Larry Munson: RIP to a DGD

If you live in this state, it hardly matters whether you went to the University of Georgia or are a fan of the Bulldogs; I don’t have to explain who Larry Munson is. Nor do I have to recount his most famous calls from his four decades of radio broadcasts of Bulldog football; you’ve probably heard them somewhere along the way. Nor do I have to make a list of my favorite calls; they’re his most famous calls — Lindsay Scott, the hobnail boot, sugar falling from the sky, etc. — and they’re famous for a reason.

Just about every team has a broadcaster. And many of them are, as others have noted, more technically proficient than Munson was. But Munson was famous, beloved, cherished, because he was tradition personified.

Larry Munson became the Bulldogs’ play-by-play man before my parents had drivers licenses, and by the time he hung up his earphones, my firstborn was in the womb. In thousands upon thousands of other families of Georgia fans, he covered more generations than that. He was a bridge not just from Dooley to Goff to Donnan to Richt, not just from Walker to Hearst to Edwards to Moreno; for many, he was a bridge from great-grandfather to grandfather to father to son.

And a bridge, too, from an era where college football was a passionate tradition to an era where it’s every bit as big a business as professional sports leagues. Munson became an institution among Georgia fans not just because of his passion and ability to lay unforgettable soundtracks to moments of athletic greatness, as great as those were. Even at the relatively late date when I was growing up, televised games were not yet ubiquitous, and Munson’s broadcast was often the only way to keep up with a game in real time (before it was called “real time”) if you weren’t in the stadium. His voice played, yes, alongside muted TV sets and in the wireless headphones of Bulldogs fans at the games, but also in the background of a Saturday afternoon household project, from porches as men in red sweatshirts raked leaves, in cars as families took weekend drives, in living rooms as families stopped what they were doing and huddled to hear how the hunkering down would end.

So, it was in between all the great moments that he called and which all Georgia fans cherish — and even for a proud football program, a number of games will begin and end in between a Jacksonville miracle and the spectacle of sugar falling from the sky on the plains of Auburn — that he endeared himself to us: with overestimates of the size and speed of the opposing team, with pleadings against the clock to go faster or slower as the silver britches required, with that periodic question that lent a name to a white English bulldog named Uga VI, a.k.a. “Uga V’s Whatchagot Loran.”

You don’t get many chances in life to feel intimately connected to one of The Greats. This Thanksgiving week, we Bulldogs are thankful that, with Larry Munson, we were.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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27 comments Add your comment

JDW

November 21st, 2011
10:51 am

Thankful indeed…
Thankful I grew up with his voice on Saturday afternoons and thankful his voice will remain a part of those days yet to come.

Back Seater

November 21st, 2011
11:06 am

Larry, be sure to tell Lewis Hello and we miss you both

HDB

November 21st, 2011
11:07 am

May Larry’s spirit reside in ALL of us!! Larry – damn good dawg!!!

skipper

November 21st, 2011
11:22 am

Absolutely the best ever. I was at UGA in the ’70’s and Munson was IT. I did all those things; turn down the T.V. and later listened to the out-of-town games as I did yard work or whatever after I graduated! (Listened to him in Sanford Stadium, too!) Back in the day if you were really lookin’ for trouble you could have gone by the tracks and something bad about Munson! The Bulldog nNation weeps today.

skipper

November 21st, 2011
11:24 am

My bad; previous message shoulda’ had “said” something bad about Munson to the track folks! (You’da never lived to tell it!)

Gramps

November 21st, 2011
11:25 am

A fine tribute to a fine broadcaster. DGD, RIP.

Don't Tread

November 21st, 2011
11:48 am

One of the iconic voices on sports radio…you’d recognize it anywhere. I’m not sure anyone could fill those shoes. He will be missed.

Joew1982

November 21st, 2011
12:13 pm

We all took a hob-nailed boot to the heart this weekend. We’ll miss you Larry!!!

Class of '98

November 21st, 2011
12:26 pm

Good column as always, Kyle.

I disagree about Munson not being proficient. He did a great job of providing a mental image. Even in his later years, he described the formations, substitutions, and strategies.

He was no Harry Caray, fumbling through exotic names and messing up statistics. He was on top of it. Too bad he was stereotyped as out of it just because he was older.

