Four Honorees For Circle of Honor Named
The UGA Circle of Honor Class of 2021 — comprised of football All-American Randy Johnson, women’s basketball coach Andy Landers, NCAA champion swimmer Robert Margalis and softball All-American Kim Wendland — will gather for the first time to be recognized during the Georgia-Arkansas football game here this Saturday.
Johnson, Landers, Margalis and Wendland will be inducted formally during the Circle of Honor Gala on Friday, February 11, 2022 in the West End Zone complex of Sanford Stadium.
As a three-year starter on the offensive line, Johnson earned consensus All-America honors for the Bulldogs in 1975. That year, he was also voted the SEC’s Most Valuable Player among linemen by the Birmingham Quarterback Club; winner of the Jacobs Blocking Award, given each year to the league’s top blocker; and was named the Southeast Area Lineman of the Year by the Atlanta Touchdown Club.
The Rome, Ga., native played fullback and middle guard for Pepperell High School before coming to UGA in 1971. At Georgia, he quickly established himself as an outstanding blocker, as well as a leader among teammates. Said his coach, Vince Dooley: ”Of all the players I’ve had the privilege of coaching, no one was more of a naturally-gifted blocker than Randy Johnson. He naturally had all of the basic fundamentals to be a great blocker and All-American.”
Johnson won first-team All-SEC honors in both 1974 and 1975. As a senior he was elected offensive captain of a team that went 9-3 and earned a berth in the 1976 Cotton Bowl. The ’74 Bulldogs racked up 3,267 rushing yards, then the second-highest single-season output in UGA history.
Johnson earned his B.S. degree in Health and Physical Education from UGA in 1984.
In 36 seasons as the women’s basketball coach at Georgia, Andy Landers built an all-encompassing legacy that will be difficult for any successor to match.
The Maryville, Tenn., native was hired as UGA’s first full-time head coach in 1979 and quickly turned the program into a powerhouse. Georgia won the 1981 WNIT title. The Lady Bulldogs played in the first-ever NCAA Tournament in 1982 and advanced to the Final Four in 1983. Two years later, the Lady Bulldogs were NCAA runners-up.
By the time Landers retired from coaching in 2015, he had guided Lady Bulldog teams to 862 victories, becoming one of just seven coaches in NCAA Division I to have at least 850 wins at one school. By 2015, Georgia ranked second nationally in NCAA Tournament appearances (31) and weeks in the Associated Press weekly poll (522). In all, Georgia under Landers advanced to the “Sweet 16” 20 times, to the “Elite Eight” 11 times, to the Final Four five times, and finished as NCAA runner-up twice, in 1985 and 1996.
Landers was named National Coach of the Year four times, while his players were named National Player of the Year three times, National Freshman of the Year three times, National Defensive Player of the Year once, and 31 All-America honors. Equally impressive, all 67 of Landers’ four-year letter winners earned degrees from UGA.
Landers has already been inducted into the Halls of Fame for Women’s Basketball (2007) and the State of Georgia (2009). His induction into the Circle of Honor will place him into a small group of unique distinction. He will become just the sixth among all 83 inductees that are not UGA alumni. This group includes Dick Copas, men’s golf coach (inducted in 2006); Vince Dooley, head football coach and athletic director (inducted in 2004); Liz Murphey, women’s golf coach and senior women’s administrator (inducted in 2001); Steve Webber, baseball coach (inducted in 2018) and Suzanne Yoculan, women’s gymnastics coach (inducted in 2014).
Robert Margalis made his mark as one of the finest distance swimmers in UGA’s proud history, earning a slew of accolades from 2002-05. However, he saved his best single performance as a Bulldog for perhaps the sport’s most difficult event: the 400 Individual Medley.
As a sophomore, Margalis won the 2003 NCAA Championship in the 400 IM. At the time, just three previous Bulldogs had won individual national titles in men’s swimming. His winning time of 3:39.92 stood as the UGA record for 11 years before Olympian Chase Kalisz bettered the mark at the 2014 NCAA meet.
Margalis eventually earned 16 All-America citations in his Georgia career. He won Southeastern Conference titles in the 1,650-yard freestyle in 2002 and the 500-yard freestyle in 2003, after which he was also named SEC Swimmer of the Year. The Clearwater, Fla., native also won or shared the Reid Patterson Team MVP award in all four of his years as a Bulldog.
Margalis earned his B.S. degree in Consumer Economics from UGA in 2004.
A native of Rock Island, Ill., Kim Wendland was one of the first great players in UGA softball history. A three-year teammate of fellow Circle of Honor inductee Nicole Barber, the duo helped turn Georgia from an ascendant program to the national fixture it is today.
Wendland won All-America honors in each of her last three years as a Bulldog (2003-05). She remains one of just four players in UGA history to earn such an honor three times. She’s also the only player in program history to earn two outstanding honors: SEC Player of the Year and first-team All-SEC four consecutive years.
Sixteen years after her UGA career, Wendland’s 313 career hits, 233 runs batted in, and 64 doubles still rank among the top five in school history. Her 1,403 putouts at first base rank second in program history. As a freshman in 2002, Wendland helped lead Georgia to its first-ever NCAA Regional. The Bulldogs have now played in 19 consecutive NCAA Championships.
Wendland earned her B.S. degree in Child and Family Development from UGA in 2004.
MBB: SEC Schedule With Tip Times, TV
Stegeman Coliseum will be busy on Saturday afternoons this winter. Four of the Georgia Bulldogs’ five home weekend SEC games will be matinee matchups, with game time for the fifth date still to be determined.
The Southeastern Conference announced the game times and television assignments for all 14 league schools for the upcoming season on Thursday. Tip-off times and TV designations for Georgia’s non-conference games in November and December are yet to be finalized.
Four of the Bulldogs’ home dates will appear on the ESPN family of networks, while the other five will air on the SEC Network.
Georgia’s Saturday games against Auburn on Feb. 5, South Carolina on Feb. 12, and Ole Miss on Feb. 19 all will tip at 1:00 p.m. on the SEC Network. A Feb. 28 date with Florida will begin at either noon or 4:00 p.m. and be televised on either ESPN or ESPN2. The Bulldogs’ other weekend contest at Stageman versus Vanderbilt on ESPNU on Jan. 15 is the one game time still listed as “TBD.”
Georgia opens league action against Texas A&M at 7:00 p.m. on ESPNU on Tuesday, Jan. 4. The remaining weeknight home games times include another 7:00 p.m. outing against Arkansas on ESPN2 or ESPNU on Wednesday, Feb. 2, and a pair of 6:30 p.m. Tuesday night SEC Network matchups against Alabama on Jan. 25 and Tennessee on March 1.
The Bulldogs will begin their fourth season under head coach Tom Crean against Florida International on Tuesday, Nov. 9 at Stegeman Coliseum. That contest is the first of 19 home games for Georgia during the 2021-22 season.
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