Another voice stilled

When I think of listening to SEC football, three announcers come to mind — Larry Munson, Verne Lundquist and Ron Franklin.

Former ESPN college basketball and college football sportscaster Ron Franklin passed away Tuesday at the age of 79, according to his friend and former colleague Mike Barnes. He called ESPN on ABC games, the French Open and the U.S. Olympic Festival along with many other events over his long broadcasting career.

Franklin grew up in Hazelhurst, Mississippi and attending the University of Mississippi. He started working in radio early in his career and eventually worked as the basketball and football play-by-play commentator for the University of Texas from 1983-88. Franklin also did play-by-play work for the Houston Oilers and served as sports director at several different local news stations.

He made the move to ESPN in 1987, where he worked until 2011. Franklin worked with several different color commentators over his career, including Mike Gottfried, Ed Cunningham and Fran Fraschilla.

As the news that Ron Franklin passed away spread, former sports broadcaster Mike Barnes shared a message about the loss of his friend.

“Just got the sad news that my friend Ron Franklin has passed away,” Barnes posted on Twitter. “If you’re a sports fan, you knew Ron Franklin and his amazing voice.  Incredibly talented and knowledgeable and very nice and gracious. RIP.”

He and Gottfried made a great pairing.  If you’ve got time to listen, here’s their call of the 1995 Georgia-Tennessee game:

If you want a happier result, here’s his call, along with Ed Cunningham, of Georgia’s comeback win in the 1996 2006 Peach Bowl.

His “he could’ve held him” quip at the 57-minute mark still makes me chuckle.

Franklin got in trouble at ESPN for a lack of political correctness and an inability to read the room, which was unfortunate.  But he was a great example of the less is more school of calling a game.  Too bad there don’t seem to be many graduates from there working the booth these days.

RIP, sir.


UPDATE:  Here’s one more.  Since it involves a Spurrier defeat, I figure you’ll watch.


Filed under SEC Football

18 responses to “Another voice stilled

  1. J.R. Clark

    Franklin and Gottfried were my favorite ESPN announcers.

    Man, was I not prepared to see the footage of that game. My father had just a few months left and that was the last Georgia game we watched together.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Gaskilldawg

    Would not the Peach Bowl be 2006? We didn’t go bowling in 1996, which was Donnan’s first season.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Franklin was damn good at his craft. RIP.

    Liked by 2 people

    • theoriginalspike

      Right on ee! He was one of the best there ever was at broadcasting college football, and he was just a joy to listen to. An unfortunate victim of political correctness as The Senator referenced. He will be missed.


  4. D.N. Nation

    “Has five, has ten.”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Terry McCullers

    Ron Franklin and Todd Blackledge the best combo ever to announce a college game in my book.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Franklin was the voice of my Saturday evenings when I was a UGA student in the late nineties—come home from one of those sweltering noon/3:30 kickoffs, crack a beer or five, watch the evening SEC game and regroup for the late-night partying. I’d listen to him read names out of the phone book.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. r1valry

    Was he the announcer of the 2007 Bama game and “What is Brittany doin’?” fame?


  8. Scott Chappell

    Looks like we have real silver britches in that game. Wish we could have that now.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Dylan Dreyer's Booty

    “… he was a great example of the less is more school of calling a game. Too bad there don’t seem to be many graduates from there working the booth these days.”

    You can say that again. It’s painful to listen Kirk and his ilk just continue to prattle on. The absolute best thing about the skycast is during the game there is no talk. You hear sounds in the stadium like you are there: the bands, the PA, crowd noise/cheers, etc. If there is a break for something that they don’t have an ad planned for (like a play review or injury), there are two guys to make comment about a significant play and that’s it. It’s amazing how refreshing that is.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. thosebigthighs

    Ron Franklin was the best on TV, nobody could replace Larry tho. Many of you may not realize he hosted a fishing show on ESPN too. It was one of the best fishing shows around. I tried to get in touch with him to see if I could take him fishing when he was in Athens for a game. The lady I talked to at ESPN said he wouldn’t have time since their schedule was always jam packed. Man would I have enjoyed spending an afternoon fishing with him and Larry. Could you imagine the stories they could tell? RIP Larry and Ron, both of you deserve it. They’re probably both in a boat in heaven fishing now, Larry telling that worm to “Hunker Down”.


  11. It was bad and wrong what Ron did, but I can’t stand Holly Rowe.


  12. Dawg19

    “Uncle Ron” as he was known to many was one of the best ever to call college football. He was right up there with Keith Jackson, in my opinion.
    RIP, Sir.