Larry Munson’s calls have forever linked him with his UGA subjects (UPDATED)

UPDATE: All three flags — UGA, state of Georgia and U.S. — were at half-staff in front of Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall on Monday. Just inside the double doors, a hand-painted portrait of Larry Munson sat on an easel in the entry way. Otherwise, it was business as usual inside the complex. The Georgia Bulldogs met late morning and early afternoon, practiced into the evening and ate a Thanksgiving dinner together there on Monday. Afterward, head coach Mark Richt said the team was planning a way to pay tribute to Munson their uniforms this Saturday against Georgia Tech, most likley some kind of decal for their helmets, but he wanted it to be a surprise.

ATHENS – Buck Belue and Larry Munson forever will be linked because of Munson’s famous Belue-to-Scott call from Jacksonville, Fla., in 1980. But Munson actually made an impression on Belue well before he played football for the Bulldogs.

“He was a legendary guy even when I was a kid,” said Belue, quarterback of Georgia’s 1980 championship team. “I remember it was 1970 or ‘71 and my grandmother, ‘Mama Sarah,’ lived in White Columns right there on the corner of Baxter and Milledge. They were having the homecoming parade and I’ll never forget when Munson came by. He was in the back of a convertible. He had a cigar in one hand, a Budweiser in the other and cheerleaders sitting on either side of him. I asked my Dad, ‘who’s that?’ Right then, two women streakers ran by right in front of him. That was my first recollection Munson, that homecoming parade.”

Of course, it was another run — the one when Lindsay Scott took Belue’s short pass 92 yards for a touchdown to beat Florida in the final minutes in 1980 – that connected all three of those individuals for life. It might have been just another big play in Georgia’s biggest season had Munson not painted the picture as he did.

He described the action on the field, he pleaded for Lindsay to run faster, he broke his chair, he predicted property damage and told Georgia fans exactly how they felt. “I gave up; you did, too!” he said.

“It’s such an honor, really, just to be part of the Georgia tradition,” Belue said. “But to be part of a play like that and have him bring it to life like he did, it’s something nobody will ever forget and we can all thank him for that.”

Munson, Georgia’s legendary play-by-play announcer for more than 40 years, passed away Sunday night due to complications from pneumonia. He was 89.

As of Monday afternoon, funeral arrangements had not been determined. Munson’s body will be cremated, according to Charley Whittemore, UGA assistant athletic director for facilities and a close friend of Munson. Whittemore said they are in the planning stages for a memorial service in Sanford Stadium that would take place sometime after the Bulldogs’ SEC Championship Game on Dec. 3.

“We’re trying to make sure it wouldn’t disrupt anything that’s happening on campus,” said Whittemore, who said Saturday, Dec. 10, is the likely date. “We’ll be having exams at that time, so we want to be respectful of that. But there will probably be a small ceremony, something that would make a proper memorial for a man of the people such as Larry was.”

Like Belue, Loran Smith also will be forever inked with Munson. It was sometime shortly after Smith became sideline reporter for Bulldogs’ radio network in 1974 that Munson would throw it to him by saying, “Whattaya got, Loran?” To this day, Smith answers to that reference everywhere he goes.

“Oh, yeah, happens all the time,” Smith said. “I get it on the phone, I get introduced that way when I speak. It’s something that was sort of a reflection of Munson’s style. He was sort of an off-the-wall kind of guy. You never knew what he’d come up with. That was just his way of bringing in the comments from the field, but it caught on. A lot of things he did caught on because he had such a unique style. It was endearing, as far as I was concerned, which I appreciate.”

Whatever Munson did or said, it tended to be memorable. If you were fortunate enough to be involved in one of Georgia’s highlight moments, his words acted as the bronze that would preserve that moment in time.

Georgia coach Mark Richt experienced the Munson phenomenon his first year with the Bulldogs. In 2001, Richt called a play-action, pass play – forever known now as P-44 Haynes – which resulted in the game-winning touchdown against Tennessee in Knoxville. After David Greene completed the pass to Verron Haynes, Munson proclaimed that the Bulldogs had just “stepped on their face with a hobnail boot and broke their nose.”

“It was a special honor for me personally when Larry had such a signature and memorable call during my first season with the ‘Hobnail Boot,’” Richt said on Monday. “. . . Getting to know him over the years was an honor and privilege for me. I know he loved Georgia and Georgia football and the Bulldog Nation loved Larry.”

That was thing about Munson, Belue said. His descriptive powers were unmatched.

“His talent was just to bring it to life,” Belue said. “He gave life to the story and brought the characters to life. That’s what set him apart. To listen to him do a game, no matter what you felt like it was the biggest game of the year.”

And when it really was, that’s when the magic happened.

