Known as the “Little Round Man,” Butts was born in Milledgeville and earned scholarships in three sports at Mercer University. Butts became the University of Georgia’s head football coach in 1939. Over 22 seasons he led the Bulldogs to 140 wins, four SEC titles, and four major bowl victories, including wins in the Orange and Rose Bowls.
Back then, most teams ran the ball. Butts liked to pass and his innovations helped change the game. An SEC Coach of the Year three times, Butts’ otherwise stellar career was marred by scandal: in 1963 the Saturday Evening Post accused Butts and Alabama coach Bear Bryant of fixing the 1962 Bama-Georgia game, which Alabama won 35-0. Though Butts won a libel suit, his damaged reputation ended his career.
Twenty-four years after his death, Butts was elected into the College Football Hall of Fame. The man who put UGA football on the national map was born on February 7, 1905, Today in Georgia History.