The University of Georgia’s Indoor Athletic Facility will be named in honor of former football player Billy Payne and his father, the late Porter Payne.
The official name of the facility will be the William Porter Payne and Porter Otis Payne Indoor Athletic Facility. The naming opportunity is the result of gifts totaling $10 million secured from friends of Billy and Porter Payne. The University System Board of Regents approved the naming of the facility Tuesday.
“Billy Payne and his late father Porter hold a very special place in the storied history and tradition of the University of Georgia,” university President Jere W. Morehead said. “It is a great honor to have their names forever tied to one of the most prominent athletic programs in the country.”
Former CEO of the Atlanta Olympic Games and chairman of Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament, Payne graduated from Georgia in 1969 with a degree in political science, and he earned his law degree from Georgia Law in 1973. Both he and his father lettered in football at the school, Billy from 1966-68 and Porter from 1946-49.
“It is a great day for the University of Georgia to honor Billy Payne and his father, Porter,” said UGA J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Greg McGarity. “We are exceptionally proud to have the Payne family name honored by placement on one of our most significant athletic facilities.”
Payne, who earned All-SEC honors in 1968 after switching to defensive end, launched a successful bid to bring the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games to Atlanta and was named president and CEO of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games in 1991. He continued in his leadership role, and became the first person in modern history to land an Olympic bid and then to remain president and CEO during the games.
A founding member and chairman of Centennial Holding Company, a privately held real estate investment company in Atlanta, Payne became chairman of Augusta National and the Masters in 2006. He retired from that position last year after overseeing numerous changes, including the addition of female members and efforts to grow the game through the creation of new amateur tournaments and junior golf initiatives.
Porter Payne was an All-SEC offensive lineman in the late 1940s and was elected as the team captain of the 1949 team. While at Georgia, the Bulldogs won two SEC championships (1946 and ’48) and played in three bowl games—1947 Sugar Bowl, 1948 Gator Bowl, and 1949 Orange Bowl. Payne was also an All-City, All-State, and team captain as a fullback at Boys High in Atlanta.