JOEL HUNT COACHED ONLY ONE MEDIOCRE season at Georgia, in 1938, but his legacy was bringing Wally Butts to the program as an assistant. Butts became head coach in '39 and soon built Georgia into the team to beat in the SEC in the '40s. Butts was an early advocate of the passing game. In 1941 he handed Frank Sinkwich (right) the starting halfback job, and the Bulldogs were off. Georgia finished the regular season at 9-1-1 and went to its first bowl, defeating Texas Christian 40-26 in the Orange Bowl.
The Bulldogs started the 1942 season 9-0, before losing to Auburn in late November. But Georgia bounced back to hammer unbeaten Georgia Tech 34-0 in the finale and win the SEC. The Bulldogs earned an invite to the Rose Bowl, where they shut down UCLA 9-0, and were named consensus national champion. World War II broke up that '42 team, and Georgia slumped the next two seasons. With the end of the war the Bulldogs rebounded in '45 to a 9-2 record and defeated Tulsa in the Oil Bowl.
The 1946 squad, though, was perhaps the most successful of Butts's career. Led by tailback Charley Trippi, the Bulldogs finished 11-0, and won the SEC title and the top spot in one national ranking. Butts and the Dawgs won the league championship again in '48.
The Bulldogs finished the decade with six bowl appearances, three SEC championships and a national title. Butts ended his coaching career in 1960 with 140 victories, second only to Vince Dooley's 201 in Georgia history.
PLAYER OF THE DECADE
HONORS: HEISMAN TROPHY ('42), COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME ('54)
In 1942 Frank Sinkwich became the first player from the Southeastern Conference to win the Heisman Trophy. That season Sinkwich led Georgia to an SEC title, a Rose Bowl victory and a national championship.
Born in McKees Rock, Pa., Sinkwich was a multitalented athlete who played for the Bulldogs from 1940 to '42 and was a two-time All-America. As a sophomore Sinkwich was used sparingly (freshmen were not eligible for the varsity), yet still rushed for five touchdowns and passed for six more. In '41 he rushed for 1,103 yards, an SEC record that stood until '48. In the '41 Orange Bowl, Sinkwich ran for 139 yards, passed for another 243 yards and scored three touchdowns in a 40-26 win over Texas Christian.
After finishing fourth in the Heisman voting in '41, Sinkwich left nothing to chance in '42. Named captain by coach Wally Butts, Sinkwich rushed for 795 yards, passed for 1,392 yards and accounted for 27 touchdowns—17 rushing and 10 passing. But it was his performance in the Rose Bowl that truly showed how far ahead of the competition he was. Playing on two sprained ankles, Sinkwich rang in the New Year by scoring the game's only touchdown in Georgia's 9-0 victory over UCLA.