Monday Sept. 22, 2008
ATHENS-------Legendary University of Georgia football play-by-play announcer Larry Munson, who began broadcasting Bulldog games in 1966, has announced his retirement from the booth.
Munson has done only home games thus far this season and in 2007; however, he has decided that the Central Michigan broadcast on Sept. 6, was his last. The current road game booth crew of Scott Howard and Eric Zeier will finish out the 2008 season handling home and away games.
“I can’t express enough my deep feelings toward the Georgia football fans,” said Munson. “They have been so friendly especially during this most recent period of time. I feel I owe them so much more than I can give. I’ll remember all the great times with the Dogs and have the fondest wishes and good luck toward them all.”
“Larry made the decision over the weekend after consultation with his family, doctor, and close friends,” said Michael Munson, Larry’s son. “The Munson family would like to thank Cox Radio, the University of Georgia and the Georgia people who have been so supportive of Larry throughout his long career and especially the last several months following his surgery in April. Larry plans to celebrate his 86th birthday this weekend watching the Alabama game with family and close friends.”
Michael Munson also indicated that after 60 years in broadcasting, Larry told him “There are lots of things I still want to do.”
“I want to thank Larry Munson on behalf of this great university for 42 dedicated years of delivering the Georgia Bulldogs to fans on fall Saturday's around the world,” said UGA Director of Athletics Damon Evans. “I truly appreciate his return at the start of this season from surgery to give us all another opportunity to hear him describe the tradition and pageantry of Georgia football as only he could do it. This is a day that we all knew would come for the Bulldog Nation, Larry Munson is and will always be a part of what is great about being a Georgia Bulldog.”
Munson’s dramatic delivery, along with an unabashed partisanship for the Bulldogs, has endeared him to generations of UGA fans.
“Larry Munson has given the bulk of his professional life in the service of the Bulldog Nation and we thank him for it,” said UGA President Dr. Michael F. Adams. “He has been a unifying element and rallying point for many years. We are grateful for his many contributions and wish for him improved health and many good times to come.”
“We fully support Larry’s wishes and can’t thank him enough for the thrilling play-by-play he’s given the Bulldog Nation and WSB through the years,” said Cox Radio, Inc. Chief Operating Officer Marc Morgan
Born Sept. 28, 1921, in Minneapolis, Munson is an alumnus of Moorehead State Teachers College in Moorehead, Minn. After World War II, he used his military discharge pay to enroll in broadcaster's school back home in Minneapolis. He followed 10 weeks of training by landing an assignment to work at a small radio station in Devil's Lake, N.D.
This job started a series of short-term jobs for Munson behind the microphone, the last of which took him to Cheyenne, Wyoming. He had gotten the job by recording an audition tape of a football game between Ohio State and Minnesota, replete with canned crowd noise and special effects.
During his time in Cheyenne, Munson befriended another young broadcaster who later gained national fame: Curt Gowdy, who was calling University of Wyoming football and basketball games at the time. When Gowdy left Cheyenne for a Double A baseball job in Oklahoma City, he recommended that Munson replace him. It was the break that Munson sought.
In 1949, when Gowdy joined Mel Allen on the New York Yankees radio crew, he again recommended Munson for the job in Oklahoma City. Munson eventually spent three years broadcasting baseball there before making his next move.
He left Oklahoma City for Nashville, Tenn., in 1952, taking a job calling games for the Nashville Vols, a minor-league affiliate of several teams, including the New York Giants, Cincinnati and Minnesota. It was a career move that led him into other broadcasting directions. He served a stint as a Nashville disc jockey and also started what was believed to have been the first-ever TV show on fishing. Munson continued to host the fishing show long after he left Nashville for Georgia in the mid-1960s.
While in Nashville, Munson also made his second venture into collegiate athletics. He called Vanderbilt University football and basketball games over the powerful airwaves of AM station WSM.
But in 1966 Munson got his big break into major-league baseball when he landed a job calling Atlanta Braves baseball in their inaugural season. As the Braves' first spring training began, he read a newspaper story about the departure of Georgia football announcer Ed Thilenius. He then made an inquiry to UGA athletics director Joel Eaves, whom he had known during his days at Vanderbilt. Eaves offered him the Georgia football job during that first phone call.
During his career as the Bulldogsí play-by-play man, Munson has held a variety of auxiliary jobs. He called games for the Georgia basketball program from 1987-96 and for the Atlanta Falcons from 1989-92. He has also hosted various sports talk shows on radio and TV.