Dick Copas Obituary, Death – Dick Copas, the long-time men’s golf coach at the University of Georgia, died Thursday, November 17, 2022, at age 88, after a long illness. Copas led the Bulldogs to 17 NCAA Championship appearances, including 10 top-10 finishes, during his 25-year tenure as head coach. Copas’ Bulldogs finished second at the NCAAs in 1978, the program’s best finish at the time. Copas led the Bulldogs to seven Southeastern Conference championships.
Copas did not wear more hats at Georgia than anyone else, but he did them all well. Copas arrived in Athens in 1964 as the Bulldogs’ rookie head football coach, Vince Dooley’s, head trainer. Copas took on the roles of academic counselor and athletic dorm supervisor over the next few years, which meant he spent a lot of time with impressionable student-athletes in a variety of settings. Following Georgia’s football victory over Florida, Copas was presented with a game ball, with one player saying, “He never gets the credit he deserves, but I don’t know of anyone who isn’t a friend of Mr. Copas.”
Copas took over as Georgia’s golf coach in 1970, succeeding Howell Hollis after 25 years in charge. Dooley, Georgia’s Athletic Director since 1979, said, “Dick followed a legendary golf coach, but he created his own legend.” Copas’ Bulldogs were named All-American 31 times and All-SEC 61 times. Danny Yates, Chip Beck, Peter Persons, Griff Moody, Matt Peterson, Paul Claxton, and Franklin Langham are among the most decorated players in high school and college history. Seventeen of his former students have gone on to play on the PGA Tour.
Copas was named National Coach of the Year in 1978 and SEC Coach of the Year seven times. He was inducted into the Golf Coaches Association of America Hall of Fame in 1994. Copas was named the Bulldogs’ most valuable golf player. Every year, the Athletic Association honors Copas with a leadership award. He stepped down as Bulldogs coach at the end of the 1996 season, and his legacy at Georgia was cemented in 1998 when he was named the Athletic Association’s Employee of the Year. In 2006, he was inducted into the UGA Circle of Honor. At a later date, a private family-only service will be held.