Loran Smith's blog

Remembering Larry Munson

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Before Larry Munson became Georgia’s football play-by-play announcer in 1966, I knew him from his time working at Vanderbilt, where he had become a fixture in Nashville. His agenda included, in addition to announcing for the Commodores, hosting a popular television fishing show and working as the play-by-play voice of the Nashville Vols’ minor league baseball team. Read More»

A fall visit with Larry Munson

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[Editor’s note: Larry Munson died Sunday, Nov. 19. The following is a column written last month by Munson’s long-time sideline sidekick, Loran Smith.]

It was the first cold day of the fall, and I could have predicted Larry Munson’s opening comment. “Be a good day for pheasant hunting, wouldn’t it!” he remarked as we sat and talked with former Georgia receiver, Charley Whittemore — by the fire in Larry’s den.

For most of his life, when the long-time Bulldog announcer wasn’t talking football or movies, he was given to pontificating about hunting and fishing, particularly the latter. Read More»

The PGA final and Tiger

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JOHNS CREEK — Eight months from now, the next major golf championship will take place — in the springtime at Augusta, which means we have a long winter to debate the health of the PGA tour and the future of the game as it relates to the status of Tiger Woods.

There is the view that the tour can only survive if Tiger returns to dominance, but you can find plenty of dissent about that among those who are familiar with the tour. Read More»

Larry Nelson’s last PGA

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JOHNS CREEK – The 93rd PGA Championship was Larry Nelson’s last major. It would have been fitting for him to have made the cut, but at age 63 you tip your hat to a man who scored 78-75 for 153. Not bad for one two years away from drawing Social Security.

Nelson’s entire career has been one of serendipity when you consider that he went from learning the game at a driving range to claiming three major championships, but a professional who always toiled in the background, often in anonymity. Read More»

The Griffins Head

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CHILLENDEN, England – The Griffins Head is a country pub that is anchored in the village of Chillenden — which is near Wingham, which is near Littlebourne, which is near Canterbury.

Naturally, everybody knows where Canterbury is, and if you live close by, you know your way out in the country to The Griffins Head, which in reality is near grain fields of barley, wheat, and rape. And a ewe or two. Read More»

Dan Magill and the Braves

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As men get older, they are afflicted with change. Some become ornery, some insufferable. Others lose the zest for living a full and active life, which is why the model for coping with the inevitable, brought about by the aging process, is the lifestyle of the incomparable Dan Magill.

This past Sunday was an unforgettable day for him. He threw out the first pitch to start a forgettable game between the Braves and the Marlins in searing heat, which makes you appreciate the fact that Magill was excited about being there in the first place. Read More»

Denis LaLanne and the pain that can’t be spoken of

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BIARRITZ, France – For the first time in almost three decades of a warm and uplifting friendship, Denis LaLanne greeted me with sad eyes. The reason is readily understood, but first, it is appropriate to recall the good times. There were many. Read More»

A visit with Coach Mickey Matthews

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HARRISONBURG, Va. – A man can pull up roots and become reestablished, especially if he is a football coach and finds peace in the valley which is the way it is for Mickey Matthews, a West Texan who is surrounded by more trees in his comfortable neighborhood here than there were in the entire county where he grew up. Read More»

A little soccer match

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It was a sunny spring morning, and the Tigers were playing the Sparks in a soccer match for those who are yet to be enrolled in kindergarten.

The Tigers wore navy blue and were coached by Chris Martin. Coaching the Sparks was Jay Erickson. The teams were coed, a fact which went happily unnoticed by the young players. There are no issues at kiddie soccer matches.

The length of time for the quarters is left up to the coaches. They usually start with five-minute quarters, but as disinterest sets in, they become shorter. Read More»

Remembering Jesse Outlar: He loved life and a good laugh

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PEACHTREE CITY – When a life is over, we gather together and remember the good days and the good times, and we toast treasured memories.

When family and friends congregated here last week to say goodbye to Jesse Outlar, longtime sports editor and columnist of the Atlanta Constitution, most of the remembrances were spiced with humor. Read More»

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