Paying Tribute to Larry Munson – Part III

Larry Munson was a Damn Good Dawg
Whether he was pointing out Georgia’s silver britches, or asking UGA to hunker down, Larry Munson’s unique approach to play-by-play will always be directly linked to Georgia football.  Here are Munson’s two favorite calls of all-time according to his autobiography.  To reiterate, this information is also found in an ESPN Insider article written by David Ching on November 21, 2011.  Read part IIRead part I.

2. Lindsay Scott, Lindsay Scott, Lindsay Scott!
The verbiage Munson used on November 8, 1980, is part of a defining moment in Georgia football history. The Bulldogs and the Florida Gators were together again to renew their storied rivalry.  I remember hearing one Florida Gator recall UF was in cover three trying to keep their lead intact during the final moments of the game while the Dawgs hunted a miracle.

Fortunately for Georgia fans, miracles do happen. UGA QB Buck Belue hit Lindsay Scott with a pass, which caused Larry Munson to plead with the wide receiver not to stop running until he got in the end zone.

“Run, Lindsay!” Munson says, later adding, “Lindsay Scott! Lindsay Scott, Lindsay Scott!” as he crosses the goal line. As he reflects on the touchdown, Munson tells listeners, “I broke my chair. I came right through a chair. A metal steel chair with about a 5-inch cushion. I broke it. The booth came apart. The stadium, well, the stadium fell down. Now they do have to renovate this thing. They’ll have to rebuild it now.”



1. The Hobnail Boot
I like to refer to this as the moment I realized how deeply my passion for Georgia football runs. Until “The Hobnail Boot,” I always cheered on the Dawgs, but I was not yet emotionally invested. The credit goes to Larry Munson for changing my outlook forever.

It was October 6, 2001, and UGA was still warming up to the Mark Richt era.  The Tennessee Volunteers went back and forth all day long with the visiting Bulldogs, in Neyland Stadium and the game looked to be all over but the whining after Tennessee took the lead on a 62 yard screen pass from Casey Clausen to Travis Stepehens with less than a minute to go in the contest.

However, Georgia would get good field position with 38 seconds left in the game as they started from their own 41. A few wonderfully executed plays later, and Georgia was all the way down to the Tennessee six yard-line with about ten seconds remaining.  Bulldog quarterback David Green found Verron Haynes for the game-winning score.

What followed was a moment that only Larry Munson could wordsmith.

“My God a touchdown! We threw it to Haynes! My God almighty we dumped it over. It is 26 to 24. David Greene just straightened up and found Haynes. Haynes is keeping the ball. We just crushed their face! We stepped on their face with a Hobnail boot and broke their nose!



Turn the Television Down and the Radio Up
Many Georgia fans watched UGA play with the television on mute with the radio blaring because they wanted to be able to hear Larry Munson. Munson brought a certain atmosphere to Georgia games, and he had a bond with Bulldog Nation that could never be duplicated, especially in the days of neutral television commentary.

Larry Munson did not Call the Game. He Told the Audience a Story
Referring to Larry Munson as a play-by-play man does not do his legacy justice.  Munson is considered the voice of the Bulldogs because he went out of his way to describe every crucial moment, encourage Georgia to always play their best, and to make every UGA gridiron triumph seem much more important than just winning a football game.

Randy Smith, a writer for The Chattanoogan said it best, “With apologies to the college sportscasters of today, there will never be another Larry Munson.  Love him or hate him, he made a lasting mark on his profession.”

Glory Glory to Ole Georgia/Larry Munson’s Legacy Lives Forever
With every fall Saturday in Athens, Larry Munson’s voice can be heard throughout Sanford Stadium. Before the Georgoa Bulldogs take the field,  Munson’s unmistakable tone leads the crowd in the Battle Hymn of the Bulldog Nation. Though a new breed of Bulldog does indeed lead the charge, the indelible paw print Munson left on Georgia Football will last forever.  As illustrated below, the hymn always ends the same way any good Bulldog presentation should, with Larry Munson’s voice saying, GO DAWGS!



