ATHENS—–Fans will want to be in their seats by 1:40 p.m. Saturday at Foley Field as Georgia will hold its annual Lettermen’s Day before the Bulldogs battle Tennessee.
Lettermen from as far back as the 1940s including the legendary Charley Trippi will be welcomed back to Foley Field, and this year Georgia pays tribute to the 2008 College World Series Finalists as they are celebrating the 10-year anniversary of that memorable SEC Championship season that culminated at the CWS.
One of the annual highlights from Lettermen’s Day will be two special awarded presented to a former Bulldog. The 2018 Charley Trippi Distinguished Letterman Award goes to a Bulldog in recognition of his generous support, interest and special commitment to UGA Baseball. This honor is awarded to a former student-athlete who made his mark on the playing fields and has carried those lessons into life as an extraordinary, contributing and successful citizen. Also, the Tom Cousins Outstanding Athletic Achievement Award goes to a Bulldog who has distinguished himself on the playing field, and his performance, leadership and integrity inspires present and future players to give their all to win at the highest level.
The 2018 recipient of the Charley Trippi Distinguished Letterman Award is Vernon Brinson. A native of Macclenny, Florida, he was a left-handed hitting catcher for the Bulldogs and coach Jim Whatley in 1958 and 1959. The Bulldogs registered 25 wins during his career. After graduation, he experienced success in the automobile business and helped expand Jacksonville’s Key Buick to 25 dealerships around the country. His son, Mike, played linebacker for the Bulldogs in the early 1980s and his daughter, Elizabeth, played for the Georgia tennis team in the late 1980s. His granddaughter, Caroline, recently finished her four-year career as a member of the Bulldog tennis team. Brinson has endowed multiple scholarships, and the Georgia baseball Team Meeting Room bears his name. Currently, he resides in New Orleans and Ponte Vedra Beach with his wife Patricia.
The 2018 recipient of the Tom Cousins Athletic Achievement Award is Jeff Treadway. A two-year All-SEC infielder for the Bulldogs in 1982 and 1983 under coach Steve Webber, he posted a career batting average of .381, which still ranks fourth in school history. He hit a team-best .392 with eight home runs and 41 RBI to earn All-SEC honors in 1983 and was named the Bulldogs Most Valuable Player. He signed a free agent contract with the Cincinnati Reds in 1983 and made his Major League debut with them in 1987. He played a total of nine seasons in the Major Leagues including on the Atlanta Braves World Series teams in 1991 and 1992. He retired with a .281 batting average, 596 hits, and 208 RBI. After his playing career, he managed the minor league Macon Braves for two seasons and eventually joined the staff of Stratford Academy in Macon, coaching baseball and softball and leading them to five state titles. He and his wife, Mollye reside in Macon.
Approximately 20 student-athletes, coaches, and staff of the 2008 Bulldogs will be in attendance Saturday. After winning the SEC regular-season title with a 20-9-1 mark, that squad captured an NCAA Regional and Super Regional at Foley Field to advance to the College World Series where they reached the Finals. They finished ranked No. 2 nationally with a 45-25-1 mark. The Bulldogs expected to attend include: Lyle Allen (OF), Stephen Brock (RHP), Jake Crane (C), Stephen Dodson (RHP), Steve Esmonde (RHP), Brent Hallman (RHP), Will Harvil (RHP), Trevor Holder (RHP), Alex McRee (LHP), Nick Montgomery (RHP), Nathan Moreau (LHP), Robbie O’Bryan (DH), Ryan Peisel (3B), Miles Starr (INF), David Thoms (INF), Dean Weaver (RHP), Johnathan Paulish (Student Manager) along with head coach David Perno, pitching coach Brady Wiederhold, director of baseball operations Brian Jester and administrative assistant Shirley Toney. Three members of the 2008 team will miss the event because they remain active in professional baseball: Gordon Beckham (Seattle), Josh Fields (Los Angeles) and Justin Grimm (Kansas City).
Game two of the Georgia-Tennessee series will begin Saturday at 2 p.m. and be available on SEC Network+ and the Bulldog Sports Network from IMG.