Everybody loves Verne Lundquist.

This is the best explanation of how Uncle Verne became an SEC icon that I’ve ever read.

Yet for all its tradition, the SEC never had a single unifying “voice.” It had a cacophony of homers employed by the schools themselves. After a 2001 win over the University of Tennessee, Georgia’s legendary play-by-play man Larry Munson exclaimed, “My God Almighty … We just stepped on their face with a hobnailed boot and broke their nose!”

Verne, though he didn’t know it, was a perfect fit for the SEC. For Verne was the bridge between the local homer and the network play-by-play man. He had the stature and professionalism of the latter but the naked emotion of the former. Oh, bless his heart …

“I don’t want this to come across badly because I adore him,” said Gary Danielson. “But you know how you have your hometown guys do the local broadcast? … It doesn’t matter if those guys mispronounce a name or don’t exactly know the score all of the time. You say, ‘He’s our guy, and I like the way he calls a game, and, when he’s talking, I know it’s my game.’

“That happened to Verne four years ago,” Danielson continued. “He became their guy. Verne could feel it, too. Every time we’d go out to eat or have lunch in the afternoon, everyone wanted to be next to Verne. It was almost like Dick Vitale.”

That’s it.  I couldn’t care less that he butchers a name or gets a jersey number wrong now and then, because when it comes down to relaying the drama of a crucial point in a football game, he’s tremendous.  I hope there’s at least one more Moment for him to share with his audience this season.  Both he and we deserve it.

As a bonus, here’s a link to an AP interview with Lundquist.

33 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

33 responses to “Everybody loves Verne Lundquist.

  1. CB

    Spot on Senator. Uncle Verne is a national treasure. He’s a strong dose of much needed humility and enthusiasm in an industry flooded with arrogant know-it-alls. People who don’t like him take life way too seriously.

  2. AusDawg85

    Vernisms: “Oh my.” “Well would you look at that.” “TOUCHdown……..(pause, then team name)”

    I wonder if he knew that David Green and David Pollack grew up together, etc…..?

  3. hassan

    Lundquist is awesome, and for me, has always indeed been that unifying voice of the SEC Gary talks about in the article. At 3:30 on Saturday, when those CBS trumpets go off (DAAAAA DA DA DAAAAAAA DA DA DA DAAAAAA…DUM DUM DUM) and Verne comes on welcoming me to (insert stadium name here), I am in my happy place. He will be missed when he retires and will be impossible to replace.

  4. Uglydawg

    Good ole Uncle Verne…Yes, he is the Dizzy Dean of College Football. Next to Keith Jackson, he may be my favorite..(on the national level that is…nobody will ever top Munson for a homer, but that goes without saying) but Todd Blackledge is the one I want doing the serious games..

  5. Bob

    Couldn’t agree more on Blackledge. Will miss Vern but Nesler will be good.

  6. diving duck

    God bless Uncle Verne. The CBS 3:30 broadcast is the best thing going in sports.

  7. 81Dog

    I have always liked Nessler, but Verne is like your neighbor from up the street. He loves the game for the same reason we all love the game, and he’s not too cool to let you know he enjoys it, too. “Man of the people” is a term that gets overworked, but it’s a perfect way to describe him. He has the best seat in the house, he’s thrilled to be there, and he seems excited to share the game with all of us unseen regular people, just like he knew all of us personally or something.

    I will miss Verne, like I missed Keith Jackson, but I’m grateful we are getting another solid pro like Nessler to handle the games. We could have gotten saddled with any number of wanna be personalities (cough, Screamin A. Smith, cough) who expect us to tune in to see THEM. Verne always understood the game was the star.

  8. Athens Dog

    The author nailed it. Great article about our Uncle Verne

  9. Russ

    I’ll miss Verne but glad we’re getting Nessler. I think he will be the next voice of the SEC. As for Danielson and Blackledge, I like them both but Danielson didn’t stomp on my heart in Nawlins.

    Did anyone else notice Nessler getting a little cynical edge during the SEC basketball season?

  10. Babyfarts McGeezax

    Saw Verne speak at the Atlanta Touchdown Club a few years ago…if you ever get the chance to see the man speak to a smallish group, do it. He’s great. Tons of behind the scenes stories and the man will sit there shaking hands and taking pictures until the last person leaves. A class act that I’ll miss in the booth.

