His book is a few months old — it was published toward the end of last year — but I just around to reading Atlantan Tony Barnhart’s biography of UGA’s legendary football broasdcaster, Larry Munson, From Herschel to a Hobnail Boot. Yes, I know it’s summer, the Braves are hot, and it’s time for fireworks and barbecue, right? Well, as Tony might put it, it’s never too early — or too late — for talking about the Dawgs and SEC football.
Tony was at the Center for the Book the other night, doing a lively and very informed talk about college football and Munson. Larry was 43 when he became the Bulldog broadcaster; who knew what he did before then? Turns out he had a pretty amazing life. Born in Minnesota, he played for a week in the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra backing Frank Sinatra; he got his first broadcasting job from another legend, Curt Gowdy; and he was one of the original announcers for the Braves when they moved to Atlanta from Milwaukee.
He was hired by UGA in 1966, and by the 1970s was becoming one of America’s best-known and most easily identifiable broadcasters. Tony’s book details what happened to Georgia and Larry during the 70s, 80’s 90’s and up until Larry’s retirement in 2008. It’s great stuff. But the best is the CD that comes with the book that includes Larry’s “top 10” live game calls including “Run, Lindsay, Run” in 1980 against Florida and the unforgettable call of the “hobnail boot” in the 2001 Tennessee game. Larry was never a flawless announcer, but he was the one whose images stayed longest in your mind.
Tony’s book is delightful reading in any season, and for football fans, it will bring back a lot of memories (not all of them good ones if you’re not a UGA fan). You’ll love listening to that CD, too.