Don’t talk over Larry Munson during an interview. He won’t snap at you – he’s not a mean person, but you may miss a tidbit of information he’s gathered during his Hall of Fame career in broadcasting.
Munson, the voice of the Dawgs, entered his 40th season as Georgia’s play-by-play man in 2005. There was a lot to look forward to with him in the booth each Saturday, and even more to look back at over his legendary lifetime.
Wildlife and wind – Munson’s early broadcasting days
“I don’t have much of an idea why I decided to go to radio school. I was home and they gave you $200 for discharge pay (Munson was a medic in the Army). I heard a commercial on a radio station literally begging for announcers. All the guys that used to work in radio had gone to war and no one was home yet. There were radio schools popping up everywhere, so I went to one of those and it cost me my $200. They guaranteed you a job, though, and I got a job out of it,” said Munson.
Munson, a Minnesota native, was off to the West to start his career in radio. His first job was in Devil’s Lake, North Dakota. But he soon moved on.
“I wanted to do sports,” he said. “So I took a job out in Cheyenne, Wyoming.”
“Wyoming was different from anywhere. The wind was one factor; and the cold, I thought, was worse than Minnesota because we did a lot of games – there were no press boxes when you did high school and stuff – sometimes we just had a card table down on the sideline; there were no bleachers. We would wrap up in blankets we had taken out of the motel room. The wind would be blowing snow sideways, and it was really cold.”
Munson, who had never been in a place like Wyoming, was taken aback by the view, but sometimes the view was dangerous.
“Wyoming was a beautiful, stunning state – it was just stunning. You saw so much wildlife; you had to be careful driving all of the time because the deer or the antelope were in big groups, and sometimes they were walking right down the road. There were no expressways built yet, so you really got to see a lot of wildlife.”
Munson, who is a passionate fisherman to this day, tried to get used to the type of fish coming from the western streams, but the size of the fish was too much to take.
“I tried to get myself into trout fishing,” Munson admitted, “but I couldn’t, because the trout were so small that it really bothered me. I didn’t have a lot of interest in that; it’s just that while you were trout fishing you were looking at such great scenery – including the stream itself. Wyoming was a heck of a beautiful state.”
While in Wyoming, Munson met one of the most famous announcers ever – Curt Gowdy – who gave him advice that changed his life.
“The guy whose job I accidentally took in Wyoming had moved on to the Yankees – and that was Curt Gowdy –he told me that I would never make any money unless I got into baseball,” Munson said. “He told me how to find a baseball job – where to look. I found a AA Minor League baseball job, and I just took off for Nashville. It was the Nashville Vols. Immediately I doubled or tripled my salary because you are talking about 154 baseball games every year added onto what you were currently doing, so you were doing games all of the time.”
Munson had just come from a part of the country whose trouble was weather. When he arrived in the South, Munson stepped into a place that was dealing with its own problems.
“I remember when I got off the train in Nashville I saw a sign on a water fountain – ‘FOR WHITES ONLY’. I saw signs on restrooms in the railroad depot. I had never seen the black and the white signs before,” said Munson of the Jim Crow laws in Nashville when he arrived. The new surroundings didn’t detract Munson from his goals in broadcasting.
“I started Vandy basketball immediately. Nobody had ever broadcast those games anywhere ever. I had been doing Wyoming basketball for two winters, and I saw how big basketball was in Wyoming. They had a huge field house even way back then. Basketball had the whole state tied up because the football team couldn’t win a game. The basketball team was pretty special,” he said.
Munson convinced the owner of the Nashville radio station that Vanderbilt basketball could be just as big as Wyoming basketball was out west.
“I talked the guy that owned the radio station in Nashville into (broadcasting Vanderbilt) basketball. It was the only college in the town. He was all for it because he was an alumnus, and that’s what we did. We got lucky because they had never even had guys on scholarship. Right at that time they decided they would start to meaten things up and they went out and got five scholarship players. Overnight, Vanderbilt was trying to challenge Kentucky. The town went nuts,” he said.
