Where are they now?
Curtis Beall (BSA '47)
Each year at the annual homecoming game, Curtis Beall runs out onto the field with his fellow UGA alumni. He'd prefer to be doing back flips off of the cheerleader's trampoline, but his requests have been denied. Nonetheless, he is proudly robed in his original cheer sweater, now in its 66th year.
It still fits, but it's snug, he says.
At 86, Beall is UGA's oldest living male cheerleader.
He was elected to cheer for UGA in 1941, after spending a year at Middle Georgia College playing basketball. At that time, the student body voted for cheerleaders instead of having them audition.
The November 1942 cover of The Georgia Agriculturist shows cheerleaders Kathryn Rice and "Coot" Beall chasing down a couple of gobblers.
"I couldn't make it now," he says. "You have to be a gymnast to make the team now."
Beall cheered on the Bulldogs from home in 1943 when they beat UCLA in the Rose Bowl. Then, cheerleaders weren't required to attend away games and had to provide their own transportation if they did. He missed other games in 1944 and 1945 when he was serving a tour in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II.
But he was able to make it to most of the games when he was on campus. "If you'd put on that uniform, you'd have no trouble getting a ride," he says.
He has made up for the missed games in the past 50 years by traveling from his home in Dublin to Sanford Stadium for each homecoming game and several other games a season.
At 86, he practices back flips off of a diving board into his backyard swimming pool, manages a timber farm and has his own pine straw business. He reads constantly, tends to his garden, catches and cooks catfish from his pond, makes blueberry wine, works in his workshop and sings in the church choir. Each summer, he attends classes at the John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina, learning about blacksmithing, chair caning, Appalachian cooking, making white oak baskets from the tree and weaving pine needle baskets.
"I'm 86, and if I stay busy I stay out of trouble," he explains.
Beall recently wrote his autobiography, Memoirs of a Marine Dawg: From Rose Bowl to Pacific Theater, recounting his youth in the small railroad town of Brewton, attending college in the 40s, romancing a college beauty queen—his wife June (BSHE '45), who died in February—and his war and postwar experiences.
Net proceeds from the book will be donated to "Cheers," the booster club for the UGA cheerleading squad. Beall already has donated more than $10,000 to the organization from book sales. It's his way of giving back to the team—and maybe he's still hoping some day they'll let him do that back flip onto the field.
Memoirs of a Marine Dawg: From Rose Bowl to Pacific Theater
Indigo Custom Publishing, 2006
by Curtis Beall (BSA ’47)