CBS Atlanta Sports Special: Breaking the Dawgs - - The News for South Mississippi

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CBS Atlanta Sports Special: Breaking the Dawgs


Arguably the best regular season party of any sport, the Georgia vs. Florida game in Jacksonville is a highlight of the year!

The big game had a much different look not long ago, thanks to a group of brave and forward-thinking young men.

In 1971, the nation was trying to emerge and define itself after the civil rights fight of the 60s.

Nationwide, professional and collegiate sports teams had been integrated for years, but change was finally coming to the Southeastern Conference and to Georgia.

Vince Dooley was the head football coach at the University of Georgia at that time.

"It was certainly past time, to be sure. Every school in the conference now saw that that was the next move. It had to happen," said Dooley. "We signed five fine young men – fine football players - who made a contribution during a period that could have been tough."

And those five laid the foundation to create the look of Georgia football teams we root for today.

Horace King, Clarence Pope, Richard Appleby, Chuck Kinnebrew and Larry West were all tabbed by Dooley to become Bulldog pioneers.

"You don't think about being a pioneer when you're 19 years old," said King. "I think there was some vision there to bring a group in versus trying to do it with one person. I think that was a good move."

"We grew up in an area where we had good family support. Mom, dad there and good wholesome family," said Pope. "We had great support in our community, so we knew we would be alright. No matter what come, I mean, we were at home."

King, Pope and Appleby had another kind of training – all were Athens natives who had gone through the painful experience of integrating high schools.

"To bring about that change, of combining a black high school with a white high school, we was fighting over everything – school colors, school name," said King.

"I think that probably did more for integration – these little football towns – than anything else that could have possibly happened. So it evolved right up to the college level," said Dooley.

King had the greatest football success – an All-SEC pick who went to play eight years with the NFL's Detroit Lions.

Proud to be a Bulldog, it took time to "feel" like one.

"I remember scoring my first touchdown and making the statement, 'I'm glad I helped them win.' After seeing that in the paper, who is 'them'? I was part of 'them' now," said King.

"It was never a situation where I wouldn't want to go over here, because when we were there, it was just fun. I saw the excitement and I wanted to be a part of it," said Pope.

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