(Updated 8 p.m.)
ATHENS — After 36 years as sideline reporter on radio broadcasts of University of Georgia football games, Loran Smith will not be in that role this season.
He’ll be replaced by Chuck Dowdle, the former WSB-TV sports director.
Smith will continue in his other long-time role as co-host, with Neil Williamson, of Georgia’s three-hour radio pregame show, the “Tailgate Show.”
Georgia associate athletic director Alan Thomas said the change of sideline reporters had been “contemplated” since the 2008 retirement of legendary play-by-play voice Larry Munson altered the “dynamics” of the broadcast.
“I had 36 good years on the sideline,” Smith told the AJC Thursday night. “It’s been fun, and I appreciate the support of the Georgia people.
“I had a good time, and I look forward to more good times. I don’t have to be on the sidelines to enjoy the broadcast and my role.
“I finally get to sit up in the press box where I can see,” Smith added with a laugh.
Smith said he joined UGA’s radio broadcast team in the early 1970s and has served as sideline reporter continuously since 1974. Munson’s hand-off call to Smith became a familiar and enduring part of UGA lore.
Munson’s exact words varied from time to time, Smith said. “‘Whaddaya got, Loran?’ That’s how it started, and I think it became interchangeable,” Smith said. “I think just whatever came to mind. He might have started with my name or might have concluded with it.”
Smith, 72, said he leaves the sideline with “a lot of good memories” and confidence many more are yet to be made under coach Mark Richt’s leadership.
“I’m just looking forward to the future,” Smith said.
Thomas said Smith remains an important part of the broadcast team on the pregame show. Having Dowdle serve as sideline reporter is “a natural progression” of his role on the post-game locker-room show, Thomas said.
In another change to the radio lineup, veteran SEC broadcaster Charlie McAlexander will join Jeff Dantzler on the “Bulldog Game Day” show, which airs one hour before the “Tailgate Show.”