“His face is on the Mount Rushmore of the Georgia Bulldogs,” said Jeff Dantzler, a resident historian who calls baseball and basketball games for the Bulldogs. “He will forever be the voice of the Georgia Bulldogs and one of our most beloved icons and treasures. He will live forever in the hearts of the Georgia people.”

With nearly a half-century-long relationship with the state’s flagship university, Munson’s reach is enormous. Even Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal issued a statement on the occasion of Munson’s passing.

“For the citizens of the Bulldog Nation, Larry Munson’s voice provided the gravelly, dramatic soundtrack to their favorite movie, ‘Saturday in Athens,’” Gov. Deal said. “For more than 40 years, Munson gave listeners so much more than a retelling of the events playing out on the field; he connected with fans through a shared passion for the University of Georgia. His words captured the emotional highs and lows of his fellow Bulldog fans. As Georgians join me in mourning his passing from this life to the next, Larry Munson lives on in immortality through highlight reels and the memories of the UGA faithful.”

Said UGA Director of Athletics, Greg McGarity: “We are deeply indebted to Larry for his wonderful contributions to
the University of Georgia. For over four decades, Larry poured his heart and soul into Georgia football.  His passion, energy, and love for our Bulldogs were clearly evident at all times — especially on Saturdays during the fall.  For those of us who were able to hear Larry paint the picture with his live play-by-play calls, we are very fortunate.  For those who were able
to know Larry, our lives were enriched by a once-in-a-lifetime treasure.”

In lieu of flowers, the Munson family requests that donations be made to the “Noah Harris Cheerleading Scholarship.” The endowed scholarship is awarded annually to a student-athlete on the cheerleading team who demonstrates outstanding character, leadership, and dedication to the athletic program and the community. The fund was established in 2006 in memory of 1st Lieutenant Noah Harris who was a cheerleader for UGA. Donation checks should be made payable to the UGA Foundation with the designation “Noah Harris Cheerleading Scholarship in memory of Larry Munson. They may be sent to the Georgia Bulldog Club, PO Box 1472, Athens, GA 30603.

68 comments Add your comment

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

November 21st, 2011
4:46 pm

Greatest Sports Announcer of all time

Munson will be missed

weaseal

November 21st, 2011
5:01 pm

Thanks for the memories Larry !!!

j

November 21st, 2011
5:13 pm

a true legend…

Asheville Dawg

November 21st, 2011
5:29 pm

One of the icons of sports announcing. RIP

BurytheBone

November 21st, 2011
5:41 pm

DGD. Three generations have had the pleasure of listening to Mr. Munson, There will never be another Herschel…… And NEVER be another Larry Munson.

Indian Dawg

November 21st, 2011
5:49 pm

Wow, look at some of the comments from Tech fans and students. This is not Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate. This is a disgrace, and the reason I will NEVER respect GT.

http://www.stingtalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=60373&page=6

Mandrell Dawg

November 21st, 2011
5:58 pm

I guess that Larry wasn’t going anywhere until his beloved dogs made it back to the SECCG. Well, were headed to Atlanta, mission accompished, rest in peace Larry. Bulldog Nation will miss you, and you will never be forgotten.

LakeDawg

November 21st, 2011
6:02 pm

Though I never met him in person, I feel as if a member of my family died. May God bless you, Larry.

Patrick Couch,MD

November 21st, 2011
6:06 pm

My God, we’re gonna miss you Larry. Thank you for being so kind to my 8 year old son John John at your book signing at the UGA bookstore two years ago….

OZZFEST

November 21st, 2011
6:09 pm

LARRY’S WAS A VOICE THAT WILL LIVE FOREVER.
A NATIONAL TREASURE.
THEN. NOW. ALWAYS.

Uncle Tom

November 21st, 2011
6:12 pm

Let’s build the Bulldawg Mount Rushmore and put Munson on it! (Who else? Herschel, Vince, Sinkwich, Pollack?)

OoltewahDawg

November 21st, 2011
6:13 pm

IndianDawg, the comments at the link you posted were indeed in very poor taste. But that is only a handful of people. Many fans of other schools, including Tech, have come into the UGA blogs and have paid their respects with much class.

ssidawg

November 21st, 2011
6:14 pm

I love the story about the Homecoming Parade…cigar in one hand, beer in the other. You wouldn’t see that today. He was a gift to the Bulldawg Nation. RIP Larry Munson.

bitter one of a kind

November 21st, 2011
6:16 pm

turn down the TV and up the radio——-from rome ga i felt i was in athens and at the game —i felt i was the only fan munson was talking to.—-he made me fill special and the day was so determined!!!

