I saw him numerous times with a broom and trash bag.
He took pride in cleanliness. He always wanted things to look their absolute best. Whether it was a candy wrapper on the ground or a small weed sprouting near a tree, he demanded his headquarters always look impeccably groomed.
In the fall of 1987, I was hired as a student assistant by current UGA Senior Associate Athletic Director Claude Felton. My primary duty involved working with Coach Magill. My secondary duty was to always refer to Georgia Tech as “The Enemy” in Coach Magill's presence.
For the next several months, Coach Magill taught me how to become a writer, a statistician, a promoter and anything it took to elevate the UGA tennis program and fill the seats at Henry Feild Stadium. And fill the seats he mastered, often drawing larger crowds than basketball and baseball games.
He was a master storyteller and his incredible brain could recall sports scores and events faster than any computer today.
“Coach, were you this smart when you were in school?” I once asked him.
“I was because I sat next to ‘A-Plus Mason' and ‘Straight-A Milligan,'” he replied. “I always picked good seats.”
For the next several months, Coach Magill threw me into the fire pit of journalism and marketing. If I wrote (what I thought was) a good story, he ripped it apart and challenged me to make it better. If the Georgia tennis team's match against a good school didn't make the front sports page of the Athens Banner-Herald or the Red & Black, he challenged me to schmooze the editors so it never happened again.
He demanded excellence. And I'll forever be grateful for his high expectations. But most of all—I'll remember him for his wit and his incredible Southern accent.
It's hard to believe his presence will no longer be a part of the landscape on the UGA campus, but his legacy will forever shine. For four years, I took numerous classes from geology to business law. Although I'm grateful for a diploma that hangs on my wall, I must confess that Dan Magill taught me more than any class I took.