Soon thereafter, Munson got the chance of a lifetime. The Milwaukee Braves were leaving Wisconsin and coming down south to Atlanta. It was something that Munson’s idols Curt Gowdy and Mel Allen had successfully done – moved from a starting job in radio to a play-by-play position for a major league baseball team.
“The Braves brought me down to Atlanta,” said Munson. “All of us that came down for the Braves were from the North.”
Atlanta’s players back then were a who’s who of big names in today’s baseball world. Hank Aaron, Joe Torre, and Phillipe Alou were all playing for the Braves when Munson was broadcasting for the team. He remembers them all well.
“Henry Aaron was quiet. He had very quick wrists – I remember that. His bat speed was really something. He was a fine athlete; he ran really well. Joe Torre was an All-Star catcher for us. Phillipe Alou was another outfielder and a good hitter. Both of them ended up managing for some time. Both years I was with them we started strong, but by June 15th we were sliding below the middle of the pack,” said Munson of the Braves.
When asked about Aaron’s home run record, the legendary play-by-play man said he felt “the steroid guys will catch Henry” eventually.
One day in 1966 Munson saw in a newspaper that legendary Georgia play-by-play man Ed Thilenius was leaving the Bulldogs to be the play-by-play man for the newest NFL franchise – the Atlanta Falcons. Munson picked up the phone and called Georgia’s Athletic Director Joel Eaves to let him know of his interest in the job. It worked – Munson was hired and started the 1966 season as Georgia’s play-by-play man.
Vince Dooley with Larry Munson. (UGA SID)
That was the same season Vince Dooley took over the football program. Dooley didn’t know quite what to make of Munson.
“He wasn’t my ideal,” Dooley told Ray Glier in a 1992 article for Street & Smith’s Sports Weekly. Dooley would listen to Munson worry about the size, speed, and power of the opposition. “He drove me crazy as a coach,” said Dooley.
At the same time Munson was driving Dooley up the wall, he was driving himself back and forth from Nashville to Athens, or wherever Georgia played. It was a difficult time for him. For ten years Munson announced high school football games in Nashville and then, right after the games, he would make the drive to wherever the Bulldogs were playing. Then he rushed back to Nashville for his fishing show that taped early Sunday morning. It was exhausting.
“I had to shoot the fishing show for TV every Sunday morning. I met the other fishermen and the camera men at 2:45 every Sunday morning at a Waffle House on I-70 in Tennessee. I would come driving out of, gosh, Clemson, Tuscaloosa, wherever, and get home some nights at 11:30 PM. I would just fall in the bed. Then the alarm went off at 2 AM. I had my (fishing) gear spread out on the floor, and I put it on and picked up the cameras and the rest and went out the door.”
Why all the travel and stress for Munson? He was trying to make a living.
“There was a good talent fee involved in those early days of the fishing shows. I did them for 26 years. When you suddenly have an extra $100 a week over and above your salary – you got so used to that money that you didn’t want to get rid of it,” he said
In the early days, before the time of the kickoffs changed, Munson had another option for getting back home.
“There used to be a 6:30 flight out of the Atlanta airport every Saturday night for St. Louis, but it stopped in Nashville first. By literally running I could catch that plane every Saturday night,” he said. He added that the Georgia State Patrol helped him find shortcuts.
But in the early 1980’s, television, a fixture in college football now, started to assert itself. To this day, Munson thinks TV has all but ruined the product of college football and has, without question, ended the importance of a radio broadcast of the game. With the arrival of TV and its control of scheduling, Munson surely could not get back to Nashville at a decent hour.
