Larry Munson was a child of the 1920s in Minneapolis. His father, Harry, turned him into a sportsman -- taught him to appreciate the patience of fishing and the burst of excitement as a pheasant jumped with startled sound from a weed patch.

Brad Nessler was a young announcer in the 1980s when he went to work as Al Ciraldo's partner broadcasting Georgia Tech sports. Munson was a legend by then as the football voice of the Georgia Bulldogs.

"Larry knew I also was a Minnesota boy," Nessler said. "He would say, 'Ness, they don't have walleye down here. And you gotta go way up in the mountains to find a trout stream. Fishing isn't the same down here, Ness.' "

Nor was broadcasting. "I grew up on Herb Carneal and Ray Christensen," Nessler said. "You knew they wanted our teams, the Twins and the Gophers, to win, but that came out with only a tinge of homerism.

"I got down here, heard Munson doing Georgia games and thought, 'Who is this guy?'

"It was a whole different kind of broadcasting. You weren't sure who had carried the ball, what yard line or what down it was, but you listened for a while and thought, 'This is classic stuff.'

"Munson was a fan with a microphone, trying to pull the Bulldogs through another Saturday."

Nessler's hometown is St. Charles, Minn. He lives in Atlanta and commutes to important games for ABC and ESPN. He has many years remaining of national prominence with his play-by-play.

"I've told my wife that it would be nice, at the end of my career, to go back as the voice of a college team for one year and just go all-out for the home team," Nessler said.

"Instead of 'Laurinaitis made the tackle, and now it's third-and-6 for Michigan at its 32,' it would be, 'We stuffed 'em ... gawd a'mighty, one of our boys made a great play.' "

Munson has had serious health issues since undergoing brain surgery in April. He started this season back in the radio booth but abruptly announced his retirement last month -- the same week he turned 86.

Bill McCluskey is a St. Paul native. He has been a bartender at Atlanta's infamous Manuel's Tavern for 34 years.

"I've been more of a Tech fan than Georgia, but I always enjoyed Munson," McCluskey said. "When the Bulldogs were on TV, you had to turn down the sound and listen to Munson on the radio. It's not the same without him."

Sportswriter Gerry Fraley worked in Atlanta for a number of years. He quickly came to admire Munson for this reason:

"He was a reverse homer. He never saw a way the Bulldogs could win.

"A few years ago, I was in Atlanta for the baseball playoffs, found Munson's broadcast of a game with Kentucky and he was saying, 'We can't stop this guy. Lorenzen is picking us apart piece by piece. We can't get near him.' And then there was a break in the game and we found out Georgia was up by 21."

Loran Smith is a true Bulldog and a man of Munson's generation. He has been part of the Georgia radio team -- pregame show and sideline reporter -- for over 30 years.

This is how famous that Munson's callout of "Whatchagot Loran" during games became: An English bulldog from a specific line has served as Georgia's mascot since 1956. The generic name for the mascot is "Uga," although the seven dogs who have served as Uga have their own names.

And Uga VI -- the mascot that served from 1999 through last season -- carried the name "Whatchagot Loran."

Munson's most famous call is remembered in Georgia lore as "Run Lindsay Run." It was his description of Buck Belue's 93-yard pass to Lindsay Scott late in the 1980 Florida game in Jacksonville, Fla. The touchdown produced a 26-21 victory and kept the Bulldogs on track for a national championship.

"I've heard it played at weddings in Georgia," Fraley said.

Loran Smith said that wasn't the moment that made Munson with Georgia fans.

"In his early years, Munson commuted from his home in Nashville to Athens [Ga.] to do the games," Smith said. "People weren't sure about that. A coach's wife once said to me, 'He doesn't sound like he's for us.'

"Then in 1978, we were playing Kentucky and it was a crystal clear night in the South. That WSB signal out of Atlanta was booming -- as I wrote, 'They could hear Munson all the way to his home state of Minnesota.'

"The Bulldogs came back from a big deficit and Rex Robinson kicked a field goal at the end for a 17-16 win. Munson never actually said the kick was good, just screamed into the mike, 'Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah!'

"And there was no doubt then. Munson was a Bulldog for life."

Patrick Reusse can be heard weekdays on AM-1500 KSTP at 6:45 and 7:45 a.m. and 4:40 p.m. •