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.