Rest in peace, Larry. Go dawgs.

jconservative

November 21st, 2011
12:34 pm

Really nice piece of writing Kyle.

George

November 21st, 2011
12:42 pm

I listened to Larry for 4 decades! Always looked forward to the broadcast. It was a treat every Saturday growing up in Georgia during football season. How many broadcasters can you say that you couldn’t wait to hear? Not many. He was one of a kind.

getalife

November 21st, 2011
12:51 pm

He was great describing Walker running over people.

LSU will crush the dawgs and win it this year.

Geaux Tigers!

HDB

November 21st, 2011
12:58 pm

Hopefully….as a tribute to a damn good dawg…UGA’s breeders will name the next UGA after Larry………

the original and still the best John Galt

November 21st, 2011
1:13 pm

I’ve never been a Georgia fan, or a football fan for that matter, but I remember with very fond memories my early days as a disc jockey, working the Georgia game, with Larry Munson as the voice of the Dogs.

Thank goodness before long I had Saturday off, but that voice has always had the ability to cast my memory back to those days and remind me of the little AM station I started on, the girls who used to hang out there with me, etc. etc. RIP to a legend.

ragnar danneskjold

November 21st, 2011
1:25 pm

Before the Georgia Bulldogs football, and before the Atlanta Braves baseball, Larry Munson was the voice of my Vanderbilt Commodores basketball. His games were imaginably exciting for a kid during those early glory years for a small private school. I remember a golden voice giving the lousy officiating an appropriate cursing during the NCAA tournaments, I think in 1965.

GT Respect for LM

November 21st, 2011
1:27 pm

While GT fans primarily disagree with UGA fans simply on principle because it was what we learned at school (right after Calculus IV), those GT fans who remain human must whole-heartedly agree that Larry Munson was one of the great ambassadors of football tradition in this state. May his tenure as king of the UGA football airwaves never be forgotten.

1961_Xer

November 21st, 2011
1:36 pm

I have listened and watched both GT and UGA for the last 40 years. Larry Munson was a class act. RIP, Larry.

Dusty

November 21st, 2011
1:46 pm

Very nice writeup, Kyle. I am not a football fan but you made me wish I had heard Larry Munson.

Rickster

November 21st, 2011
2:17 pm

The 2011/12 Dawgs will always be grateful they “sent Larry out” with a win over Kentucky. They would never forgive themselves if they lost the last game Larry listened to.

The LAW

November 21st, 2011
2:47 pm

Larry Munson has joined Lewis Grizzard in watching over the Dawgs from the ultimate sky box.

clem

November 21st, 2011
4:21 pm

can you imagine sitting in on a conversation with the likes of larry, lewis and al C I R A L D O in heaven?

Rafe Hollister

November 21st, 2011
4:29 pm

Good column Kyle, he will be missed like no other broadcaster. I remember when UGA got two TV appearances per year and, on those occasions, is was rare that we listened to the TV announcers very long before deciding it was just not as exciting, so we switched to Munson. Bulldog radio has never been the same and probably never will be.

Barney Fife...

November 21st, 2011
5:39 pm

RIP Mr. Munson – a wordsmith on the radio just as Furman Bisher is in the newspaper

And remember folks, UGA is the University of Georgia; Uga (1-VIII) is the mascot bulldawg…

Dawg57

November 21st, 2011
6:00 pm

GOD: “Well, Larry, I’m so glad you’re finally here! Lewis has missed you as well as a lot of others. One thing I can now say because you’re with us: I (of course!) knew about the Lindsey Scott play but I didn’t say anything ’cause I wanted you to tell the Dwag Nation about it. No one else I have ever put down there in Athens could have given the play-by-play of that game like you; and, I must say, all the other games. I certainly enjoyed listening to them on Saturdays.”

“You’re one of my greatest creations and I’m happy to have shared yo with the University of GA. Pardon me for saying this, but welcome into Heaven..to a Damn Good Dawg.”

Scott Klosinski

November 21st, 2011
8:47 pm

Imagining the conversation between Larry and Lewis Grizzard today! Two DGDs

Alan Smith

November 22nd, 2011
11:33 am

I am a Vol fan (full disclosure) but I also am a Larry Munson fan. As a kid, my Dad and I had two favored radio announcers: John Ward and Larry Munson…thanks for a well written article that brings back a lot of memories. Rest in Peace Mr. Munson.

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