 1960s and 1970s.

VERNON FORREST: The boxer called Augusta his home while building his career. Debuting in the professional world in 1992, he went on to a record of 41-3 with 29 knockouts and won titles including IBC Junior Welterweight Champion, WBC Continental Americus Welterweight Champion, the IBF Welterweight Champion, the WBC Light Middleweight Champion and the WBC Welterweight Champion. Forrest died in 2009 after he was shot during a robbery in Atlanta.

CHUCK EVANS: The Glenn Hills High School graduate played fullback for the Minnesota Vikings from 1993-1998. In his year as starting fullback in 1998, the team set the record for most points in a season by a team, with 556 points. Evans later played two years for the Baltimore Ravens before retiring.

He died in October 2008 of heart failure.

FORREST GRIFFIN: Before his career as a mixed martial arts fighter, Griffin patrolled the streets of Augusta as a Richmond County sheriff's deputy. The Evans High School graduate went on to compete and win the first season of The Ultimate Fighter in 2006 on Spike. Griffin was named Light Heavyweight Champion in July 2008 and has a 17-6 record. His image is on the cover of the UFC 2009 Undisputed video game.

DEON GRANT: The T.W. Josey High School graduate began his NFL career in 2001 with the Carolina Panthers.

In 2004, he signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars, and then in 2007, he moved to the Seattle Seahawks. Grant was released from the Seahawks on March 15.

KEN WHISENHUNT: His football career began in Augusta at the Academy of Richmond County. He was a standout in college in the early 1980s at Georgia Tech and then went on to an NFL career with the Atlanta Falcons, where he played tight end for four years. In 1990, he signed with the Washington Redskins, then played for the New York Jets. In 1995, he moved from the field to the sidelines as a coach. Since then, Whisenhunt has coached Vanderbilt, the Baltimore Ravens, the Cleveland Browns, the New York Jets, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals. He guided the Cardinals to the NFC championship in 2008.

WILLIAM PERRY: The legendary defensive lineman for the Chicago Bears in 1980s, Perry got his start at Aiken High School. He was known as "the Refrigerator" for his 6-foot, 2-inch, 382-pound build. He also played for the Philadelphia Eagles during his 10-year career in the NFL. He retired after the 1994 season.

TROY WILLIAMSON: Another NFL alum, Williamson discovered football as a student at Silver Bluff High School. He was drafted as a receiver for the Minnesota Vikings in 2005 but was later traded to the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2008, where he still plays today.

MICHAEL DEAN PERRY: This South Aiken High School graduate played at Clemson University, before a 10-year NFL career with stops in Cleveland, Denver and Kansas City.

He was selected for the Pro Bowl six times.

About the series

Augusta is known for the Masters Tournament and its golfing heritage, but the city has also made its mark in other areas. We've compiled a sampling of some homegrown celebrities whose names you might recognize.

MONDAY: Musicians

TUESDAY: Film

WEDNESDAY: Fine Arts

THURSDAY: Movers and shakers

TODAY: Athletes

SATURDAY: South Carolina

Comments (3) Add comment
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AugustaVoter
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AugustaVoter 04/09/10 - 01:48 am
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Missing some baseball players

Missing some baseball players AC. Evans standout, Todd Greene, Current Cubs player, who hit a homer on the Braves today bythe way, Tyler Colvin, Current Dodger Pitcher Jonathan Broxton, and probably many more. Thanks for trying but you didn't finish the project...

AugustaVoter
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AugustaVoter 04/09/10 - 01:50 am
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Oh and since South Carolina

Oh and since South Carolina was reserved for Saturday, why put the SC players in here today? Just Wonderin'

Paying Resident
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Paying Resident 04/09/10 - 10:27 am
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Missed Curtis Rouse Laney

Missed Curtis Rouse Laney Standout, Tennessee Chattanooga player, and player with the Minnesota Vikings

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