January 7, 2008

Replay: Trav Paine

Paine delivered the big play against Florida in 1969. Football players, like fans, remember the high levels of frustration as well as those moments of glory, like in the 1969 Florida game when the Gators came out with a 13-13 tie.

Ties are always frustrating for at least one of the teams, but with the Georgia contingent it was the way in which it came about that rankled everybody. Florida misses a field goal and the Bulldogs win. But wait, just before the kick -- right about the time of the snap -- the official deep behind the defense blows his whistle. The play is nullified. Florida gets a second chance. With that reprieve, the kicker comes through, makes the kick and a game that Florida had seemingly lost, suddenly had a different outcome. The Gators didn't win, but they didn't lose.

Later it was revealed that the official's latent whistle was prompted by too many spectators crowding on the field, one of whom was the governor of Florida.

Those are frustrating memories that die hard, but on the bright side, Bulldog fans remember the big scrimmage play of the game was the 46-yard scamper in the third quarter by tailback Trav Paine, which put Georgia ahead 13-10.

"It was a draw play, and I ran right by a sophomore tackle named Jack Youngblood who had had a lot to say during the game," Paine laughs. "It was quite satisfying to come up with a big play in that situation, but to be truthful, the play went all the way because Steve Tannen, Florida's all-conference safety went the wrong way, and when he tried to recover, he fell down. If he had maintained his footing, the play probably wouldn't have resulted in a touchdown."

This was a season which started favorbly, the Bulldogs getting off to a 5-1 start, but many things soured later. For the first time in six years, Georgia Tech won the big game, but by that time Georgia had accepted an invitation to play in the Sun Bowl. The Sun Bowl committee, unbeknownst to anyone in Athens, extended an invitation to Big Eight powerhouse Nebraska. The Cornhuskers defeated Georgia handily en route to a pair of national titles.

The disappointment at the end of the '69 season was a troubled time in Paine's life which he will never forget. Georgia, which had brought a new enthusiasm to the SEC under its new coaching staff in 1964, suddenly lacked leadership and the players lost their togetherness and commitment.

For Paine, it was the end of the line, a bitter disappointment but he could look back and count the spoils of three bowl watches and a championship ring. Football had paid for his undergraduate education, and he was faced with the decision of returning for a fifth year of football or entering law school on schedule. Thinking about the future and the importance of getting an immediate start in law school, Paine opted to put on his coat and tie instead of shoulder pads and head to the law library rather than the practice field.

"It was a tough decision," he says, "but I think the right decision." He was not tired of football, but he was dismayed with the bad finish. Nonetheless he felt the coaches would turn things around which they did, but if you expect to become a lawyer, you can't dilly-dally with your decisions.

Paine never lost his affection for football and has become one Georgia's most devoted fans. His law practice, in Augusta, is doing well enough to where he particularly enjoys seasons like 1992. He and his entire family (wife, Kate, daughter Charlsie and son Travers IV), traveled to every game, home and away except for Arkansas, but he and his son made it to Fayetteville.

"Once you have played football, you don't choose to get away from the game," he says. "You have to adjust to following the team in the stands after you have been down on the field, but enjoy being with your family and friends. I'll always appreciate what my scholarship meant to me, and I'll always appreciate my Georgia experience. Years later, I can fully understand just how much my football experience means. To have gone to the state university and practice law in the state means that you have a considerable advantage when it comes to contacts and business relationships. To have played football for the state university adds to and enhances those relationships.

"Every year somebody reminds me about that run in Jacksonville. It is nice to be remembered. It is nice to have a part of the history of a great rivalry."

But as he speaks of his appreciation for his big moment in the Georgia-Florida matchup, he says he is becoming more and more disturbed about attitudes in Jacksonville.

"The game has taken on an edge which I don't think is good for the two institutions. The tension and the emotion in the Gator Bowl each year is potentially dangerous. We should remember that we are there to support our teams, win or lose and we can't afford to let things get out of hand. The potential for somebody to get hurt in the stands is very real now. We should move to diffuse that situation immediately."

Above article reprinted from Bulldog Football, October 30, 1993.

Travers W. Paine, III. - Today

After graduating from Richmond Academy in Augusta, Travers W. Paine, III. received his BBA and JD degrees from the University of Georgia in 1970 and 1973, respectively. Travers has practiced law in Augusta for more than 32 years, specializing primarily on transactional work and also serving as bond counsel. He has extensive experience in the development and/or financing of commercial real estate transactions and health care projects, as well as involvement in the development of a financial institution. Mr. Paine has served as Chairman of the Bank Counsel Section of the Georgia Bankers Association, and he served for 14 years as a member of the Board of Governors of the State Bar of Georgia. He has been active in civic, business and professional organizations for many years, and has served as a member of the board of directors of numerous non-profit organizations and closely held companies.

Mr. Paine and his wife, Kate, are Benefactors in the President's Club for the University of Georgia Foundation.

46 Yard Touch Down by Trav Paine (#31) - 1969 Georgia and Florida game


Trav Paine's Touchdown in 1983 Coors television commercial