Temporary Georgia mascot, Russ, died early Wednesday morning after being struck by a car driven by Georgia head coach Mark Richt. The accident occurred on-campus around 6 a.m. Russ was on his morning walk with his handler, Jennie Hickson, when the leash slipped from her hand and Russ ran into the street as Richt was driving by. The Georgia head coach was distracted while he was driving after he did that thing where you're holding a cup of coffee and you look at your watch and spill coffee on yourself. There were no other witnesses at the scene.
However, after the accident happened, Richt butt-dialed a recruit who heard a frantic Richt on the other end. "I'm getting ready for school and my phone rings and I see it's Coach Richt and I'm like 'I just talked to this dude before I went to bed, now he's calling me first thing in the morning?" said recruit Keith Marshall. "So I answer the phone and hear him like panicking. I heard him say something like, 'Let's just dispose of the body and get a new dog. No one will know the difference.' I was like 'Whoa!' I hung up because I heard too much."
Richt would not comment on the details of what happened, but said he was deeply sorry and that this is a sad time for everyone in the Georgia family. The NCAA is looking into Richt's phone call to Marshall, a possible secondary violation.
"This is completely my fault,' said a distraught Hickson. "I don't know how the leash slipped out of my hand. He was such a good dog. I can only take solace in the fact that he's in a better place now and no longer has to watch Georgia football."
Georgia's UAA released a statement saying the accident was unfortunate and that Russ was an exemplary mascot and will be missed. The Bulldogs will honor Russ by wearing all black uniforms and lying down and playing dead for 60 minutes on Saturday vs. Florida.