Claude Felton, the media liaison for Georgia athletics whose 45-year career at the university spanned from Vince Dooley to Kirby Smart, has announced that he is retiring,
Felton has served in the roles of sports communication director, associate athletic director and, most recently, the senior associate athletic director.
“Lots of time has gone by and some unbelievable experiences and memories have come my way,” Felton said in a statement released Tuesday by the university. “I’ve worked with some terrific presidents, athletic directors, some of the greatest coaches and athletes in the history of collegiate sports, and legendary media on all levels from national writers and network television to radio stations and weekly newspapers around the state."
Felton also praised the "greatest group of full-time staff members, graduate assistants and undergrad students I could have imagined, who have done remarkable work and are responsible for always somehow making me look good.”
The Savannah native was hired by Georgia in 1979 after serving as the director of public relations at Georgia Southern University. The following year, the Bulldogs won their first consensus national football title with an unbeaten squad coached by Dooley and led by freshman sensation Herschel Walker.
Felton was still at Georgia when Smart guided the Bulldogs to back-to-back national championships during the 2021 and '22 seasons.
Along the way, Felton became a revered figure who was highly respected by media members around the country. He is a member of the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Hall of Fame and will be inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame next month.
"Claude Felton is one of the most influential figures in the history of Georgia athletics,” athletic director Josh Brooks said. “His honesty, humility, attention to detail and congenial spirit have elevated all of our athletic programs throughout his 45-year association with the Bulldogs."
Felton served as media coordinator for 18 NCAA national championship events. He also worked on the press liaison staff for the U.S. Olympic Committee at the 1984 Los Angeles Games and was press venue chief when the soccer competition was held at Georgia's Sanford Stadium during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
During Felton’s tenure, Georgia's athletic teams won 136 Southeastern Conference titles and 47 national championships. He handled the publicity efforts for numerous All-Americans and individual awards, most notably Walker winning the Heisman Trophy in 1982.