For more than 43 years, Larry Munson was the definitive voice of the Georgia Bulldogs, drawing in listeners with his euphoniously gravely sound. And for 43 years, Munson, who died Sunday at the age of 89, was unabashed in letting it be known that his cheering predilections would always have him coming out on the side of the Bulldogs.
A university statement said Munson died at his Athens home of complications from pneumonia, according to his son, Michael, The Associated Press reported.
The play-by-play announcer for the Bulldogs from 1966 to 2008, Munson was particularly known for his emotionally-laced quirky calls. Hunker down! he would yell when the team found itself in key situations.
I probably really made some bad calls, Munson said in 2007. That was probably too much emotion. I was probably too much of a homer. A homer's someone who pulls too much for his team. And I've done that.
When Lindsay Scott ran for a 93-yard touchdown reception against Florida, which kept the Bulldogs on course for the 1980 national championship, Munson yelled, much to the delight of fans, Run, Lindsay, run! And after telling fans he broke right through his steel chair during Scott's run, Munson said thrilled Georgia fans from Jacksonville to Jekyll Island, Ga., just might follow in his footsteps. Man, is there gonna be some property destroyed tonight! he yelled.
In 2001, during Mark Richt's first season as coach, Munson, moved by a last-second win over Tennessee, exclaimed, We just stepped on their face with a hobnailed boot and broke their nose! We just crushed their face!
But this is precisely what generations of fans loved about him.
If you ask the average Georgia fan who best represents the spirit of Georgia football, it wouldn't be a player or coach, former Georgia quarterback and head coach Ray Goff told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. It would be Larry Munson. He cared about Georgia and our fans loved him for it. There will never be another one like him.
Munson's broadcasting career covered more than 60 years. In 1966, not long after becoming the voice of the Atlanta Braves baseball club, Munson also joined the University of Georgia's broadcast team.
His death came one day after Georgia clinched a spot in the Southeastern Conference championship game for the first time since 2005.
Born on September 28, 1922, in Minneapolis, Munson got his first radio job after World War II at a small station in Devil's Lake, North Dakota. He then worked in Wyoming, announcing minor league baseball games in Oklahoma City and Nashville, and eventually doing football and basketball contest at Vanderbilt, CNN reported.
Munson remained part of the organization until 2008, when he suddenly retired at the age of 86. The next year he was inducted into the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame.
He's like a folk hero. He has that special style people love and relate to, said former Georgia coach Vince Dooley said after retiring in the 1990s. But I'd come out of the hotel on Saturday mornings rested after a good game and run into Munson and he's say, 'You see how fast their receivers are? How we going to run with them?' I'd say, 'Munson get away from me.' The man is a worrier. He drove me crazy as a coach.
Funeral arrangements have not been determined.