Georgia Bulldog super-fan Mike “Big Dawg” Woods passed away Wednesday night at the age of 65 years old.
One of the most consistent faces in the bleachers of Sanford Stadium and other venues where Georgia football has played in the last 30 years was Mike “Big Dawg” Woods.
Woods didn’t just frequent Sanford Stadium either. He also attended many basketball games in Stegman Colosseum and could likely be found in the spring in Foley Field watching the baseball team play. He may have been known as a Georgia football fan, but his love for UGA athletics spread throughout every sport.
But Woods wasn’t just known for attending games, he was also known for his game day attire. Every game Woods wore black overalls covered in various Georgia pins. But the flashiest part of his get-up was the bulldog painted on top of his bald head the morning of every game.
But that’s just what fans seeing his photo’s in the newspaper or images on TV during broadcasts of Georgia games knew about Woods. The fans who had the privilege to meet Woods describe him as one of the nicest fans and having a genuine love for everything about the Georgia Bulldogs.
But then there’s that third side to Woods and that’s his family. For 25 years, the one who painted the Bulldog on his head was his wife Dianne. Originally the Bulldog was painted by a UGA art student, but after one backed out the day of a game against Florida, Woods let his wife paint the Bulldog despite not having any prior painting experience. But she won the job that day.
However, Woods wasn’t even the first in his family to wear the Bulldog. His father Lonnie Woods Sr. began the tradition and Mike Woods continued it after his fathers passing in 1987.
The tradition was born in 1980 when Georgia won the National title. Lonnie Woods, who drove the defensive team bus, promised that team that if they made it to the Sugar Bowl that he would paint have a Bulldog painted on his head. That team went 11-0 and Lonnie Woods had a Bulldog painted on his head to go with his red coat and black tie. That was Lonnie’s game day attire from then on out.
More from Dawn of the Dawg
- Georgia Football: Top 5 Nick Chubb Moments at Georgia
- Georgia Football: Know the enemy UAB Blazers
- Nick Chubb is America’s running back, and he will return
- Georgia Football: Should laundry list of injuries be a cause to panic?
- Georgia Football: Report cards for Week 3 game against South Carolina
And that’s the three sides to Woods. One side was what you saw on TV and in pictures of this fan who went all-out with his game day attire on Saturday’s.
The second was what those who met him saw; this man with a love for not just the game but for his fellow Georgia fans and the university.
And lastly is the family side; the Mike Woods who continued a tradition started by his father in 1980 but had his very own wife be the one to paint the Bulldog.
For almost three decades, fans instinctively looked for a glimpse of Woods as they walked to Sanford Stadium through all the other tailgaters and then as they began to go to their seats they continued to look.
They did that because his love and passion for the Georgia Bulldogs is contagious and they wanted a little bit of that to flow to them on game day. The Bulldog Nation lost one of their best and Mike “Big Dawg” Woods will be greatly missed by the Bulldog faithful.
Mike Woods now joins his father Lonnie, probably with a Bulldog painted permanently on both their heads watching the Bulldogs from above.