23 Aug 2014
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Voice of the UGA Bulldogs Silenced

Legendary football broadcaster Larry Munson dead at 89.

Voice of the UGA Bulldogs Silenced

You just couldn't forget that voice.

One minute, it was as if someone were shaking gravel in a milk carton, the next, it would soar higher and higher with excitement, ending almost in the stratosphere of sound heard only by poodles. Larry Munson, who broadcast the Georgia Bulldogs football games for decades, wasn't a dispassioned observer mechanically telling listeners what was happening on the field, he was the 12th player on the team.

He died Sunday night in Athens of complications from pneumonia, according to his son Michael. Funeral arrangements haven't been announced.

Munson wore his red-and-black heart on his sleeve, which was also red and black. The 1980 season, when the Dawgs marched like Sherman through Georgia to the SEC and National Champtionships, proved an emotional rollercoaster for Munson and his voice. He was so amazed -- as during the 1980 Georgia vs. Florida game -- he would fixate on a few simple words, such as "Lindsay Scott! Lindsay Scott! Lindsay Scott!"

“Larry Munson was loved by thousands of alumni and friends, and was completely devoted to this university and all its athletic teams," said in a news release. "He will be greatly missed by all of us."

Munson left the Dawgs and Sanford Stadium in the fall of 2008, having been there 42 years.

For someone so beloved by Georgians, Munson wasn't a Georgia native, or even a Southerner. According to UGA, he was born in Minneapolis and was graduated from Moorehead State Teachers College in Moorehead, Minn.  After serving in WWII, he enrolled in broadcasters school, then went to work at a radio station in Devil's Lake, N.D.

He eventually landed in Cheyenne, Wyoming, where he became friends with Curt Gowdy, who was calling University of Wyoming football and basketball games. Gowdy left Cheyenne for a baseball job in Oklahoma City and suggested Munson as his replacement.

Munson worked in Oklahoma City, Nashville, Tenn., and then Georgia in the mid-1960s, where he landed a job calling Atlanta Braves baseball in their inaugural season. As the Braves’ first spring training began, he read that Georgia football announcer Ed Thilenius was leaving and got in touch with UGA athletics director Joel Eaves. Eaves, who knew Munson from his time at Vanderbilt, offered him the Georgia football job on the spot.

Munson was not only the Bulldogs’ play-by-play man, but also called games for the Georgia basketball program from 1987-96 and for the Atlanta Falcons from 1989-92 and hosted a number of radio and television sports talk shows.

In 1983, Munson was recognized by the Georgia General Assembly for his role in the Georgia championship football program. In 1997, the legislature aproved a proclamation celebrating his 50 years in broadcasting.

Munson was inducted into the Georgia Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 1994, and into the State of Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 2005. He was inducted into the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame on May 2, 2009.

Good-bye, Larry. You will be missed.

What's your favorite Munson moment? Tell us in the comments.

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