The Covington News - - Sports -

ings to­ward the Ge­or­gia foot­ball fans," Mun­son said in a state­ment re­leased by Ge­or­gia.

"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."

A woman who an­swered the phone at Mun­son's home and iden­ti­fied her­self as a se­nior health care worker said he was not avail­able for fur­ther com­ment.

Scott Howard, who has been in the booth with Mun­son for 15 years and took over the playby-play duty for road games last sea­son, will take the lead role in a home game for the first time on Satur­day.

"I haven't worked in that seat at home," Howard said. "That was one of the first things I thought about. In my mind I'm go­ing to pre­tend it's a game on the road. It will be a bit strange ini­tially."

Howard will work with an­a­lyst Eric Zeier, the for­mer Ge­or­gia quar­ter­back, for the re­main­ing games this sea­son.

Smith said he'll also as­sume a new role.

"I guess I'm the se­nior guy now, aren't I?" Smith asked.

Ge­or­gia coach Mark Richt called Mun­son "one of the leg­endary col­lege foot­ball broad­cast­ers of all time."

"What do you say when a leg­end steps down?" Richt asked. "I'm grate­ful for the op­por­tu­nity I've had to be as­so­ci­ated with him.

"I hope he en­joys his full re­tire­ment and wish him the very best in all the things he de­cides to do."

For­mer Ge­or­gia coach and ath­letic di­rec­tor Vince Doo­ley said he was con­cerned about Mun­son's health.

"The main thing is that I hope his health is OK," Doo­ley said. "That ob­vi­ously was a fac­tor in his de­ci­sion."

Smith said Mun­son will be missed "be­cause he was such an icon and such a sen­sa­tion.

"I think if he can't do it we've got as good as you want in Scott Howard. He just has such a fine com­mand of the game. Eric adds a new di­men­sion and has a feel for the field that you want. His anal­y­sis is very, very good be­cause he's a for­mer quar­ter­back."

Mun­son's 86th birth­day is Sun- day.

"Larry plans to cel­e­brate his 86th birth­day this week­end watch­ing the Alabama game with fam­ily and close friends," said Michael Mun­son.

Ge­or­gia ath­letic di­rec­tor Da­mon Evans said the re­tire­ment "is a day that we all knew would come for the Bull­dog Na­tion."

Evans said he is thank­ful "for 42 ded­i­cated years of de­liv­er­ing the Ge­or­gia Bull­dogs to fans on fall Satur­days around the world."

"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 Geor- gia foot­ball as only he could do it," Evans said.

Mun­son's re­tire­ment was a sur­prise to Ge­or­gia play­ers.

Mun­son was born in Min­neapo­lis in 1921 and is an alum­nus of Moor­head State Teach­ers Col­lege in Moor­head, Minn.

Af­ter World War II, he used his mil­i­tary dis­charge pay to en­roll in broad­cast­ers school back home in Min­neapo­lis.

Mun­son moved to Nashville, Tenn., in 1952 where he called mi­nor league base­ball games, Van­der­bilt bas­ket­ball and foot­ball games and started a TV fish­ing show.

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