“You could only be on TV once a year. They used to control it real tight, and they didn’t drop those controls until 1984. That’s when cable came. They took it to court, even the Supreme Court, I think, and they won. They wanted to have a game on constantly. The schools took it to court and won the case, and it opened up things completely overnight. Instead of having a game once a week on ABC, let’s say, all of a sudden it was on every network. The real killer was taking the NCAA into court and defeating them – which they did. They forced the NCAA to open up and take all of the rules and restrictions off and let everyone televise as many games as they wanted to. They could televise their whole season, one game, seven games – whatever. When they did that everything went nuts. And, as you know, that’s when ESPN was built. There was no ESPN before that.”
“Now there are 14 games every Saturday. From 10:45 in the morning to midnight out west. I would surely think that a lot of kids grew up, went through high school and got to college and just didn’t pay any attention to radio announcers. Television is everything now, and radio is nothing in comparison.”
“In the old days, before TV, college football (radio) announcers were really big in the sports world because people didn’t have a way to see any games or anything because games were not on television. You had a big audience,” he said.
Beyond all that, Munson also resents the lengthening of the games, the timeouts, the commercials, and the constant changing of the kickoff times TV brings with it.
Another product, coaches’ shows on television and radio, started popping up around the country. The idea trickled down to Georgia after Kentucky had successfully implemented a basketball coaching show. The ratings were good and so Georgia was interested in doing the same thing.
“All of a sudden, the coaches’ talk shows got started, and you could not get home the next day because there was something that you had to do. When the coaches’ shows started, not only did the coaches make some money out of it, and the sponsors were doing well, but it took a whole crew of men to do the coaches’ show. Those coaches’ shows really took up the radio guy – they had to get home (after the game). There was no way you could stay over. They started around 1979.”
Television is the one factor that Munson seems to have grown tired of in the landscape of college football. Networks dictate the starting time of nearly all of Georgia’s games each season. The Bulldogs, one of the most successful programs in college football, have been on television 228 times. Television, to use a Munson term, has “monkeyed” around too much with college football.
Priceless radio – Working with Munson
Scott Howard and Neil Williamson have been working with Munson for about a third of his career. Both have been there with Munson during some of his most memorable calls. But they both admit that sometimes they are not aware of how great a particular call is the moment it happens.
“When we are broadcasting the game there is so much going on that we have to have our eyes on,” said Williamson, a close friend of Munson’s as well as flagship WSB’s Director of Sports Marketing. “Everything is moving at such a rapid pace that when it happens, you don’t know. You are always in the moment. When Larry makes a call, like the ‘Hobnail Boot call’, that’s just Larry talking. You never sit back and admire Larry’s call because there is always something that has to be done next.”
Larry Munson with the crew in the 1970s. (UGA SID)
Williamson works with Munson during the games, but it’s Howard that is on air with him during the broadcast. He said it was intimidating at first.
“I didn’t want to step on his toes when I first started working with him,” said Howard, who enters his 13th season with the radio crew this fall and is also the school’s basketball play-by-play man. “I grew up listening to him just like everyone else did. That job didn’t come with a book that says: these are the rules. I got the job and went in and tried to tip-toe my way into it.”
“When the game is on the line – that is when people want to tune in and listen to him. That’s when they get their money’s worth, because he is just about breathless at the end of the ball games. If there are three minutes to go, and the game is tied, and Georgia has the ball, driving to win the game, that is priceless radio,” said Howard.
Howard said when he reviews broadcasts he tries to better himself, all the while enjoying his on-air partner.
“I listen to me and think about how I can get better. I listen to Munson and enjoy it. I just try to fit into the broadcast. I’ll try to slip something in and try to add a little color to the broadcast,” continued Howard. “He has great passion. His ability to spin a yarn is pretty good, too. He can describe something that happens, repetitively, in many different ways. I look forward to Saturdays more than anything else.
Jeff Dantzler, the color man for Georgia’s basketball program, has also been affected greatly by growing up listening to Munson. Georgia basketball and baseball fans can certainly hear the influence Munson has had on him.
