Today turned out to be a sad day for me. On my way home from work, after a fairly easy work day with nice weather, I learned that Larry Munson, the voice of the Georgia Bulldogs, announced his retirement today. His last game was the game against Central Michigan on September 6. For at least two generations of Dawgs, Munson was all we knew, until his health problems started to slow him down enough to back off from covering away games last year. Now we’ll have to get used to home games without his familiar gravelly calls. His 42 years of covering the Bulldogs has carried him to just before his 86th birthday.
It seems like he’s been in the booth forever (at least all my life), and it’s hard to believe he’s not a born-and-bred Georgia boy. The ultimate “homer,” Munson never hid his partisanship. In fact, it’s that unabashed love of the team he covered that gave us so many memorable calls:
“Look at the sugar falling out of the sky!”
“We just stepped on their face with a hobnail boot and broke their nose. We crushed their face.”
“He’s running over people… Oh, you Herschel Walker!”
“Lindsay Scott! Lindsay Scott!”
“He cleared the pile!”
“We saved ourselves. No we didn’t; Old Lady Luck saved us.”
“I gave up; you did too.”
“Man, is there gonna be some property destroyed tonight!”
And way more than that.
I had the privilege of meeting Larry Munson three times. Two times when I worked for BellSouth Mobility, he did autograph sessions. During the slow points, I went out on the sales floor and had conversations with him. He was the same man in a one-on-one conversation as he was in the booth. And my brother Matt and I spoke with him at the 2000 UGA football banquet (the notorious one, held the week Jim Donnan was fired). He came up to Matt and me, patted us on the back, and spoke to us like old, dear friends.
And now I’m sad. Presumably, he’ll never be in the booth again, and I’ll miss him. We have a top notch broadcaster…one for the ages, I’m confident…in Scott Howard (“One and done, baby!”). I’m excited at the opportunity for him and know he’ll be a classic in his own right, but nobody will ever be quite the broadcaster that Larry Munson has been.