—-ole lady luck was on our side——————————–will have to kick it a thousand miles

Spanky

November 21st, 2011
6:19 pm

Larry, thank you for all the excitement that you created for the dawg nation, when our dawgs were’nt on tv (70’s and 80’s). You really made it special!! Thank you very much, and tell Erk that we said hello! Proudly a fan, Spanky

Dr. Morpheus

November 21st, 2011
6:22 pm

I was late getting to the office because I started listening to classic Munson calls. Particularly compelling is a video of UGA-GT 2006, the game winning drive featuring Matthew Stafford, Danny (DJ) Ware, and Mohamed Massaquoi, who caught the game winner and the 2-point conversion, with Munson’s call’s superimposed. This was toward the end of Larry’s career but the vivid descriptions and the anxious intensity were still strong. I recall listening to night games on WSB radio all over the southeast as I completed graduate education and after moving to Baton Rouge in 1982. Even more than the coaches, Munson was the continuity of the Bulldog Nation, one of us, living and dying with the fortunes of the Red and Black. It hasn’t been the same since you retired, Larry, and you’ll live on in our hearts. Hunker down one more time, Dawgs!

Spanky

November 21st, 2011
6:24 pm

If ya’ll get a chance, pull up the recording of the Battle Hymn(Redcoat Band) with Larry’s narration. The pride he had in UGA was felt in his words,…very emotional!!

Ed

November 21st, 2011
6:32 pm

Tech fan but will always remember “Hunker down dawgs”

sports

November 21st, 2011
6:39 pm

you will be missed Larry

Dr. Morpheus

November 21st, 2011
6:39 pm

And I have to second OoltewahDawg’s comment- Many Jackets and even Gators have spoken with affection and respect about Larry on the UGA blogs. Let’s stay focused on Larry Munson and the 9-0 run the Dawgs are on heading into the annual bragging rights showdown.

DawgFan1

November 21st, 2011
6:46 pm

Miss you already Larry!

Now, UGA…..beat the heck out of Tech!!!!
GATA!!!!!

Buckhead Bulldog

November 21st, 2011
7:07 pm

So I’m at a 680 The Fan function a 5 years ago or so, and Buck was signing autographs. I asked Belue for one, and he respectfully asked if I wanted him write anything on the napkin he was going to autograph. Of course, I said Run Lindsay and Buck proceeded to write just that with a grin. We both knew!

Sic’ ‘em DOGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sick fans at Tech

November 21st, 2011
7:11 pm

How can you fathom to disrespect the death of Larry Munson. I just read some comments on Tech blog that got under my skin. Ill be at the game saturday and I promise you Tech fans if I hear one comment about the death of LM I will punch you in the mouth with a hobnail fist, then butch slap your woman or man should I say. TECH FANS JUST BLOW !!! I HATE THE FU*& OUT OF YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WinderDawg

November 21st, 2011
7:26 pm

So many classics…he always gave us the picture. I look forward to telling my kids all about him as a Georgia legend. You will be missed…hope the fishing is good!!

Ray D ator

November 21st, 2011
7:28 pm

For many, many years, we would watch the dogs on TV and turn the volume down, and the radio up to hear Munson “get the Picture”.

tckr83

November 21st, 2011
7:34 pm

google “Larry Munson hunting trip”… a hunting trip with Larry, his father-in-law, a farmer and the farmers dog that is simply… classic Munson.

With all due respect to Larry Bird… there are two “Larry legends” around these parts. RIP Larry.

DAWGMAN

November 21st, 2011
7:37 pm

Anxious intensity coupled with a joy for Bulldog Football, yes. That’s what it was. It got you all stirred up. It was his passion. The immediacy of the moment. I was ridden hard and put up wet after his broadcasts. Didn’t matter who the opposition was. At the end of the game, he would tell us about the jeopardy we were in with the next team to play.
We are blessed to have had such a treasure.
I hope there is a big, old bass rising up to take his bait and give him the kind of thrills he gave us now and forever. God Bless Larry Munson.

A Munson Athletic Scholarship might be a fitting tribute.

Ga. Tech The Ghetto of the South

November 21st, 2011
7:41 pm

The garbage Tech fans are saying about Munson. What a bunch of low lifes

ub

November 21st, 2011
8:37 pm

Growing up on a farm in the seventy’s he sure made three hours of a long day go by fast. Have some Fla. fans that say he will always be the best.

tripwire

November 21st, 2011
8:56 pm

The man was incredible ,with the ability to describe a good or bad play of either team with respect.I recall a famous call he made at the end of an SC/GA game when Brandon Bennett scored on the last play to win the game.The call was priceless to me. Our prayers for the family of a good man.

bardawg

November 21st, 2011
8:57 pm

Hopefully, very soon, UGA will erect a state of Mr. Munson. I can’t think of any Dawg that deserves one any more than Larry does .RIP,you’ll be sorely missed, you epitomized what it meant to be a Damn Good Dawg!

Sam

November 21st, 2011
8:58 pm

Sorry abour Mr. Munson. He was a great one! A true legend in the SEC. I loved the voice!!!