“I don’t want to say that I try to imitate him – I probably do some things that I picked up from him just because he was the first guy that I listened to the most. I just always loved the passion that Larry brought to the game. He has a unique way of making you feel emotional about the game,” Dantzler said.
“There have been a lot of great announcers, but he’s my favorite – I think he’s the best announcer ever. I also think he is the most beloved. I don’t think any school has had the kind of affection that the Georgia people have for Larry Munson. I’ve have always said that there is a Mt. Rushmore of Georgia athletics with Dan McGill, Herschel Walker, Vince Dooley, and Larry Munson. Is Larry the most popular Bulldog ever? I don’t know, but he is certainly on that Mt. Rushmore. He just might be the most popular figure in the history of Georgia sports,” said Dantzler, who just concluded his tenth season as play-by-play man for the Georgia baseball team.
“He has always been great to me. He was one of my heroes growing up. To get to know and meet a guy with the stature of Larry Munson and then for him to be a great guy – that’s extra special,” said Dantzler.
Well… my name is Kelly – The 1980 Florida call
Much has been written and said about Georgia’s 1980 National Championship, but Larry Munson’s call of the play that propelled the Dawgs to the title sums everything up. It is the most famous play in Georgia football history, and Munson’s call adds icing to the cake.
Georgia’s most bitter rival, Florida, has the Bulldogs on the ropes. It’s third down, and the Dawgs have little time on the clock. The Gators are already celebrating what seems to be their massive upset of the top team in the SEC. The win would have likely propelled the Gators, not Georgia, to the Sugar Bowl thanks to a few ties and other upsets in the conference. The loss would have been devastating for Georgia – perhaps the golden age of the early 1980s would have never happened without it.
It was a dark time for the Bulldog Nation.
Just when all hope was lost, Buck Belue, Georgia’s junior quarterback from Valdosta, scrambled to find the soon-to-be very famous Lindsay Scott. Belue completed the pass to Scott. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Lindsay Scott takes off for the game winner against Florida in 1980. (UGA SID)
“Florida in a stand-up five, they may or may not blitz – they won’t, Buck back third down on the 8, in trouble, got a block behind him going to throw on the run, complete on the 25 to the 30, Lindsay Scott 35, 40, Lindsay Scott 45, 50, 45, 40. ... Run Lindsay, 25, 20, 15, 10, 5, Lindsay Scott! Lindsay Scott! Lindsay Scott!”
“Well, I can’t believe it – 92 yards and Lindsay really got in a foot race. I broke my chair. I came right through a chair, a metal, steel chair with about a five-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 will have to rebuild it now. I…This, this is incredible. I didn’t mean to beg Lindsay to run, but I had to. 26-21 with a passing attack that wasn’t working all day, and Lindsay caught it, I think, the 25 or 30 or so – no timeouts left in the game.
”You know, this game has always been called the World’s Greatest Cocktail Party – do you know what is going to happen here tonight, and up in St. Simons, and Jekyll Island, and all those places where all those Dawg people have got these condominiums for four days? Man is there going to be some property destroyed tonight.”
“26 to 21 – Dawgs on top. We were gone, I gave up – you did, too. We were out of it and gone. Miracle.”
You can hear the play on any Saturday afternoon in the fall. Georgia fans play it on their way to the game in their cars and while tailgating. If that’s not enough, you can hear nearly everyone in the stadium scream “‘Run, Lindsay, Run!” before every game when the play is shown on Sanford Stadium’s giant big-screen monitor.
Munson has been asked about the call more often than he can remember. Sure, he recalls the play itself, but Lindsay Scott is not the player he mentions first.
“The main thing I still remember from the game is that I can still see the number – the number was 65,” said Munson. “That was a guard of ours, Nat Hudson, who straightened up and came across running, and Buck Belue had floated to his right to throw. Buck was about to get pulled down from behind – and didn’t know it. Nat Hudson got his shoulder into that guy and moved that guy about two feet off. The guy missed him, and Buck threw. That play would never have worked, but Hudson threw the block. I saw the block just as plain as day.”
