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Legendary UGA Tennis Coach Dan Magill Dies

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Dan Magill, the longtime UGA tennis coach, died overnight at the age of 93 after several years of declining health.

Magill was the first baby ever born at Athens Regional Medical Center, was a bat boy for the UGA baseball team in grade school and managed the tennis courts as a teenager. By the 1950s, he was simultaneously sports information director, head of the Bulldog Club and men’s tennis coach, a post he intended to hold for just a year but stuck with for 34.

As UGA’s sports information director, he was known for bestowing quirky nicknames on Georgia’s star players. When the Bulldogs signed a German kicker in the late 1960s, Magill christened him “The Bootin’ Teuton.” He made running back Jimmy Poulos “The Greek Streak,” kicker Bobby Walden “The Big Toe from Cairo,” and, of course, he was responsible for “Herschel Walker Goal-Line Stalker.”

For decades, Magill took special care of sports writers and broadcasters, making sure they were aware of every fact and detail regarding his Bulldogs. In the old days he allegedly even went as far as writing the stories of certain scribes that may have had a little too much “spirit” before games.

Magill’s tennis teams won 13 SEC titles and two national championships before he retired in 1988. He was assistant athletic director for another seven years.

He built what became known as the “mecca” of tennis, regularly hosting the NCAA championships, with some help from his famous friends.

Country hitmaker Kenny Rogers and home run king Hank Aaron showed up to play celebrity doubles.

Magill had photos of actress Kim Basinger near his desk from the dedication of the lights she gave. She sold sodas at tennis matches before she became famous.

The facility was named after him in 1993.

Magill didn’t slow down after retiring, running the Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame on campus, writing newspaper columns, serving as an unofficial historian and playing doubles tennis until two years ago.

He told his life story to UGA’s Fran Lane in 2006. Text and video are here.