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.