Hudson’s block sprung Belue to scramble from out of his own end zone and gave him enough time to get the ball to a wide open Scott. The quarterback says he relives the moment ever time he hears Munson’s call.
“My brother has a montage of Munson’s greatest calls that he listens to in the car sometimes,” said Belue. “When I get into the car I always hear the Florida call. It brings chill bumps. The memories of that day come back so easily listening to him.”
Belue, who most certainly never has to buy his own drink in the coastal Georgia area thanks to that play, said his wife didn’t know much about that play or Munson’s famous call. She was introduced to the phenomenon that is ‘Run, Lindsay!’ one year in Florida.
“My wife is from Orlando, and we were at this Georgia function and somebody came up to her, when I was just standing nearby, and screamed ‘Run, Lindsay, Run!’… and she said, ‘Well, my name is Kelly,’ ” said Belue, belly laughing. “She did not understand at the time, but she does now.”
The play made both Munson and Belue famous.
“I’ve had a chance to kick it around with Larry since that call, and we tease each other about both helping the other’s career out a little bit,” said Belue.
Where did that come from? – The 2001 Tennessee call
‘Sugar falling from the sky,’ ‘Oh, you Herschel Walker!’ ‘Butler kicks a long one,’ and ‘Appleby to Washington’ might have been more famous in the past, but a new Munson call – ‘Hobnail Boot’ – is the current generation of Bulldogs’ most memorable call. I certainly remember where I was when I first heard ‘Hobnail Boot,’ which signaled a rebirth of the Georgia program, but former Georgia quarterback David Greene couldn’t remember exactly where he was.
“I think I was in my truck, no, wait, I’m not exactly sure where I was,” he said. “I had heard about it. People told me ‘you have got to hear Munson’s call.’ ”
Georgia, a program that had been going sideways since what appeared to be a rebirth in 1997, had a new head coach and quarterback in 2001. No one knew where the program was headed. One thing was clear, however, and that was Georgia’s inability to beat Tennessee in Knoxville. The Bulldogs had not beaten the Vols at Neyland Stadium since Munson’s ‘Oh, you Herschel Walker!’ call in 1980. Not only that, but Tennessee has won all but one game over the Dawgs in recent memory. The odds were against Georgia in that 2001 game.
But the Bulldogs fought Tennessee hard and eventually took the lead very late in the game. It appeared the team had won the game late by forcing the Vols to travel the length of the field with less than a minute on the clock. The Vols completed an unlikely screen pass that went for a touchdown and it seemed Georgia’s efforts were in vain.
“They’re going to kickoff to us and some stupid miracle could happen.”
After a poor kickoff decision by Tennessee and two big catches by Randy McMichael, the Bulldogs set up shop in the shadows of the Volunteers’ end zone with only moments to play in the game.
“Ten seconds – we are on their six. Tennessee playing what amounts to a four-four. And there’s… TOUCHDOWN! Oh my God, a touchdown. We threw it to Haynes. We just stuffed them with five seconds left! My God almighty, did you see what he did? David Greene just straightened up and we snuck the fullback over and Haynes is keeping the ball. Haynes has come running all the way across to the bench. We just dumped it over. It's 26-24! We just stepped on their face with a hobnailed boot and broke their nose. We just crushed their face!”
“At the time we never knew how big it was,” said Greene. “That’s something that will be remembered forever in Georgia football history. It’s neat to hear Munson say your name on the radio – I was in awe of that to begin with. To be a part of that play was really awesome. It was amazing. I think he said it about as well as he could. You could tell the passion and how excited he was when he made that call.”
Munson gets the picture. (UGA SID)
“If anything Larry is more, well, negative than positive. You could tell how positive he was (after the touchdown). And to even think of a hobnail boot, I mean, who would have ever thought of saying that? But that is what makes Larry the best,” concluded Greene.
