“Whatcha got Loran!” This phrase, coined by Larry Munson, will continue on as the true definition of my dear friend Loran Smith. Larry if you’re up there reading this article, I’d like to tell you what Mr. Smith’s got … he’s got a lot.
Wrightsville, Ga. is home to the great Herschel Walker, but it also bore the one and only Loran Smith, a track star back in the day. Upon his arrival at the University of Georgia, Mr. Smith walked on to the track team, and by his senior year, he earned a track scholarship. He claimed, “Something that would make my friends laugh, I came [to UGA] on an academic scholarship.” After switching his major from entomology to journalism, Smith became good friends with former UGA tennis coach and sports information director Dan Magill. “I learned a lot about life from him [Coach Magill], a whole lot about journalism, a whole lot about sports conversations, and a whole lot about drinking beer!”
Best football player at UGA
“I’d have to say Herschel Walker, and that is not hometown pride.” “He’s just the best,” said Smith. A predictable answer to say the least, but in all of the years that Smith called, commentated, or spectated there have been some pretty great athletes to set foot on the turf of Sanford Stadium, so Smith had rather strong company to choose from. He did remark that Charley Trippi is definitely the greatest all-around football player. We did the calculations and it would take four scholarships to pay for Mr. Trippi’s abilities because he played defense, running back (halfback in those days), quarterback and punted.
Larry Munson Memory
According to Smith, the “Run Lindsay Run” call was the greatest memory the two share together, and Smith’s favorite commentary of Munson’s. “I lived that moment with him,” Smith said. “I was on the sideline. I had the earphones on, and I heard him make the call. I’m standing there wanting to run with Lindsay because I was so excited, and then Vince [Dooley] ran over me.” Coach Dooley literally knocked over Loran Smith on the sidelines. You can say that Smith was a part of the play, but what a sight to see if this was caught on camera!
Over the years, Smith has been fortunate enough to meet many great broadcasters. From Vin Scully to Harry “Skip” Caray and everyone in between. Two of his great friends that had fantastic sportscasting careers would be Verne Lundquist and Keith Jackson. Throughout his career, Smith admired their tenures in broadcasting and was fortunate enough to enjoy many great memories together as close friends.
Boston Red Sox
Smith and I share a common interest, which is our love for the Boston Red Sox. My grandfather was a diehard fan and those genes passed along to me. Through the years, Smith has seen plenty of great moments in Red Sox history, but his favorite would be not a play nor a game but an interview. One of Major League Baseball’s biggest names over the years, Ted Williams, sat down with Smith one evening, and the two had an amazing conversation. Another MLB friendship that may cause my grandfather to roll over in his grave is Smith’s bond with current Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone. Ironically, Boone and Smith remained tight friends despite the intense rivalry. He also added that if our beloved team reaches the World Series this year, he might attend a game in Boston at Fenway Park … I was drooling with jealousy.
Favorite sports venue
“Oh my gosh,” he proclaimed, “The Masters! No venue like The Masters.” Smith continued, “The British Open is a marvelous sight.” He told me that since 1978, he has missed only two British Opens. Quite the streak!
Favorite overall sport
Smith is a track star, football reporter, baseball extraordinaire and golf buff. Although he does wear a coat of many colors, there is a favorite sport: football. Baseball is a close second in his rankings, but football tops the list.
Georgia football game
Countless Georgia football games have been played in front of Smith. He’s seen some great ones and some rather not so good ones, but there was one that sticks out as his favorite: Belue to Scott. His favorite call and favorite moment wrapped up in one game. What a fantastic day for the fantastic Loran Smith.
“Well, we’re a young team, so we need to mature,“ Smith stated. “I’m hoping the schedule will allow that … I have faith. Even in our lean years, when I didn’t have anything to get excited about, I always felt we were going to do well.” Confident words yet humbling.
Before we come to a close, I would like to thank Loran for featuring me in his article two weeks ago. What an honor it was to have “Whatcha Got Loran” write an article spotlighting my family and me. I’ve read many an article by Smith, and I have a lot to learn from him. I can’t match his writing abilities, but I hope this article justifies what Loran’s really got … he’s got a lot. Go Dawgs!