Gordon S. Varnedoe - 2013
Gordon S. Varnedoe is an unmistakable and inimitable figure whose distinctive style and innovative perspective led to a life of firsts that have had a lasting impact on sports in his hometown of Savannah. Nicknamed “Batman” for his fervent belief in truth, justice and the American moment, Gordon’s own athletic heroics included walking on to the University of Georgia’s football team in 1960, wrestling as a heavyweight on UGA’s first wrestling squad, record setting Masters weightlifting performances as well as a distinguished rugby career that spanned more than 40 years and carried him to compete throughout the U.S. and overseas. He defied age and convention over and over again by continuing to compete on the pitch and in the gym, but his considerable athletic prowess and longevity was outweighed by his vision and leadership. He gave freely of his time, resources and energy to support sports in Savannah. He founded the Savannah Scottish Games that continues to honor Scottish heritage each year in Savannah through traditional Scottish athletic competitions and demonstrations, and he was instrumental in the development of the Savannah Shamrocks Rugby Tournament that has become a cornerstone of Savannah’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Gordon Varnedoe made a permanent impression on Savannah sports by embracing every opportunity to compete, never declining to accept a challenge and refusing to dream small.