Hangin’ with Larry Munson

Athens–It was a typical Larry Munson greeting.

He didn’t say “Hello.”

He didn’t say “How you doing?”

 He just started talking.

“Tell me about the quarterback. I’m worried about the quarterback,” said Munson.

Okay, get the picture: It is August. Georgia’s first game is still almost a month away.  And Larry Munson is already worried. Man, is he worried.

Munson retired as the radio voice of the Georgia Bulldogs two games into the 2008 season. He was the heartbeat of the Bulldog Nation for almost 43 years. He doesn’t miss the travel one bit.  But he misses the rest of it more than he can possibly explain. He really misses those Friday night dinners with his radio crew when he would hold court with story after story about life on the road in the SEC. Remember that Larry called Vanderbilt games for 19 years before he came to Georgia in 1966. That’s over 60 years of road games in this league. I don’t think Larry would mind my telling you that some very good wine was consumed.

“I’ve never laughed so hard before–or since,” said Chuck Dowdle, the former Channel 2 anchor who would join the fun.

“Sure, you miss all that stuff but hey, you get old,” said Munson, who turns 88 in September. “And I’m damned old.”

Since Larry and I did a book together last year (more on that later) a lot of people ask me how he’s doing. I tell them that for an 87-year old guy who’s had his share of physical ailments, including brain surgery to remove a clot in 2008, Larry is holding up pretty well. It’s tougher for him to get around.

But it sure hasn’t slowed down his ability to worry about his beloved Bulldogs.

“I’ve seen film of the kid (Aaron Murray) and he looks like he can play,” said Munson. “But we had to let the other guy (backup quarterback Zach Mettenberger) go when he got into trouble. And now we have a true freshman (Hutson Mason) as the backup? Is that right? Can we go to Columbia (on Sept. 11) with a redshirt freshman and a true freshman? Do you realize what a dog fight it is going to be up there?”

I reminded Larry that it was not an unprecedented situation. Georgia went to Tennessee in 2001 and won (26-24) when David Greene, a redshirt freshman, drove the Bulldogs down the field and threw a touchdown pass to Verron Haynes with only five seconds left. That’s when Larry did his famous “Hobnail Boot” call that remains his favorite, even to this day.

“Ah, Greene,” Munson recalled. “Big Kid. Smooth. Never got too excited. Man, if Murray can be like Greene then maybe we got a shot.”

Larry probably won’t be in Sanford Stadium for a game this fall. He felt like he said his goodbyes when he was honored during the Georgia Tech game in November of 2008.  But he’ll be watching on the big screen at home and worrying. And nobody, absolutely nobody, can worry like Larry Munson.

“What are we going to do about the defense? We couldn’t stop anybody last year,” he said.  ”What do you know about the new guy (defensive coordinator Todd Grantham)? Does he understand what the SEC is all about?  Does he realize how hard it is to play on the road in this league? Does he understand that it’s going to be NINE THOUSAND degrees up there? There is no place on earth hotter than Columbia, South Carolina!”

I try to get by to see Larry whenever I’m in Athens. I was there this day to get him to sign some books and to catch up because it had been a while. Then was time to go. Larry doesn’t really stand on formality at times like this.

“Okay, see ya. I’m still worried about the damned quarterback.”

Larry still watches a lot of college football but it’s not the same when you’re not emotionaly invested in the day-to-day comings and goings of a team.  But college football, specifically Georgia football,  misses Larry, too. It just isn’t the same without him.

Shamless plug: Last year I worked with Larry to produce his autobiography “From Herschel to a Hobnail Boot.” If you’re interested in the book (and the CD of great calls that goes with it), please go to my website and check it out. You can order it from there:

www.tonybarnhart.com

Please follow me on Twitter:

www.twitter.com/MrCFB

251 comments Add your comment

Greenville Dawg

August 10th, 2010
8:20 am

Enough already Damon…Jacket fan. You can clean yourself up now!

Larry Munson

August 10th, 2010
8:20 am

I still remember when GT beat us on my last day, senior day, with the future #1 draft pick. :(

[...] “Tell me about the quarterback. I’m worried about the quarterback.” Jump to Comments We’ll always have Munson. [...]

Beast from the East

August 10th, 2010
8:31 am

Munson was one of the greats. I remember listening to him do the Georgia games on the way back from Gainesville. He was such a Georgia homer, but you couldn’t help but like the guy. His passion was evident at all times. I’ll bet he’ll still be saying “Hunker down Dogs” till he’s a 100!

GeoffDawg

August 10th, 2010
8:33 am

It wasn’t the #1 draft pick that let that game get away. It was the arm tackling defense. Hopefully, that’s been purged.

I’ll definitely miss the gravely voiced Munson but all good things must come to an end. You know what I mean Damon, like tech’s one game win streak.