  11. Spike

    All good things come to an end I guess. Thanks for the great memories, Verne.

  12. Macallanlover

    All good comments and thoughts. I will miss Verne but understand it is time for a change and Nessler seems a good choice. Verne will always be associated with two of my favorite things: The Masters and SEC Football. Have a great final lap Old Friend, and enjoy the memories….you have greatly enhanced mine.

  13. Never was a Verne fan. The Tebow love was just too much.

    • Vectordawg

      My comment below was not directed at you. I don’t care for him either.

      • Mayor

        Let me add myself to the “less than enchanted by Verne” list. “Ugly buildings, politicians and whores all gain respectability with age.” I would include over-the-hill mediocre sports announcers as well.

  14. Vectordawg

    Well, not everybody.

  15. TomReagan

    Amen on all fronts. Uncle Verne is wonderful. The Alabama fanbase’s hatred of Verne would baffle me if it weren’t coming from that group. They absolutely hate Verne and Gary.

    I’d also throw out a few others as “voices of the SEC” that I remember fondly. For a 35 year old who spent many a teenage evening watching the Saturday Night SEC game, Ron Franklin and Mike Godfried will always fall in that category and, of course the entire Jefferson Pilot production. Few things were as SEC as coming home from my part time job to an Ole Miss – Vanderbilt game.

  16. AIKENDAWG

    KEITH JACKSON-FRANK BROYLES- by far the best ever!!!! not even close!

  17. Uglydawg

    In keeping with the tradition…the last thread of the day automatically morphs into a game-day board…TENNESSEE is getting their ass beat at halftime by AppSt. I love it. Booch looks very unhappy. His best defensive player was ejected early in the game.
    And Vandy is beating Boom’s Cocks.

    That’s a miserable looking bunch of hillbillys in Knoxville right now. Dobbs threw a pic to end Tennessee’s best chance to score. It was a rookie looking mistake..throwing deep off his back foot while under pressure. Dobbs passing game doesn’t look improved tonight.
    SC has their freshman QB in late in the half. He looks like a lesser talented Cam Newton..but will be very good before his time is through at SC.
    Boom’s team getting lots of penalties on O early.

    • illini84

      And Mooseberger is a fucking moron.

    • Biggus Rickus

      It’s almost like Butch Jones isn’t a very good coach and Josh Dobbs isn’t a very effective passer most of the time. Still, they’ll probably rally and pull it out in the second half. If App. State can manage to put together one good drive in the second half that results in a TD though, they’ll be right there at the end. At which point, who knows?

      South Carolina is a shambles, and Boom isn’t a very good head coach, so their losing to Vandy isn’t shocking.

    • App State’s undersized D-line is causing pronlems for UT. They cannot get that big seam for Hurd yet.

  18. Uglydawg

    All is well in Hillbillyville..Sgt. Carter pulled off a miracle in overtime to beat Appalachian State. Tennessee looked underwhelming. In short..they suck and if they don’t improve, they will lose a bunch of games this year.. But there’s joy in Deliveranceville tonight! Their beloved Vols dispatched the three touchdown underdogs from App St. in just ONE overtime!!!
    BTW…….it took an delay of game penalty on AppState”s DEFENSE to give Tennessee a desperately needed first down late in the game. Whatever.
    I’ll say this..Appalachian State was the better team.

    • Nacodog

      As much as I hate to have seen App State lose, I am thrilled to see Tennessee embarrassed on a national stage like that.

  19. Bro dawg

    Living on the west coast for years, especially before internet radio broadcast, Verne has been The voice that speaks SEC for me. Whether it’s the Dawgs or not. Sure, it’s annoying if he bifs a few names or facts, but it’s a forgivable sin, like a distant relative at a family reunion.

  20. Jared S.

    Thanks for the post, Senator. And you hit the nail on the head. I don’t care if Verne mispronounced names or even said the wrong school/team name at times when calling a game. I wasn’t listening to him for that information. I love that dude for the way he is in love with the game and seems to genuinely care about the conference, schools, players, coaches, fans. He loves it all. And his enthusiasm is infectious. And he’s waaaaaaaaay less annoying than Vitale.