Belue finds success in many ways

sports@macon.comFebruary 11, 2013 

Buck Belue is an important name in Georgia Bulldogs football history. His 93-yard touchdown pass to Lindsay Scott in the waning minutes to beat the Florida Gators 26-21 in 1980 propelled the Bulldogs to their most recent national championship. That play is considered by many to be the most famous in Georgia annals.

Belue had other great moments, as well. I remember vividly him bringing Georgia back from a 20-point deficit to beat Georgia Tech 29-28 during his freshman season. He connected with Amp Arnold on a 43-yard touchdown pass on a fourth-and-3 situation to put the Red and Black to within one at 28-27, and then Arnold scored on a toss sweep after the Yellow Jackets were charged with pass interference on Georgia’s first conversion attempt, which failed.

Those plays against Florida and Tech helped Belue earn a spot in the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame. He will be inducted Feb. 23 along with Georgia gymnast Heather Stepp McCormick, Georgia Tech and NFL standout Reggie Wilkes, longtime Crawford County basketball coach J.B. Hawkins and Atlanta Braves broadcaster Skip Caray. Hawkins and Caray are being honored posthumously.

Belue was a two-time All-SEC first team quarterback, as well as the SEC’s athlete of the year in 1982. In 30 games as Georgia’s starting quarterback, the Bulldogs went 27-3. He captained Georgia’s 1981 SEC championship team.

While Belue grew up in Valdosta and was a standout high school performer at Valdosta High School, where he is the only quarterback to start for the Wildcats four consecutive years, he has ties to Macon. He was born Benjamin Franklin Belue III and got his nickname “Buck” in honor of longtime Lanier football coach Selby Buck. Belue’s father, Ben, grew up in Macon and played for the Poets legend. He was an offensive lineman in football and also was a pitcher on the school’s baseball team. He died last March.

Buck may have been a better baseball player than football. He lettered for Georgia in that sport four years, making all conference as a freshman and senior, and finished with a career batting average of .356. During his senior season, he led the SEC with a .447 batting average. As a sixth-round draft choice, he went on to play in the Montreal Expos organization for three seasons. Following his professional baseball career, he played quarterback for the Jacksonville Bulls in the USFL until that league folded.

Belue went on to a two-year coaching stint at Valdosta State on Mike Cavan’s Staff. He served as the Blazers’ passing game coordinator while coaching the quarterbacks and wide receivers.

His career plan all along was to get into the radio and television business, and, in 1994, he was hired as sports director at WJCL-TV in Savannah and spent five years as anchor of the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts. That’s also where he met his wife, Kelley, and they now have three children -- Audrey, 8, Braden, 7, and Rhett, 3.The UGA communications major’s next stop was the competitive Atlanta talk radio market, where he teamed up with John Kincade on WCNN-AM (“680 The Fan”) in 2000 to form “The Buck and Kincade Show,” which is still going strong every afternoon some 13 years later.

The Georgia Sports Hall of Fame is the not the first honor of its kind for Belue, but it is his biggest. He was inducted into the Georgia-Florida Hall in 1996, the Valdosta High School Hall of Fame in 2007 and the East-West Shrine Game Hall in 2011.

Contact Bobby Pope at bobbypope428@gmail.com

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