ATHENS - After a long wait, Russ received the promotion to Uga IX on Saturday night.
Russ has served off and on as the interim mascot since 2009, first after the untimely death of Uga VII, and then after the early passing of Uga VIII. It was announced two weeks ago that Russ would finally get the full-time role, after initial resistance because he is eight years old.
Just prior to kickoff, the collaring ceremony was performed: Russ was brought out on a golf cart, where at midfield he was greeted by UGA president Michael Adams. The crowd let out a big cheer as the cart made its way out of the tunnel.
Adams put the collar on Russ - now officially Uga IX - and then the president pumped his fist. It was official.
The dog was then led on his leash to his dog house, scampering along the way, and a horde of photographers surrounded his dog house. They left by kickoff.
Russ, or Uga IX, is the half-brother of Uga VII. This will be the 24th game that he has served as the mascot, but the first one as an official Uga.