UGA broadcast legend Larry Munson dies

Larry Munson, whose growling delivery as the voice of the Georgia Bulldogs for nearly 43 years made him as celebrated as the players and coaches he covered, died Sunday night. He was 89.

A university statement said Munson died at his Athens home of complications from pneumonia, according to his son, Michael.

Munson's broadcasting career covered more than 60 years and included a stint with the Atlanta Braves when they moved from Milwaukee in 1966. But he'll always be remembered as the radio play-by-play announcer at Georgia, endearing himself to generations of fans with his quirky calls and unabashed partisanship for the Bulldogs.

"Hunker down!" he would implore when the team faced a crucial play.

Gallery: View a gallery of photos from Larry Munson's broadcast career.

Munson was as cherished between the hedges as Georgia's other football icons, including coach Vince Dooley, Heisman Trophy-winning running back Herschel Walker and tough defensive coordinator Erk Russell.

Munson's delivery was unique and often imitated. There were so many imitators among Georgia fans that contests became common to determine the best impersonation.

He thrilled Georgia fans with calls such as "Run, Lindsay, run!" — during Lindsay Scott's 93-yard touchdown reception against Florida that kept the Bulldogs on course for the 1980 national championship.

After telling fans he broke through his steel chair during Scott's run, Munson added that excited Georgia fans from Jacksonville to Jekyll Island, Ga., might follow his path.

"Man, is there gonna be some property destroyed tonight!" he exclaimed.

Occasionally, Munson's exuberance landed him in trouble. He had to apologize after yelling "My God! A freshman!" when Walker ran over Tennessee defensive back Bill Bates for a touchdown in his first college game.

After a 1982 win over Auburn sent Georgia to the Sugar Bowl, Munson's memorable line was "Look at the sugar falling out of the sky!"

Not all of his famous lines came during Georgia's most successful run in the 1980s.

During Mark Richt's first season as coach in 2001, Munson was moved by a last-second win over Tennessee.

"We just stepped on their face with a hobnailed boot and broke their nose! We just crushed their face!" he said.

Indeed, Munson never hid his allegiance to the Bulldogs, part of a generation of play-by-play announcers who saw no reason to pass themselves off as unbiased.

He skipped all road games in 2007 except for Georgia Tech, just a 75-mile drive from Athens. Munson had surgery to remove blood clots from his brain several months before the '08 season, but returned to work Georgia's first two home games.

Then, he suddenly retired, shortly before his 86th birthday.

"It caught me by great surprise," Loran Smith, Munson's longtime sideline reporter and host of Georgia's pregame show, said of the announcement.

Scott Howard, who was Munson's color analyst for 15 years, moved into the play-by-play role following Munson's retirement. Former Georgia quarterback Eric Zeier joined the broadcast team as the color analyst.

Munson, from Minneapolis, worked in Nashville, Tenn., on minor league baseball and Vanderbilt basketball and football broadcasts before becoming part of the Braves' first broadcast team after they moved to the South.

Munson held other jobs, including a stint with the NFL's Atlanta Falcons, but he will always be known as the voice of the Bulldogs.

Funeral arrangements have not been determined.

Munson's decision saddens area fans
Michaux: Munson: There will never be another like him
Sign the Memorial Guestbook
Official University of Georgia Release
Athens Banner Herald: 2008 Interviews
Chris Gay: Legendary broadcaster Larry Munson steps down
2008 Editorial: We'll just have to hunker down
September: Larry Munson seriously ill
AJC: Remembering Larry Munson's greatest calls

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