Analysis: Voice of the Clemson Tigers out

Special to The StateApril 30, 2014 

Pete Yanity

— Out here the choices are beach or pool, shrimp or flounder, fried or broiled. Uncomplicated, much like if should be when deciding where you come down on the decision to replace Pete Yanity with Don Munson as voice of Clemson football.

It should be a matter of taste or preference, but it might not be that simple.

Yanity immediately followed Jim Phillips, who died unexpectedly in 2003 after more than three decades as the voice of Clemson sports. His visibility as a sportscaster for WSPA with a tailored, understated style made Yanity an obvious replacement.

Following an icon is difficult. Yanity worked at making the transition seamless, developed a signature touchdown phrase – “There’s orange in the end zone” – and seemed to be on solid footing, but he knew there were no guarantees under the current athletics administration.

In 17 months as athletics director, Dan Radakovich has restructured IPTAY, the school’s chief athletics fundraising arm, reshuffled the priorities for facilities upgrades and redefined the mission of the communications staff to control the means and manner by which Clemson delivers its message.

The makeover included repurposing some of the old furniture, moving out others and buying new. Little of it came without bruised egos and gnashing teeth, but Radakovich’s business instincts are well cultured.

Don Munson has been affiliated with Clemson athletics for 20 years, though fulltime the past four with the football program, primarily as director of creative media services. Previously, he worked with the football and basketball radio broadcasts in pregame, postgame and halftime roles. When Phillips died, Munson picked up women’s basketball and baseball, and his experience includes college football play-by-play with the cable networks.

Yanity had the coaches’ TV shows. Munson did the radio call-in shows. Munson was host at many athletics functions, including the IPTAY-sponsored “Prowl and Growl” events during the spring.

In this capacity, Munson adds the football and basketball coaches’ shows while continuing to provide video features for the video and communication departments, written features for several outlets and serve as host at various athletics functions.

For now, the men’s basketball job has not been filled. Yanity reportedly turned down the opportunity to continue calling basketball plus serving in some capacity on football game days.

The obvious questions: “Why?”

Radakovich’s statement in a release seemed ambiguous.

“Having an experienced broadcaster like Don on staff, it’s great to be able to use his talents throughout the year,” as if Munson hasn’t been working hard enough for the money they’re paying him and they figured to save a few bucks by reducing Yanity’s workload.

Yanity does a solid job, so what are the compelling reasons to change if you’re not going to search for the next Jim Phillips? Don Munson isn’t Larry Munson.

We might never know for certain. And it’s too soon to judge how well Munson will fare in this new role. There were a couple missteps in the previous one, but nothing worth fretting over, and he’s done well with baseball and handles the phone calls adroitly.

So this should be a matter of taste or preference – beach or pool – except Clemson pushed it into the hot tub.

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