Richt and Co. coming to town

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

ALBANY -- Let the inquiries and shop talk begin.

After a 6-7 season in football and a turnaround with the men's basketball program, Albany Bulldog Club president Dee Matthews expects those who turn out for tonight's "UGA Day" at Doublegate Golf & Country Club will have plenty of questions to ask the event's two guest speakers, football coach Mark Richt and director of operations for men's basketball, Kent Davison.

"For coach Richt, I imagine a lot of the focus (from those attending) will be on this upcoming season and the recruiting class he just signed. He's been saying it's one of the best -- if not the best -- he's ever had," said Matthews, who has been president of the local Bulldog Club for 25 years. "And for Kent (who is filling for head coach Mark Fox, who is on vacation), I'm sure they'll want to talk about all the good things going on with the program these days. It's a new day for the men's basketball team and it's a thrilling time. They seem to be working together more than ever."

Matthews said she'll even have a question or two of her own.

"I'd like to ask coach Richt the same thing I used to ask (former head coach Vince) Dooley when he was coming here years ago: 'Why don't we throw the ball over the middle more?' " she said. "Last year's (down) season hurt -- and I know coach Richt and those coaches and those kids were disappointed, too. And I know we had a young QB, but I was disappointed we didn't use Aaron Murray-to-A.J. Green more, and I hope we do some more passing this year, even though we have a great crop of running backs coming in."

The event, which is being hosted by the Albany Bulldog Club for the first time in conjunction with the UGA Alumni Association, kicks off at 6 p.m. with a social hour, followed by presentations from host Chuck Dowdle -- WSB Sports Director -- and followed by speeches from the Director of UGA's Honors Program, David Williams, and UGA National Alumni Association President Vic Sullivan of Albany. The event will then be closed out by speeches from Davison and Richt.

Matthews said a moment of recognition will also be set aside for longtime Albany Bulldog Club member Booger Sealey, who died late last week at the age of 83.

"Booger was such a staunch supporter of UGA athletics, and he will be missed," she said. "He used to have a tag on his car that read, 'Bugar 1' and he would always tell people that you can't spell 'Booger' without a 'uga' in it."

With the new partnership between the two UGA organizations, Matthews expects the turnout to be as good -- or better -- from years past and reach between "250 and 300" guests.

"This is such an important event for all us area Bulldog fans and alumni because it draws us together and helps us stay on top of what's going on up in Athens -- which is a long way from Albany," Matthews said. "Coach Richt's been coming here ever since he took over the program (in 2001) and I know he really enjoys his visits to Albany."

The stop in Albany marks the fifth of six visits the coaches will be making during their tour around the Southeast after Richt, Davison and Fox made appearances in Greenville, S.C., Columbus, Savannah and Macon, with the final stop coming in Atlanta after Albany.