“I remember, just after the call against Tennessee in 2001, laughing, because I didn’t know what the hell a hobnail boot was – I remember just looking at him. We were all ecstatic in the booth after that touchdown, and then Munson was just putting his spin on it. We were sitting there going ‘where did that come from?’ It was just what popped into his head. He’s not one of these broadcasters that maps it out: ‘Ok, if this happens, this is what I am going to say.’ That’s just what came out – that was in his head, and that is what came out of his mouth,” said Howard.
“Symbolically, Hobnail Boot was definitely a call that signaled a change had come,” said Williamson. “We didn’t know it at the time, but when you look back that obviously was the play that gave David Greene the confidence, the fans the confidence, and the team the confidence. Obviously it was more symbolic-- not just that play, not just breaking the streak – but the transformation of the Georgia program.”
“I know that ‘Run, Lindsay, Run!’ won’t be replaced by anything ever, but to think that there is a call that Larry Munson made that people will remember for years to come is exciting. It was a little bit of a coming out party for us as a program,” said Georgia Head Coach Mark Richt.
Arkansas baggage – Stories about Munson
As with anyone that has been in a business for 40 years, Munson has a few stories to tell about his time as the Bulldogs’ play-by-play man. Being a part of the media can place a person in strange places and situations – including airports in Arkansas.
Georgia’s traveling situation is unique in the SEC and perhaps around the country because it are one of the few schools that is isolated from an airport large enough to handle the jets needed to transport the football team to and from road games. That means the team must pile into buses for any flights. Athens’ airport, Ben Epps field, does not have a runway long enough to handle jets flying into it.
“We got caught in a blizzard a few years ago doing basketball, and we were trapped in Arkansas,” Munson said. “The Atlanta Hawks sent their charter plane to pick us up to get Georgia home. We were caught for like 36 hours.”
Finally, Munson said, the team could leave.
“So here we are in the Hawks’ plane, which is a big 737 jet, and we are coming in to land in that little, tiny Athens airport. The wind was blowing from the north hard on our left wing. This guy made a run at that airport. I don’t know how many miles out he was when he went right down on top of the trees and made his run, and (all the time) the wind was trying to blow him sideways. I never forgot the landing. All I had in my mind was how short the runway was going to be, and we were putting a huge jet in there that all of us had always been told could never go into the Athens airport. But we got in there – and we used up every inch of that thing.”
“We don’t have to lengthen that thing a mile or something. We could just do it a quarter of a mile and handle the air traffic. But for some reason they will not let that happen, and it makes your job twice as hard – it really makes it hard.”
Munson tells stories the same way he describes plays – he’s always pulling for the home team, or the pilot in this case.
Getting home seemed always a problem for Munson. Another time he tried to fly home after Georgia’s win in the 1998 Outback Bowl. The team had just knocked off Wisconsin and was certain to finish in the top ten for the first time since 1992.
Neil Williamson, longtime spotter Dick Payne, and Munson were told at the stadium that, if they wanted to, they could catch a cab back to the Tampa airport and make the 6:30 flight back to Atlanta. All the trio had to do was get a taxi in front of old Tampa Stadium.
The task seemed easy enough. But when they arrived outside the stadium, they realized they had a problem on their hands – there were no taxis to be seen.
Williamson asked a local where the group could get a taxi. “They don’t come down here at all,” said the man. Desperate, Williamson decided to use Munson to attract Georgia fans driving by in hopes he would find a ride to the irport. After what seemed like forever, a group stopped and asked – “Are you Larry Munson?” He replied – “Yes, and we need to get to the airport.”
The problem was that the fans’ car was already loaded with passengers and luggage. But the group was insistent that they give Munson and crew a ride. “There was no room in the car, Dean,” said Williamson retelling the tale.
“Get in,” insisted one of the passengers.
“All in one move – and this was not a young man – (the passenger) from standing outside the car, dove over the back seat into the back of the station wagon, where the luggage was and said ‘Well, just pile the luggage on top of me.’”
