UGA broadcast legend Larry Munson dies

Sunday, Nov. 20, 2011 10:37 PM
Last updated Monday, Nov. 21, 2011 2:38 PM
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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.

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Larry Munson, the voice of the Bulldogs, signs a picture Sunday afternoon April 17, 2004 at Home Team Sports in Augusta Mall.   Michael Holahan/File
Michael Holahan/File
Larry Munson, the voice of the Bulldogs, signs a picture Sunday afternoon April 17, 2004 at Home Team Sports in Augusta Mall.

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.

Comments (10) Add comment
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curly123053
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curly123053 11/20/11 - 11:02 pm
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Even as a Carolina fan I

Even as a Carolina fan I loved hearing his broadcasts! He was one of a kind! RIP Larry Munson!

DowntownJaguar
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DowntownJaguar 11/20/11 - 11:04 pm
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RIP Larry Munson

RIP Larry Munson

Vito45
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Vito45 11/20/11 - 11:28 pm
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I think I will just cry.

I think I will just cry. Munson was all I ever knew about Ga football. Thanks for the many, many wonderful Saturday afternoons old friend. RIP, you've earned it.

faithson
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faithson 11/20/11 - 11:51 pm
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What a great announcer we had

What a great announcer we had in Mr. Munson. Thank you sir for your many years of bringing GA Football to my radio at home.

dickworth1
954
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dickworth1 11/21/11 - 12:09 am
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The best of the best, Larry,
Unpublished

The best of the best, Larry, you'll never be forgotten and may you rest
in peace. Thanks for the memories, Hunker down my friend.

scoopdedoop64
2520
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scoopdedoop64 11/21/11 - 06:53 am
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I will always remember this

I will always remember this wonderful man who made my Saturday Georgia football extra special with his anima
ted calls! "Run,Larry,Run!)

justthefacts
25499
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justthefacts 11/21/11 - 07:04 am
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Impossible to pick my

Impossible to pick my favorite call. So many. We were lucky to have him.

curly123053
5421
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curly123053 11/21/11 - 08:26 am
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I noticed that the longtime

I noticed that the longtime Voice of the Gamecocks Bob Fulton passed away November 4th of last year. I remember hearing of the friendship between Fulton and Larry Munson and I wondered if Bob was there to welcome his old friend. I know the present voices of the Dawgs and Gamecocks do well, but the have nothing on Larry Munson and Bob Fulton.

YeCats
12239
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YeCats 11/21/11 - 09:02 am
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Saturdays. Riding to the bird

Saturdays. Riding to the bird fields. Listening to Munson. He's the reason I am forever a 'Dawg fan! Prayers to his family.

hounddog
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hounddog 11/21/11 - 09:14 am
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What' a great announcer we
Unpublished

What' a great announcer we had in Mr. Munson. Thank you sir for your many years of bringing GA Football to my radio at home'
I agree 100%

55 F-100
1
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55 F-100 11/21/11 - 09:38 am
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May God bless the family

May God bless the family members, and I hope that they feel some comfort from our prayers. Larry Munson was quite simply the best, and was honored as such by his peers. We are richly blessed for having had him for all those years.

breakawa
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breakawa 11/21/11 - 10:48 am
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I remember Munson from my

I remember Munson from my days as a newspaper reporter in Nashville. He was the sports guy on WSIX, then the ABC affiliate. With its ratings suffering, the station made him the news anchor because he was obviously the most professional person on the staff. And he didn't miss a beat.

Cynical old woman
1112
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Cynical old woman 11/21/11 - 04:22 pm
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RIP you hairy dawg!

RIP you hairy dawg!

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