Book value

BELUE BOOK VALUE: Championship-winning Georgia QB signs books at Marshside Grill | local sports

Georgia’s national championship-winning quarterback traveled to the Golden Isles last Thursday to greet fans and share a memoir chronicling his path to a title.

It was not the postman, but the man who delivered the university its first championship 42 years ago: Buck Belue.

Belue spent a few hours at the Marshside Grill, where his autobiography ‘Inside the Hedges: The Quarterback’s Journey to the 1980 Championship’ was the hottest item on the Bulldogs menu.

“We just know there are so many big Bulldog fans in this area, St. Simons, Jekyll and Brunswick,” Belue said. “So many friends are located here and live here, so it was kind of selfish to want to come and hang out here where it’s really good to live.

“I receive old friends and I sign a few books; it’s been a good night.

Belue was a two-sport star during his time at Georgia, scoring in baseball all four years and compiling a career batting average of .356 in addition to his exploits on the gridline, where he passed for 3,864 yards and 32 touchdowns in as a Bulldog.

The trigger for the iconic 93-yard touchdown pass to Lindsay Scott that defeated Florida in that magical 1980 season, Belue has earned his own immortal place among Georgia lore.

So, it was a unique experience for Belue to see his alma business break through for the first time without him in the field.

“It was wonderful,” Belue said. “It brought back a lot of good memories. There were a lot of great players in this team this year. It was easy to encourage them.

However, the championship also created a dilemma for Belue, who had been working on a book for 30 years detailing Georgia’s first national title.

Ahead of the 2021 season, Belue felt particularly emboldened to push forward and complete the task, but once the Bulldogs broke the trivia streak, he began to wonder if there would still be a market. for the first championship.

“After winning the national championship, I had friends saying, ‘Belue, this is a terrible moment. They’re going to read about the new team, not the 1980 team,” Belue said. “Then some of the other teammates said it was really going to help you. I think it really does. The Bulldog Nation is just a special, very passionate fan base.

“They do a great job of supporting the players and making them feel loved, so I felt really confident that it was going to be a boost for us, breaking the book with them winning the title last season.”

Belue even got some encouragement from Glynn County’s own prodigal son, Adam Wainwright, when he told the St. Louis Cardinals pitcher he wouldn’t be in town for the series in Atlanta last week.

“I just spoke with Adam Wainwright a few days ago; I said, ‘I’m on vacation, I’m going to miss you in Atlanta, but we’re going to be in St. Simons signing books,’” Beleue said. “And he said, ‘Man, these Bulldog fans are going to get big. It’s always great to be here.

Wainwright proved correct as fans turned out in droves to support Belue in his new venture.

Part of the book focuses on Belue’s upbringing at Valdosta, where he played for legendary coach Nick Hyder, becoming the only quarterback to start four years at the nation’s winningest high school.

Belue goes on to recount Georgia’s perfect 12-0 season that culminated in a New Year’s Eve win over Notre Dame in the 1981 Sugar Bowl.

Although Belue didn’t have the chance to personally welcome homegrown Jack Podlesny and Warren McClendon to the exclusive club of football players who took Georgia to a national championship, he already knew full well where the of them.

“One of my all-time favorite Georgia teammates was Willie McClendon, who was from Glynn Academy,” Belue said. “I love him and his family – his son is one of the assistant coaches now. We are proud of the McClendons. They have a big name here in Brunswick.

“It feels good to be where they’re from and to think about those guys.”