Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Countdown 2011: 86 Days to Go

How Larry Munson Came to Georgia

Larry Munson will always be the voice of the Georgia Bulldogs. From Lindsay Scott to the Hobnail Boot, Munson's calls are at the very heart of what Georgia football means to many fans. Most people know that Munson sat in the Georgia booth for over 40 years (1966-2008), but few Georgia fans know about his career before Georgia. Here's a look at how Larry came to Athens.

Larry grew up in Minneapolis and served as a medic in the Army during World War II. After attending broadcast school and working at a small radio station in North Dakota, he applied for a job in Cheyenne, Wyoming, used a recording of an Ohio State and Minnesota football game as an audition. In Cheyenne, Munson met and befriended Curt Gowdy. When Gowdy left his position calling football games for the University of Wyoming, he recommended Munson for the job. And so started the career of Larry Munson broadcasting sports.

Gowdy had left for a minor league baseball announcing position in Oklahoma City, and when he moved on to call games for the New York Yankees in 1949, Munson once again replaced him. In 1952, Larry moved to Nashville, continuing to call minor league baseball games and appearing on one of the first television fishing shows ever produced. He also convinced Vanderbilt University to begin broadcasting college basketball games on a local AM affiliate. the success of basketball on the station led them to add football to its schedule with Munson as its lead broadcaster.

Larry Munson would leave the state of Tennessee for Georgia in early 1966. But his main reason for coming south was not Georgia football. He had been hired as a member of the Atlanta Braves broadcast team for their first season in Atlanta. During Spring Training, Munson saw in the paper that Georgia radio announcer Ed Thilenius was leaving the position. He made a call to Georgia athletic director Joel Eaves about the open position. He got the job and took over as Georgia broadcaster that fall (despite continuing to live in Nashville. He stopped calling Braves games midway through that season.) The rest is Georgia football history.

During his career with Georgia, Munson continued to work in many different areas. He continued to appear on a hunting and fishing show in Nashville for the next 12 years, called Georgia basketball games from 1987-1996, and called games for the Atlanta Falcons from 1989 - 1992.

At the 57 second point of the video below, you can here some of Munson's calls from his days with the Falcons.

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