Paying Tribute to Larry Munson – Part II



Larry Munson Calls the Dawgs
In 1966 Larry Munson was working in West Palm Beach, Florida, covering spring training for the Atlanta Braves.  According to Wikipedia, Munson was browsing the Atlanta Journal, (now known as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution) when he noticed a blurb about Georgia Bulldog radio play-by-play man Ed Thilenius leaving The University of Georgia to take a broadcasting position with the Atlanta Falcons.

Larry Munson seized the opportunity and called the UGA athletic director to express interest in being the new voice radio voice of Georgia football.  He was quickly hired.  Despite the location of his new job, Munson continued living in Tennessee to maintain his Rod & Gun Club television show.  Larry Munson resided in Nashville until 1978 when he moved to Atlanta, Georgia, to work as a reporter for the Georgia Radio Network.

A Match Made In Bulldog Heaven
Larry Munson’s distinct voice set the tone for UGA football for over 40 years.  Former Georgia sideline reporter Loran Smith told the Gwinnett Daily Post that Munson was cut from a different mold than the sportswriters of today.  Larry Munson was a master at his craft while openly rooting for Georgia, which is one of the many reasons Munson will forever be revered by Bulldog Nation.

Larry Munson’s Favorite Calls of All-Time
Rather than opining about personal favorite Larry Munson moments, it is best to track down Munson’s fondest bellows according to the memoirs he left behind.  The historic memories that follow can be found in an ESPN Insider CFB Nation article written by David Ching on November 21, 2011.

Larry Munson’s ten favorite calls are chronicled in the article, which is written according to Munson’s autobiography, “From Herschel to Hobnail Boot: The Life and Times of Larry Munson. For the purposes of this blog, his top five calls are remembered.

5. Sugar Falling From the Sky/Hunker Down!
Larry Munson’s work on the Georgia/Auburn game in ’82 has likely been brought up during every UGA football season since it occurred on November 13, 1982. The Dawgs put on their rally cleats to stage a comeback and grab the from the Auburn Tigers.  Munson made it sound as if the Bulldogs were hanging on for dear life.

I know I’m asking a lot, you guys, but hunker it down one more time!” UGA responded by stopping Auburn on fourth down, which led to an observation which will live forever in Georgia football lure. “Look at the sugar falling out of the sky.”  Hear the call at larrymunson.com.

4.  My God a Freshman
I regret that I was not conceived yet, so that I could at least lay claim to being alive in some form when Herschel Walker announced his arrival in Athens. It was on September 6, 1980 and the Dawgs found themselves trailing the Tennessee Volunteers.

Enter freshman running back Herschel Walker. Larry Munson’s rousing reaction to Herschel’s heroics soon followed. “He’s running all over people! Oh, you, Herschel Walker.  My God almighty, he ran right through two men. They had him dead-away inside the nine. Herschel Walker went 16 yards. He drove right over orange shirts, just driving and running with those big thighs. My God, a freshman!“  Hear the call.



3.  An Olympic Effort
Florida Gators football is nauseating.  From the obnoxious Gator chomp celebration, to the ridiculous statue of Tim Tebow, everything about the swamp sucks. In 1975, the Bulldogs used some trickery to pry a win from the jaws of the Gators. With Georgia in a 7-3 hole, UGA head coach Vince Dooley called a reverse pass.

To the delight of UGA fans, Larry Munson roared during the ensuing touchdown which propelled Georgia to a 10-7 victory over UF.  “Washington caught it, thinking of Montreal and the Olympics, and ran out of his shoes right down the middle 80 yards! Gator Bowl rocking, stunned, the girders are bending now. Look at the score!”  Hear the call.

The final two calls will be remembered in part III of our tribute to Larry Munson. We will also share a bit of personal recollection on what impression the Bulldog legend left on every Georgia fan who heard him call a football game.