Joey

August 10th, 2010
8:34 am

Larry’s always worried!

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

August 10th, 2010
8:35 am

good stuff TB- Munson was great and will always be a part of the Bulldog Nation. Did they rename the broadcaster’s booth yet for him?

there will never be another munson

August 10th, 2010
8:36 am

i remember in 1983, larry munson making the comment that this year could be the “blackest year in the history of Georgia football.”…. last time i checked, the time was still 9.50 in texas…..

there will never be another munson

August 10th, 2010
8:37 am

oops…8.50….sorry. all the clocks in texas say 8.50.

Dink

August 10th, 2010
8:39 am

Thanks Tony, great read. Looking forward to reading your book, hope it’s as good as “Southern Fried Football”.

Go Dawgs!

Bud

August 10th, 2010
8:43 am

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWN……….NNNNNNNNNNN

GaDawg

August 10th, 2010
8:46 am

Just reading about Munson brings back great memories of Saturdays passed,Thanks TB

The Real SugarHillDawg

August 10th, 2010
8:47 am

I hope the Lord gives Larry as long as he wants to live. We need to wheel him to this year’s Tech game so he can see the RIGHT outcome!

SOGADOG

August 10th, 2010
8:49 am

I am worried about the damned quarterback too Larry, but you gotta love our running game and running games win championships.

dawgfan

August 10th, 2010
8:49 am

South Carolina is always a dogfight Larry, whether we’ve got Joe Montana or Joe Cox. If Larry isn’t worried something is wrong.

dagnabit

August 10th, 2010
8:51 am

I’ve enjoyed munson since his one year with the braves. For me his greatest line was “let the big dog eat”.

jacket fan in wisconsin

August 10th, 2010
8:56 am

I think Larry is a legend , no matter what team you pull for. He brings so much passion and intensity to the games, like all good radio announcers , before we had all the TV “talking heads”. I hope he continues to enjoy his retirement, even if he is a Dawg homer.

Gville dawg

August 10th, 2010
8:56 am

I miss him too brother

GaDawg

August 10th, 2010
9:03 am

Condolences to the UF fans on the loss of John Curtis

Charlie Bama

August 10th, 2010
9:07 am

Larry Munson is an absolute jewel among college football fans. Wish he could return behind the mic a few times this season. Hilarious and heartfelt — that’s Larry, all the way through.

(and Lane Kiffin is STILL a pant load of dumb in a zip lock baggy)

Henry

August 10th, 2010
9:08 am

The greatest play by play announcer of all time no matter which team you were for. They just don’t make great radio announcers anymore.

Golden Tornado

August 10th, 2010
9:09 am

Even the jacket fans miss Larry.

RxDawg

August 10th, 2010
9:10 am

Man, great read Tony. That sounds exactly like Larry and I feel as if I was there. I know it wont affect our play on the field any, but UGA just doesn’t feel the same without Munson telling his saturday stories to the college football nation.

Munson on Braves

August 10th, 2010
9:11 am

Munson was great with the Braves. He would tell you who was on deck, but he would also tell you who was behind the player on deck. He would call it “In the hole” for the dugout. Miss you Larry.

southJaxBeachBullDawg

August 10th, 2010
9:12 am

Tony!!

Thank you so much for this post. Lately I have been thinking about Larry and how he is doing. I know that his health is frail but it is good to know that he is still worrying like he has a game to call this coming saturday. Larry will ALWAYS BE the Heart and Soul of The Dawgs! Thank goodness for a little homerism……….Lord knows we need it!

Also, thanks for the post about the book. Gonna check into obtaining one!

Go Dawgs

August 10th, 2010
9:20 am

Wow. Looks like the Tech fan calling himself Damon Evans has decided to play the racist card. Nice.

And, the Tech fan calling himself Larry Munson’s absolutely right. Larry does remember losing to the Jackets in 2008. Even at 88 years old, you remember when you see something that’s only happened four times in the last nineteen years of your life. Taking it a few steps further back, it’s only happened eight times in the last thirty years (thank goodness the NCAA let you guys keep those three wins with the inelligible players, right?!). You can say whatever you want, but I know that burns you in a place deep down in your soul. You remember 2008 and that three year string. But you know what the last 20 years have been all about. You can deny it. We know it’s not true, because we know what Florida feels like for us… that’s what we are to you. And it is killing you. See you in Athens on November 27th. Bring the gimmick offense.

Victoria's Secret

August 10th, 2010
9:20 am

Larry Munson taught Damon Evans everything he knows about women….

….except how to get them to STOP TALKING to police when inebriated.

chank a long

August 10th, 2010
9:23 am

we’re forever indebted to, in my opinion, the greatest sports anouncer of all time. i tear up when i think about letting my kids listen to him one day, (when i have them). we love you larry!

