The Top 10 College Football Radio Announcers of All Time

Jimmy RenoCorrespondent IAugust 14, 2009

ATHENS, GA - NOVEMBER 29:  Former long-time Georgia Bulldogs radio announcer Larry Munson acknowledges the crowd during a tribute to him after the first quarter of the game against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Sanford Stadium on November 29, 2008 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)

College football has enjoyed some of the most talented radio announcers and play-by-play men in sports history.

For many years, college football was seen once a week on television and most fans mainly heard the radio broadcasts of their favorite teams. This made the play-by-play men as not only the voice of the fans team, it made them the eyes of the fans as well as their descriptions was what enabled fans to visualize the games.   

Some of these men excelled in their abilities and talents as announcers. This article examines some of those legends.

1. Larry Munson, Georgia Bulldogs

Larry Munson became the announcer for Georgia football in 1966; by the time he retired in 2008, Munson was the legendary voice of Georgia football. Many fans had never listened to a radio broadcast of a UGA game without Munson as the play-by-play man.

Munson became known for his raspy, excited voice and his characterizations of the game action. 

Munson has received numerous awards for his work. In 2003, he received the Chris Schenkel Award given by the College Football Hall of Fame. In 2004, Munson was inducted into the Georgia-Florida Hall of Fame. In 2005, he was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame. 

2. John Forney, Alabama Crimson Tide

John Forney was born on June 4, 1927 in Los Angeles, California. He began his broadcasting career in Tuscaloosa, Alabama while in school.

Forney spent 30 years with the Alabama Radio Network, 19 of those as the play-by-play man for the Crimson Tide football team. In 1948, Forney broadcasted the renewal of the Alabama vs Auburn game. The '48 game was the first televised coverage of football in the state of Alabama. He called numerous national championship games.  

Forney was awarded numerous awards in his career. In 1960 and 1964, he was chosen Alabama sportscaster of the year. Forney passed away in July of 1997.

3. Al Ciraldo, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 

Al Ciraldo became the announcer for Georgia Tech football in 1954. Ciraldo became one of the legendary voices of college football during his career.

For 38 seasons, Ciraldo excited fans with his play-by-play announcing. He is often remembered for coining the phrase "Toe meets leather."

Ciraldo was known for his dramatic style in announcing; often times, pausing to add effect to notable moments in games.

Ciraldo passed away in November of 1997.

4. Tony Roberts, Notre Dame Fighting Irish  

For 26 years, Tony Roberts was the legendary announcer for Notre Dame football.

Roberts is known for his baritone voice and smooth play-by-play calls for the Irish.

Roberts has won numerous awards of the years. In 2005, Roberts was awarded the Chris Schenkel Award for outstanding broadcaster. Roberts has won seven Sportscaster of the Year awards for his contributions in the broadcasting field. Roberts has also won seven AP sports reporting awards.

5. Jack Cristil, Mississippi State Bulldogs

In 1957, Jack Cristil began broadcasting Mississippi State football games. For over half a century, Jack Cristil would be Mississippi State football.

Cristil was known for his professionalism and for his clear, concise game descriptions that were free of any bravado or hyperbole.

Cristil has received numerous awards during his career. Over 20 times he has been awarded the Mississippi Broadcaster of The Year Award. In 1997, Cristil was awarded the Chris Schenkel Award given by the College Football Hall of Fame.

6. Max Falkens, Kansas Jayhawks 

For 60 years, Max Falkens was the voice for Jayhawk football. His run is one of the longest tenures in sports.

Falkens was known for his professional, detailed style and for his crystal clear voice.

Falkens received numerous awards during his career. In 1995, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. In 1996, he was given the Chris Schenkel Award. In 2004, he was awarded the Curt Gowdy Media Award.

7. Jack Fleming, West Virginia Mountaineers

Jack Fleming was known as the "voice of the Mountaineers" for a span of time that reached almost 50 years.

He became the announcer for West Virginia in 1947 and remained there until 1959. In 1962 he returned and remained until 1969. He returned one final time in 1974 and remained at the job until 1996.

Fleming is most remembered for his famous call in 1972 for the Steelers "Immaculate Reception."

Fleming won the West Virginia Sportscaster of The Year Award 7 times. In 1999, Fleming was awarded the Chris Schenkel Award given by the College Football Hall of Fame.

8. Ray Christensen, Minnesota Golden Gophers

For more than 50 years, Ray Christensen was the voice of Gopher football. Christensen began his career at Minnesota in 1951 and remained there until 2001.

Christensen was well known for his passionate play-by-play calling. Using an excitable voice to describe the game action.

In 2000, Christensen was given the Chris Schenkel Award given by the College Football Hall of Fame. In 2002, he was inducted into the Minnesota Museum of Broadcasting.

9. John Ferguson, LSU Tigers

In 1946, John Ferguson began his career as the voice of the Tigers. It was a career that spanned more than 40 years. Ferguson retired in 1987.

Ferguson was known for a distinctive, booming voice that was often heard everywhere. Ferguson called the LSU games that were on Saturday nights. For many years, LSU was the only college game on at that time increasing the exposure of fans to Ferguson's announcing.

Ferguson passed away in December of 2005.

10. Jim Fyffe, Auburn Tigers

For 22 football seasons, Jim Fyffe was the voice of Auburn football. He began his career at Auburn in 1981.

Fyffe is well known and remembered for his dramatic flair when describing play-by-play action. He is often remembered for coining the phrase "Touchdown Auburn!" in which he extended the last part of the phrase.

Fyffe was named Alabama sportscaster of the year 9 times in his career. In 2005, he was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.

Fyffe would end most every broadcast by saying, "My time's up, I thank you for your's". Fyffe passed away in May of 2003.


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