Those fans’ zest to help out Munson is just an example of how beloved he is to the Bulldog community. Georgia fans love him – he’s their treasure.
You would be foolish to try – Replacing a legend
At some point, Larry Munson will give way to a new play-by-play announcer.
“No one is ever going to replace Larry Munson – you would be foolish to try,” said Belue. “I think they are going to have to change the dynamic of the booth to make it work. How could you expect anyone to step in and do everything like Larry does? I think (when he stops broadcasting) it’s going to be a dark day. He means so much to the fans – he is everything to the fans.”
“I think it would be difficult because you would be under the microscope,” said Howard. Although not at all ready to push Munson out of the way, he seems a likely candidate for the job.
“For the person that does replace Larry, they can’t focus on how hard it would be to replace him. Hopefully that person is not trying to repeat Larry Munson. You would have to take it down a completely different road. It would be a different broadcast. Georgia folks are used to Larry Munson – a couple of different generations have grown up listening to Munson, and they don’t know anyone else. It might be a little rough; there could be some criticisms. Personally, that’s what I want to do. We’ll see what happens. Hopefully I’ll get a shot, but Munson is still going – so as long as he is still going, that’s good for me.
“I hope he keeps going. I hope he goes another five years,” said Dantzler, perhaps another candidate for the job.
But Williamson, WSB’s man in charge of filling the position when Munson leaves it, is not focusing on replacing him any time soon.
The iconic Larry Munson. (UGA SID)
“WSB’s stance on this is that it’s Larry’s call. We are happy to have Larry broadcast the games as long as he cares to,” said Williamson.
There was a time in the mid-1990s when it seemed all people wanted to do was talk about when Munson was retiring and who would replace him. Williamson said he is glad that topic is no longer as much in the limelight.
“I remember at speaking engagements I would say ‘Stop asking when Larry is going to retire and enjoy that he is still here.’ It’s like wishing that your kids would be 18. It’s like – only 11 more years until you’re 18. Love the moment – enjoy the moment, people.”
As for Munson, 2005 is business as usual. He’s getting ready for his 40th season in the booth with the Bulldogs. He’s not as pessimistic as he has been in the past. Some think the 2002 season did that.
“I think winning the 2002 SEC Championship meant a lot,” said Howard. “They went 20 years without a championship, and that’s a long time. I think it was something special for him. I think he even got a ring. That was nice. A lot of people do nice things for him, just because of his service to the school and his longevity, and he’s earned that.”
The prospects of a championship in 2005? Munson says the signal caller will be the key.
“The quarterback is going to have to have a great year. We think we are going to have a heck of a running attack, but there are some losses on defense. That is a little scary. The running backs are very good, and if the quarterback has a good year we’ll be all right. I am much more concerned about 2006 to tell you the truth because so many linemen are leaving school,” he said.
Munson doesn’t go on campus much because he’s tired of getting parking tickets – they rank just behind what television has done to college football in his book.
“There is no place to park. I am just a basket case when it comes to going over to the athletic department – I won’t go over there because I can’t park my car. They have a 45-minute limit out front, if you can get one of those empty spaces. But I get caught in that building. I can’t go into that building for (only) 45 minutes. I don’t know how many tickets I got,” he said.
“I am beginning to feel sorry for the fans,” he said. “I am beginning to think that we need to do something for the fans. It’s hard to fix the traffic. It just seems to me the traffic is worse every year, and every year there is less parking. I think they ought to think of something to do to make it easier.”
Short of solving the traffic and parking problem in Athens, Munson has already done enough for the fans. This living legend – the voice of the Dawgs – is still spinning an unbelievable body of work. Hopefully the future for Munson is full of quick games, safe travel, and open parking spaces with no meter maid in sight. Most of all here’s to a future that has Larry Munson lighting victory cigars– after 40 years of service he deserves all of that and more.