Ormewood

August 10th, 2010
9:24 am

Had to chuckle reading his comments about Columbia. He’s right. That town is the hottest place on the planet.

PTC DAWG

August 10th, 2010
9:25 am

Thanks for this Tony…I’ve been wondering how Larry was doing.

One of my favorite lines, is when he asked the Wife of a certain person who worked on the show….”just how is it to live 60 years with Dick Payne?”

Stay Healthy Larry!!

Jeff

August 10th, 2010
9:29 am

This Vol fan misses Larry Munson….very few guys like that around anymore.

TommyJack

August 10th, 2010
9:29 am

I got his hobnail….

Paddy

August 10th, 2010
9:29 am

They broke the mold…..and I am glad they did. I really miss turning down the tv sound and turning up the radio. He was the best I ever heard!!!

TommyJack

August 10th, 2010
9:31 am

Henry, 9:08a: You’re kidding, right? Or are you smoking cheeb?

17 of 20

August 10th, 2010
9:31 am

I don’t care a bit about Georgia, but I always liked Larry.

Huntsville Yellow Jacket

August 10th, 2010
9:31 am

Larry was indeed a class act and is truly missed. I would have taken him over Al Ciraldo any day of the week, but especially on Saturday’s in the fall.

THWG

August 10th, 2010
9:31 am

Is Larry still hosting his co-ed movie watch parties? I bet he remembers their names, even if he can’t remember who the guys on the UGA roster are.

SimpleDawg

August 10th, 2010
9:33 am

God Bless Larry Munson……one of a kind.

“Look at the sugar falling out of the sky!”

#2 BAMA FAN

August 10th, 2010
9:36 am

I miss Larry Munson and John Ward 2 of the greatest voices who ever called football games. Alabama
is lucky to have Eli Gold and I wish Kenny 12 Stabler would come back to the radio broadcast of Bama’s games. Georgia was lucky to have Larry Munson for so many years and wish him the best of health to him!! RTR

JB

August 10th, 2010
9:38 am

I like to go on Youtube and just listen sometimes……..STILL get goose bumps at a lot of his calls…..Thanks for most of Tech fans on here being kind……Larry always rooted for you guys except on Dawg Saturday……..

Fire Dawg

August 10th, 2010
9:39 am

Great Book Tony! It was a very enjoyable read and answered alot of questions about Larry and his past. For those of you that enjoy books about UGA check out Patrick Garbin’s “..And Vince Said to Herschel” and UGA “50 Greatest Plays” and ” About them Dawgs!”. You will enjoy all of them!

Dostoyevskiy

August 10th, 2010
9:41 am

I’m a UNC grad and fan who loves Larry. I use to lay in bed at night every Sunday, listening to him through a crackling radio on the Bulldog ?Hot Line?. He’s the best. The line that I can not get out of my head was “Its 33 degrees down on Peach Tree Stree and cold as a dog”. My wife had to lay there and listen and she got go like him as well. Go Heels and Dogs!

Bill

August 10th, 2010
9:46 am

Larry was like the 1962 New York Mets. He was so bad that he became loveable to the Georgia people.

Larry never learned the players names for Georgia or the opponent. “We run it up the middle and they stop us.”

I like the new guy much better… what’s his name?

tech man

August 10th, 2010
9:50 am

my favorite larry munson call of all time: “They’re beating us like we’re Maryland or Wake Forest or somebody”

railman311

August 10th, 2010
9:51 am

Great article Tony, I think we need monthly update on Mr. Munson

Hal

August 10th, 2010
9:52 am

Larry,
I bet you can still remember GT beating us with Stafford under center. I can too. In fact, I can remember all their victories over us….. they’re so few and far between that its easy to remember them.

JB

August 10th, 2010
9:54 am

My favorite Munson call……………………” There you have it, Richt has just beaten Tech for the Seventh year in a row”…………… “Man O man, what must they be thinking inside that Tech locker room?”

PMC

August 10th, 2010
9:59 am

Man we are so blessed in Georgia to have had so many fantastic PXP men.

Larry is a legend and he was fantastic. Thanks for this Tony.

G8R GRAD

August 10th, 2010
10:10 am

GaDawg, 9:03 am:

Thank you for your kind words.
What a shame for such a young man to end his life.

PeteWill

August 10th, 2010
10:12 am

Tony, just started following you a couple of months ago and you are a pleasure to read. I particularly like your pieces about the people you have befriended over the years, such as today’s bolg on Larry Munson, a man I had never heard of.

I’m a Maryland Terp (’72) and have ALWAYS been frustrated with Maryland’s lack of commitment to football. I learned to live with that because of basketball, but now we are not committed to that sport either. We have practically given Gary Williams tenure and he just can’t/won’t recruit the talent level needed to be an elite program.

I look forward to following you during this upcoming football season, especially when you cover the ACC, which I do understand takes aback seat to the SEC.