Owner of Georgia’s ‘Uga’ mascot dies at 90

Georgia attorney Sonny Seiler has died at the age of 90. He was owner of the University of Georgia’s famed line of “Uga” bulldog mascots.
Published: Aug. 28, 2023 at 9:23 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 29, 2023 at 8:05 AM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - The owner of one of college football’s most recognizable mascots has died at 90.

Frank W. “Sonny” Seiler passed away at his home in Savannah Monday after a “short illness,” according to Georgia Athletics.

Seiler, a two-time Georgia grad, began the Uga tradition when he and his wife Cecelia brought their English Bulldog to the season-opening game in 1956. The pair had received the dog as a wedding gift and brought him to the game at the request of then-head coach Wally Butts. Cecelia had sown what would become Uga’s iconic jersey: a red shirt with a black “G” on the front. Shortly afterward, Uga--first known as “Hood’s Ole Dan”--became the official mascot of Georgia football.

Each Uga since then has been owned by the Seiler family. Uga XI succeeded his father in April. Uga X, also known as Que, is the winningest Uga in school history.

Uga has become one of the most recognizable mascots in college athletics, attending every Georgia football game. The mascot has had his fair amount of time in the spotlight; Uga V lunged at Auburn wide receiver Robert Baker in 1995 after Baker celebrated a touchdown in front of the dog and Texas’ live mascot Bevo nearly gored Uga X at the 2019 Sugar Bowl.

Seiler earned two degrees from the University of Georgia. He earned both a B.B.A. and J.D. from the university before joining Bouhan Falligant. He later served as the lead defense counsel in the Jim Williams murder trials popularized in John Berendt’s book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. He appeared in the 1997 film adaptation of the book as the judge in the trial.

Director of Athletics Josh Brooks said,

Seiler is survived by four children, seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Cecelia died in 2014.