McWhorter’s legacy grows with Georgia High School Football Hall of Fame Induction

The University of Georgia football team is tagged as the oldest in the deep south yet that didn’t translate to early success. After a historically poor season that saw the Dawgs go 1-4-2 in 1909, UGA needed a change and a big one to turn the program around. After years of a revolving door of players and coaches, Bob McWhorter blessed the field and team with his talent and star power.

McWhorter was a star athlete in both baseball and football at Gordon Military College in Barnesville, Georgia. In the Spring of 1909, Gordon competed in a one-game series against UGA and won in dominating fashion, 11-0. Soon thereafter Gordon’s baseball coach, W. Alex Cunningham would be hired by UGA to be both the football and baseball coach for the upcoming year. Cunningham took plenty of his talented athletes to UGA with him where he would turn the tide in the athletic programs in Athens.

In his first game at UGA in 1909, McWhorter rushed for 5 touchdowns in a beatdown of Locust Grove College 101-0. Playing both sides of the ball, all season long the Bulldogs completed the season with a 6-2-1 record, a far cry from a season ago. McWhorter helped break a five-year streak of losses to in-state rival Georgia Tech en route to a 20-touchdown season in his freshman year.

McWhorter would be the first in a long line of great UGA running backs. After two one-loss, one-tie seasons, Georgia would finally get the national recognition they deserved. These seasons for Georgia were highlighted by big plays and large blowouts against most of the competition they faced.

Georgia kicked things off in 1913 with a 108-0 win over Alabama Presbyterian as senior captain Bob McWhorter had 6 runs of 50+ yards, accounting for over 300 rushing yards and six touchdowns. He would finish the season with 14 total touchdowns and a nomination to the All-America team, which for players in the south was quite rare at this time.

 Because most of the national media was comprised of members in the northeast and Midwest, the south generally didn’t receive much recognition nationally. Many from the south around this time would remember McWhorter as one of the greatest running backs in football history.

He completed his UGA football tenure with 61 touchdowns, nine more than fellow All-American and Heisman trophy winner Herschel Walker. McWhorter had options to play professional baseball but turned it down to study law at the University of Virginia.  He returned to UGA and was a professor of law from 1923-1958.

Bob McWhorter was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1954. He passed away in Athens in June of 1960 but would later be inducted into the State of Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 1964 and the UGA Circle of Honor in 1996.

Of course his last honor would come this year with his induction into the Georgia High School Football Hall of Fame as the earliest graduate of the inaugural class (1908).



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