Double swan song
Welsh, Donnan both exiting after Oahu Bowl
HONOLULU (AP) -- Aloha only means goodbye in the Oahu Bowl.
Virginia's George Welsh and Georgia's Jim Donnan are coaching in their final game Sunday with their respective programs.
Welsh decided to retire after 38 years in football because of health concerns. Donnan was fired after the Bulldogs failed to win the Southeastern conference title.
Players for both teams want nothing more for Christmas than a win for their departing coaches.
"Like us, they'll be very emotional," said Georgia quarterback Cory Phillips. "They'll want to go out with a win, just like we want for our coach."
No. 24 Georgia (7-4) is trying to win its fourth consecutive bowl, something the program has never accomplished.
The team started the season ranked No. 10 and won six of first seven games. They stumbled when quarterback Quincy Carter tore a ligament in his throwing hand and was out for the last month of the season. The team lost three of its last four games.
Georgia will start sophomore Phillips in the Christmas Eve kickoff.
"We're a different team when he's in there because he can't scramble the way Quincy can," Donnan said. "But he's a very good drop-back passer who is capable of making big plays."
Phillips appeared in nine games this year, throwing for 1,093 yards, eight touchdowns and six interceptions.
"We plan to enjoy ourselves while we're here, but we also came to win a football game," he said. "I'm looking forward to starting my first bowl game."
The Oahu Bowl will be the Georgia's third bowl matchup with Virginia (6-5) in six years.
The Cavaliers won 34-27 in the 1995 Peach Bowl, but the Bulldogs prevailed 35-33 in the same bowl in 1998.
Virginia has lost three straight bowl games since the victory in 1995, including a 63-21 defeat to Illinois in the MicronPC.com Bowl last season.
Nonetheless, Welsh couldn't be any more happier heading into Sunday.
"I can't think of a more beautiful place to coach my final game," said Welsh, who is ending an 18-year career at Virginia.
The 67 year old was offered an extension, but turned it down.
"It was time for me to go," Welsh said with a grin. "Most [coaches] get fired. I retired."
When Welsh took over the team in 1982, the Cavaliers had only two winning seasons in 30 years. He has transformed the program to a perennial bowl contender.
It is the 12th bowl appearance for the Cavaliers and the 10th in the last 12 years.
Both Virginia and Georgia use a balanced rushing and passing attack.
Virginia is led by running back Antwoine Womack who has rushed for 1,028 yards and nine touchdowns this season.
The Bulldogs' advantage is on defense, which is ranked 19th in the nation, giving up 313 yards per game. However, they will be without cornerback Tim Wansley, who led the SEC in interceptions this season. He will miss the game because he violated the school's attendance policy.
"Their defense is very talented. They're big. They run well and they tackle well," said Virginia quarterback Dan Ellis. "They don't blitz a whole lot. They don't line up in different fronts. They just line up and play football."
The players on both sides said they were anxiously waiting for the game. But they were not looking forward to seeing their coaches go.
"I think the whole state of Georgia is going to be very emotional when we get back," said Bulldogs leading receiver Terrence Edwards. "Even after the game, win or lose, it'll be very emotional in the locker room."