Two-time NCAA champion gymnast Jenni Beathard, record-setting placekicker Kevin Butler, All-American golfer Nick Cassini and basketball great Jarvis Hayes will comprise the Class of 2019 for induction into the University of Georgia's Circle of Honor.
Beathard, Butler, Cassini and Hayes will be inducted formally during the Circle of Honor Gala on Friday, February 7, 2019 in the West End Zone area of Sanford Stadium. The class of 2019 will also be introduced on Dooley Field at a 2019 home football game to be determined.
The Circle of Honor is designed to pay tribute to extraordinary student-athletes and coaches who by their performance and conduct have brought honor to the university and themselves, and who by their actions have contributed to the tradition of the Georgia Bulldogs. The criteria for selection also stipulate that each recipient has earned his or her academic degree.
As a freshman in 1996, Beathard overcame chronic ankle injuries to earn All-America honors on the uneven bars, finishing second at the NCAA meet. The following year, she flourished as the team’s top entry on bars and its leadoff performer on the balance beam. The Altamonte Springs, Florida, native posted a score of 9.950 to win the NCAA championship on bars. As a junior, she continued her excellence on bars by earning her first career score of 10.0 in a tri-meet with Arizona and Michigan. She went on to claim the NCAA co-championship on the balance beam, one night after the Gym Dogs captured the fourth team title in program history.
Beathard capped her collegiate career earning All-America honors in both bars and beam in 1999, helping lead Georgia to a second straight NCAA team championship. During the season she recorded two more perfect 10.0 scores on bars, first against Florida and later against N.C. State in her final home competition. At season’s end Beathard won the American Athletic, Inc. (AAI) Award, given annually to the nation’s outstanding senior gymnast.
After replacing one of Georgia’s all-time great kickers in Rex Robinson, Butler proceeded to build a storied career for himself over the next four seasons, earning All-America honors twice and All-SEC first-team honors three times. He set a slew of school, SEC and NCAA records, several of which he still holds to this day.
Butler kicked 11 career field goals over 50 yards, including three over 55 yards and set an NCAA record with 27 multiple field-goal games. Early in his senior season, Butler became the SEC’s all-time leading scorer, a mark that stood for 14 years. However, he is perhaps best remembered for his school record-setting 60-yard field goal with 11 seconds left to defeat Clemson in 1984.
Butler was selected by the Chicago Bears in the 1985 NFL draft. During his 11-year career in the Windy City he set 19 club records, and finished his career with the Arizona Cardinals in 1996 and 1997 after compiling 1,208 points, the sixth most in NFL history among kickers.
Cassini joined the Georgia Golf program in 1998 and helped lead the squad to the program’s first national championship the following spring. He later earned First-Team All-America honors and was also named the SEC Player of the Year in 2001. Cassini also was a Second-Team All-American in 2000.
When his college career ended, Cassini ranked second in school history with the lowest season average at 71.05, the lowest round at 7-under and fourth in career average at 72.11. During his Georgia career, he also represented the United States three times at the Palmer Cup and Walker Cup, a pair of Ryder Cup-style, international competitions featuring top collegians and amateurs.
A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Jarvis Hayes and his twin brother Jonas transferred to Georgia in 1999, having played at Western Carolina as freshmen. After sitting out the 2001 season, Jarvis took the SEC by storm as a sophomore. He averaged a league-best 18.6 points per game in 2002, earning SEC Player of the Year honors by The Sporting News, Basketball America and CNNSI. Hayes again led the Bulldogs offensively in the 2002-2003 season by averaging 18.3 points per game. He reached 1,000 career points in just 55 games, six games quicker than Georgia’s career scoring leader, Litterial Green.
Hayes helped Georgia to a combined 41-18 record in his two seasons, with an NCAA Tournament berth in 2002. He joined Dominique Wilkins to become just the second Georgia player to earn consensus first-team All-SEC honors two times. He also owns the unique distinction of having won scoring titles in two separate leagues: the SEC in 2002 and the Southern Conference in 2000.
Hayes was selected by the Washington Wizards with the No. 10 overall pick in the first round of the 2003 NBA Draft. He played seven seasons in the NBA and two internationally.