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King Charles was first British royal to attend UGA football game in 1977

Being 28-years-old at the time, the Prince of Wales visited Sanford Stadium in 1977.
Credit: University of Georgia

ATHENS, Ga. — With the worldwide news and mourning of the passing of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday, Prince Charles has been formally proclaimed the new king of Great Britain.

As the news about the new monarch circulates worldwide, the University of Georgia remembers the occasion in which Charles was the first member of the British royal family to attend a UGA football game at Sanford Stadium, all the way back on Oct. 22, 1977, in front of a capacity crowd of 59,200.

RELATED: Charles officially announced as king at royal ceremony

In a sit-down interview provided by the university's Russell Library did with then Head Coach Vince Dooley in 2017, the legendary football coach recounted the day that Charles visited Athens that season in a game versus Kentucky. 

He called the visit a great moment for the university and gave credit to Dean Rusk, the former Secretary of State under President John F. Kennedy and President Lyndon B. Johnson. Dooley said that Rusk became a member of UGA's law school and was a great supporter of Georgia football.

Dooley believed, because of his reputation, Rusk was able to convince the then prince to come to Athens. Out of all the places to visit, Dooley said a university would be an ideal place for Charles to visit to get the atmosphere of a college football Saturday. Dooley noted that among all the excitement from students and fans, there were also many security issues, as one might imagine.

Dooley, Kentucky head coach Fran Kersey and each team's captains had the opportunity to meet Prince Charles before the game. Dooley recalls presenting the prince with an autographed football.

"Our football team wasn't very excited, by that I mean we didn't play very well," Dooley joked. "So we got beat by Kentucky, so that part of it I'd like to forget. But you can't forget Prince Charles visiting Athens, Georgia, and coming to a football game."

Charles, who was 28 years old at the time, walked onto the field to a sold-out crowd chanting "Damn good prince!," in lieu of the iconic "Damn good dog" saying Georgia has, according to a Facebook post from the Georgia Bulldogs.

#TBT: The UGA v. UK game in 1977 where Prince Charles was in attendance (here he is with Vince Dooley and UGA President...

Posted by University of Georgia on Thursday, November 16, 2017

Charles was joined on the field by famous musician James Brown, who performed at halftime of the game. It was a star-studded day at Sanford Stadium.

Georgia lost the game 33-0, but the coaches, players and fans of the era will always remember the day that Prince Charles came to Athens.

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