On Tuesday, November 29 the Lady Dawgs had a guest coach on the bench. Doug Penning joined the Lady Dawgs after winning a raffle. Well, I caught back up with Doug after the game to see what he had to say. Who is Doug Penning you ask? Why he is Georgia fan that loves his Bulldogs, win or lose, with unmatched heart and passion.
He was born in Centralia Illinois, but not long after, he and his family moved to Athens when Doug was just 4 months old. Now, at 28, if you ask Doug how long he has been a Georgia fan, he’d say all of his life. He especially loves the Women’s basketball team and program. However, he is also knowledgeable about the Georgia football team. He also loves women’s soccer, but is the women’s basketball team holds a special place in his heart.
“Just predominately women’s, but we love going. My dad comes. It all started, with a friend of mine, she lives in Winder. And she has a son with down syndrome, like myself, and he has this thing where it is hard for him to see and so they get the coolest seats ever. They have like the two rows from the court, and me and my parents and even my sister; we get the coolest seats over there. And we enjoy watching the game,” Doug Dawg said.
November 29 topped the charts as his favorite memory of going to the games. As a guest coach, Doug was a part of the staff throughout the entire day. There wasn’t an element that the team didn’t include him on.
“So I got there about … I saw the team shoot around, do some exercises. Then after that, we had a team meal. I got to eat lunch with the team and the coaches, and that was fun. Then after lunch, I went to help out one of the people who work with the head coach, her name was Katie Honeycutt, and so I was with her in her office stuffing things into envelopes. After that, I got my suit on, and I put my Georgia tie on, and then during this time, the head coach and all the coaching staff got together and talked about the game. I was back there like blending in and being a part of that. So after that, we went down into the tunnel and then it was game time. And I enjoyed the rest of the game. It was awesome,” Doug said.
And his day really started earlier than that as he helped Katy Honeycutt, UGA’s Director of Recruiting Operations and Player Development, in the office. Doug was also in charge of recording defensive rebounds and three-pointers during the matchup.
Team spirit is just what Doug has. He became Doug Dawg at work, and it has stuck. Doug currently works at Chick-fil-A at the Atlanta Highway and Beechwood locations in Athens, GA as the Dining Room Manager, where he assists the guests with anything they need. He has worked there for almost eight years.
“Doug was the first person to train me when I first came on here about a year ago. So a lot of times he and I are out here in the dining room helping guests. I continue to work side-by-side with Doug and enjoy every minute of it,” Alecia Flanders, a co-worker of Doug said.
At work, he is the go-to Georgia Bulldog guru. The store has a Facebook page that Doug comments on weekly. He does a weekly sports post that is all about UGA called the Doug Dawg Report.
“Doug is our Doug Dawg Report fan. SO if anyone has a question, “Doug what was the score” “what went on?” He is the first person to let us know whats going on. Not just football, it’s women’s basketball, but anything related to it Doug usually knows what’s going on. He is our biggest fan and all the guests that come in wearing Georgia clothes, always get a ‘Go Dawgs’ from Doug. Everyone that comes in loves it as well. It’s not just our team, but our guests as well enjoy it. So yea, Doug always lets us know what’s going on,” Flanders said.
So what is on these Reports that Doug does? He said, “I do my opinions on the games, and about what they should do to get ready for the next game coming up and just keep the fans motivated.”
The fellow journalist shared his thoughts on the Lady Dawgs and what he hopes for them to accomplish.
“I think they will do really good. I know they’ve already begun, but I think they can hang in there and make it into the March Madness for girls basketball. And hopefully keep on going and have a great time. I’ll keep on cheering as long as they keep winning, but it doesn’t matter if they lose or not because I am one of the biggest fans out there,” Doug Dawg said.
Doug Dawg is someone that all Georgia fans should love. He has the most team spirit of any fan I have had the opportunity to meet and is the epitome of what a fan should aspire to be. He is someone to look up to. Doug loves the Women’s basketball team win or lose and that is how it should be. I encourage my fellow Georgia fans to take the opportunity to go meet Doug and get a big “Go Dawgs!” from him. It’ll make your day. It made mine.