Rumor has it that his first sounds resembled an English Bulldog bark and at six months his first words were “Go Dogs!” From that point on, there was no doubt that Jeff Dantzler was born to be Bulldog. It didn’t take him long, however, to discover that he would not be the next Herschel Walker. Or Dominique Wilkins. Or Mikael Pernfors. Well, no one will ever compare to “The Greatest Bulldog Ever” or “The Greatest College Football Announcer Ever,” but it has long been his dream to follow in their footsteps when it comes to the love of his life. And, like many Georgia fans, when you really break it down, outside of his family, he’s never loved anything or anyone longer than he’s loved the Dogs.
All of his close friends came after, as did all the girls he’s loved before. He developed a major crush on the Bulldogs as a six year old when Georgia came back to beat Tech 29-28 between the hedges in 1978. That became a full-fledged love affair when Herschel Walker impaled Bill Bates that fateful night of September the 6th, 1980, culminating with the national championship. To this day, January 1, 1981 remains the greatest of his life. He was eight. Through the years, Georgia has been the unwavering love. “Oh yes, there have been numerous heartbreaks,” he says. “And every year since 1980, that annual worst of the year, the first loss of the season.” He feels his life in many ways has been a dream come true.
As a true freshman out of Statesboro, Georgia, he began working for one of his mentors in the Bulldogs sports information department. Claude Felton, the greatest sports information director in the country took him under his wing. And then coach Magill did. As a very young man, he was amongst Georgia royalty. Since the 1993-94 season (with the exception of 2014 when he was in Russia), he has served as the play-by-play voice of the championship Lady Bulldog basketball team, working closely with the legendary Andy Landers, who gave him his first shot and has become a great friend. That next year, he began broadcasting Georgia baseball. Since 1997, he has been the lead play-by-play voice of the Bulldog baseball program. He’s been blessed to call the Lady Dogs in three final fours and the baseball team in four College World Series, three under his good friend Coach David Perno’s watch.
There are many broadcasters who may go a lifetime waiting to get to just one of these seven collegiate grand finales. From the 1997-98 season through 2008-09, Jeff was the color commentator for the Georgia men’s basketball program. For football, he hosts the Bulldog Game Day pre-game show and the Dawg Talk post-game show with College Football Hall of Famer Kevin Butler to break down the game and take calls from Georgia fans. He also hosts the Sunday Bulldawg Brunch call in show with legendary Butler. Calling sports and hosting a daily talk show in Athens on 960 the Ref make for busy days and weeks. Jeff has also taken his turn on the world stage in the Olympics, working in both London and Sochi for the Olympic News Channel. In London, he covered the Aquatics center and witnessed Bulldog great Allison Schmitt win five medals and Shannon Vreeland swim for another. In Sochi, he was at Ice Hockey and witnessed one of the greatest non-Bulldog events in his life…the USA vs. Russia overtime match. “There were no Dogs in that hockey match but there’s no telling what Coach Magill and Manny Diaz could have done on the tennis courts with T.J. Oshie and his great shot making!”
He also continues to write for Bulldawg Illustrated, helping his friends the Leavys since the inception of that fine publication in 2003. You can also see him on CampusInsiders.com, where he is the Georgia Insider, espousing his knowledge on the Bulldogs. As JD says, “It has been immeasurable fun and good times. Listening to the tales of Magill, a cigar with Munson on his back porch, Bulldog Saturday nights after a win and those unforgettable moments on the road. Most importantly, when the Dogs play, that’s when you see everyone. All of your friends who have married, long moved away and had kids, they come back for those special fall Saturdays.”