Paying Tribute to Larry Munson – Part I

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Larry Munson is a Cornerstone of UGA Football Tradition

Over two generations of Bulldog Nation heard Larry Munson’s gravelly tone every Saturday while he provided Georgia fans everywhere with chills and thrills.  Munson voiced the soundtrack to the historic memories and moments that unfolded on the gridiron during the four decades that he spent passionately calling Georgia football.

Rather than one long article, it is best to allow our admiration for Larry Munson to span multiple posts.  This piece focuses on the late Larry Munson’s life before he broadcasted UGA football.   The subsequent two posts that follow will center around his legendary tenure between the hedges, and his legacy that grows with every Saturday in Athens.

A Short Biography
The man born Lawrence Harry Munson came into the world on September 28, 1922.  He grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and he was a two-sport athlete in college at Minnesota State University Moorhead.  Munson played both ways on the football field, lining up as a defensive end, as well as at the offensive tackle position.  The iconic announcer also played basketball at MSUM as a center and a guard.

Larry Munson Served His Country/First Announcing Experience
Before Larry Munson ever picked up a microphone, he served in the United States Army as a medic during World War II.  When he returned from duty, Munson used all $200 of the mustering-out pay that he earned to attend a Minneapolis radio broadcasting school.  His first official experience announcing sporting events happened when he made $15 dollars per week to introduce boxers and wrestlers to crowds at a Minneapolis venue.

Take Me out to the Ball Game, Mr. Munson
Thanks to a recommendation from a friend, Larry Munson was hired as the announcer for a minor league baseball team located Oklahoma City in 1946. Unwittingly, the same friend played a key role in bringing Larry Munson to the state of Georgia because Munson gained valuable experience doing play-by-play for minor league football and baseball teams while in the Sooner State.

Larry Munson was Once a Commodore/The Rod & Gun Club
Prior to becoming the voice of the Bulldogs, Larry Munson moved to Tennessee in 1952, where he worked as the caller for the Vanderbilt Commodores on WKDA, a local radio station in Nashville.  He did the play-by-play during Vanderbilt football and basketball games for the better part of the 1950s.  It was during this time that Munson started his own hunting and fishing television show, titled The Rod & Gun Club. The program first aired on local television in Nashville.

Larry Munson was an Original Member of the Atlanta Braves Broadcast Team
After successfully holding jobs doing play-by-play for the Vanderbilt Commodores, coupled with his minor league baseball and football expertise, Munson was hired to be part of the first broadcasting team for the Atlanta Braves when the team relocated from Milwakee to Atlanta in 1966. 

Battle Hymn of The Bulldog Nation – Georgia Football Traditions

Larry Munson's voice will ring out from between the hedges forever. A video of the battle hymn can be found below.Sanford Stadium is the ideal place for members of Bulldog Nation to gather on a Saturday afternoon to cheer on our Georgia Bulldogs. There are many memorable moments that define one’s  experience between the hedges, and the Battle Hymn of The Bulldog Nation is a personal favorite of mine.

Led by iconic Georgia Bulldog football announcer Larry Munson, the anthem inspires “Glory, Glory to Ole Georgia” before paying homage to great Bulldog players from the past. The hymn is also accompanied by video highlights on the scoreboard of Sanford Stadium, showing great moments in UGA football history. Included in this Dawg retrospective are memories such as: Herschel Walker running over Bill Bates, the hob nail boot, and Lindsay Scott running for his life to overcome the Florida Gators in 1980.

The Battle Hymn of The Bulldog Nation is an important reminder of the tradition that comes with being a Georgia Bulldog. On a personal level, my heart swells with pride each time I hear Larry Munson encourage Bulldog Nation to cheer for the “new breed” of Bulldogs that are about to take the field on a given fall Saturday in Athens.

The best thing about this particular University of Georgia tradition is that it is timeless. As long as UGA has a football team, the Battle Hymn of The Bulldog Nation will be woven into the fabric of the University of Georgia during home football games. While some of the highlights may change with time, Larry Munson’s unforgettable voice will forever narrate the Battle Hymn of the Bulldog Nation. Munson’s body may be gone, but his memory will live forever thanks to his unforgettable calls, and unbridled passion for the Georgia Bulldogs.