Amazing video of a high school senior from Columbia TN who kicks the ball dead straight 75-80 yards in the air. He was successful on 54 of 54 attempts this season….100%. Now he needs a college team.

Watch for yourself…it is unreal!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_JKwgwFY3g

Jason

November 21st, 2011
9:00 pm

I hope we beat some GT whatchamacallit for Larry. GO DAWGS!!!

asa

November 21st, 2011
9:17 pm

i grew up a Tech fan until I went to Ga and learned better,but I always respected and loved to hear Al Ciraldo say toe meets leather or its gd, I know that Larry could be so negative that it sometimes was annoying,but for Tech fans that have made disrepectful comments we ,Georgia graduates ma
y work for you ,but we don’t have to respect you so put your crowns on and kiss my nasty

phil

November 21st, 2011
9:24 pm

Larry was the very best. We knew this day was coming fairly soon, but it’s still sad.

Rest in peace and thanks for the many years of terrific work for our team!

Dawg89

November 21st, 2011
9:38 pm

Tom, just like you, I turned off my radio when Munson retired. It will never be the same.

Thanks Larry for all the memories!

May God bless the Munson family.

dale morphy

November 21st, 2011
9:49 pm

Its third and forever and the crowd is up and SCREAMING at us….

George Stein

November 21st, 2011
10:10 pm

C’mon. Most Tech fans are – I hope – embarrassed by the clowns that wrote that nonsense about Munson. Most of us feel for his family and hope they find peace quickly.

Yellow Jacket Fan

November 21st, 2011
10:38 pm

Couldn’t agree more, G. Stein. Larry Munson and Al Ciraldo were key ingredients to the rivalry. The UGA “haters” commenting on the GT “morons” bad mouthing Larry are equally embarrassing to both fine schools and players representing them. RIP, Mr. Munson.

ca dawg

November 21st, 2011
11:14 pm

@dr. morpheus: have watched that closing 2006 drive a number of times on youtube. munson was at his best.

A Jacket

November 21st, 2011
11:30 pm

My blood runs white and old gold but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy Larry. He was one of a kind. They don’t make them like Larry anymore. I always enjoyed turning down the volume on the TV and cranking up Larry on the radio. My condolences go out to his family and all of the Bulldawg nation. I hope he and Al are talking about the game this Saturday. I’ll have a beer and a cigar in his memory during ther game Saturday.

ToccoaDawg

November 21st, 2011
11:39 pm

In the late 60s as a young boy I tuned the radio into a dawgs game and out of that box came this voice, a magical voice if you will. I became a dawgs fan just from listening to this voice on Saturdays. I really do believe half the Georgia wins were because of Larry willing them to win. Willing them to just get another first down and willing the Defense to “Hunker Down just one more time”, against Auburn. Larry Munson really was and always will be a Damn GREAT Dawg. Maybe the greatest of all time that never played on Dooley’s field. RIP Larry, you will always be with us in our heart and soul willing the new dawgs on to victory.

Hunkerdown

November 22nd, 2011
12:08 am

Hope those airplanes always circling Sanford Stadium don’t block your view of the calling the games Larry. We will miss you but forever remember your brillance.

Marvin Mangrum

November 22nd, 2011
8:04 am

Sir, Mr Munson, you finally made me cry! Dang! Will miss you ole friend!

SLCDawg

November 22nd, 2011
8:12 am

Am I crazy? I remember ” lorn, wadayagot” not whadayagot loran, followed by “well larry, . . . .

SLCDawg

November 22nd, 2011
8:17 am

Also ” dawgs in an I “, and ” we saved ourselves, old lady luck has saved us”. Anybody know what game that lady luck call was?

SLCDawg

November 22nd, 2011
8:21 am

And I can remember the way he said muschamp really fast with a hard m. What a great voice .

bulldawg/thomas brown said we would go 12-2 in 2010

November 22nd, 2011
8:52 am

No one better at doing his craft.

You are already missed Larry.

Ted

November 22nd, 2011
8:55 am

Look at the tears falling in the stands, Look at the tears falling in the stands…….

If ever a moment of silence was called for during a radio broadcast of a Dawgs game, it will be just before Opening Kick-Off this Saturday.

Rest Larry, Rest…………Larry Munson! Larry Munson! Larry Munson! Thank God there was a Larry Munson!!!

Dawg_Mike

November 22nd, 2011
9:03 am

“they keep running at us with that little track guy”
“they are bigger and faster than we are but we just keep hanging in there”
” We’re gonna line up and kick one here- looks like a mile”
” yeah…yeah…yeah…”

Thanks Larry –

As a teenager I fell in love with the Dawgs in the 70s and thank God I was able to hear most of your classic calls live.
You will always be missed and never forgotten.