Pete Yanity looks back on 'wonderful run' as Clemson takes football radio 'in house'

Don Munson: 'It's a pretty humbling experience, first and foremost, especially when you consider those that have come before me'

Basketball - Tim Bourett and Pete Yanity

Photo by Mark Crammer

Basketball - Tim Bourett and Pete Yanity

Pete Yanity is out after 11 seasons serving as Clemson's play-by-play broadcaster for both football and men's basketball, the school announced Wednesday.

Don Munson, the university's play-by-play voice for baseball in addition to being director of creative media services, will take over for Yanity in broadcasting football games.

Munson will also host weekly football and basketball coaches' shows and work with various departments in creating video and written features. He has spent the past four years working full time within the athletic department and has been with the Clemson radio network for the past 16 years.

Clemson will seek a new basketball play-by-play voice while longtime football color analyst Will Merritt is expected to stay on.

“Having an experienced broadcaster like Don on staff, it's great to be able to use his talents throughout the year,” athletic director Dan Radakovich said in a release. “Pete always represented Clemson in a first-class and professional manner and never strayed from his endeavor as a consummate broadcaster. We wanted Pete to stay on board with the men's basketball program and other football broadcast opportunities, but understand his commitment to WSPA and his over 20 years of experience there.”

Yanity didn't make himself available for an interview with the Herald-Journal, but released a statement Wednesday afternoon that read, in part:

“As noted in an earlier release from Clemson athletics, a decision was made by the athletic director to move in a different direction. What a wonderful run it's been. I had the pleasure of starting with the network in 2001 and then did my very best to at least hold the torch raised by the late, great Jim Phillips. I am so grateful for the opportunity I had.

“On each broadcast, I worked with a close-knit group of individuals and over the years we became brothers. In the past decade-and-a-half, I also gained another family. The Clemson family. And I am so much the better for it.”

Yanity called his first Clemson football game, initially on an interim basis, at Georgia Tech on Sept. 20, 2003, after the Sept. 9 death of Phillips from an aneurysm of the aorta. Phillips had been the popular “Voice of the Tigers” for 36 years. Yanity has been the WSPA-TV sports director and main anchor since October of 1990 and has served as sideline reporter for the Carolina Panthers Pre-Season Television Network since 2001.

Munson, a 1984 graduate of Appalachian State, called games at his alma mater for eight years and also had stints Western Carolina and UNC Asheville.

He first joined Clemson's network in 1994 as host of the football pregame, halftime and “Fifth Quarter Show” productions before moving full time to affiliate relations manager and on-air host the following year. After Phillips' death, Munson took over as host of “Tiger Calls” and did play-by-play for baseball and women's basketball.

“It's a pretty humbling experience, first and foremost, especially when you consider those that have come before me,” Munson said in a phone interview. “I've got huge shoes to fill as far as that. There are not many programs like this in the country and I realize the enormity of being able to call football for Clemson is an opportunity that doesn't come along in everybody's life. I just feel blessed that Mr. Radakovich has seen fit that he can kind of hand the reins over to me.

“(Phillips) was a living legend. You mentioned him and automatically thought of Clemson athletics. That situation where Pete stepped in to fill the void after Jim's sudden death, you don't wish that upon anybody. Especially with somebody that had been in the forefront as much as Jim had.

“When Pete stepped on board he did a magnificent job and rightfully so was given the opportunity to continue on, and what he did was outstanding. I'm not foolish enough to think this isn't going to be something that maybe stirs the water a little bit in the transition, but I think of the way Mr. Radakovich has done things previously at other universities. (Such as) Wes Durham at Georgia Tech. A guy in-house that he brought in, someone that could do a lot of different things for him in addition to just radio work. There are my thoughts on that.”

When asked about all the homework and preparation involved in making the transition to football play-by-play this fall, Munson said his close proximity to football coach Dabo Swinney and the football program as a whole will help make the change more seamless.

“When coach Swinney brought me on board here in July of 2010 (as director of creative media services), it was one of those situations having worked at the network and even doing his call-in show and knowing him, I often tell people that you think that you know a lot, but until you get here inside the building and you start working with the head coach and the assistant coaches, the support personnel and the players, you realize that you don't know squat until you really start working inside here. I've been very blessed in having been able to do that.

“Obviously the guys who will be stepping foot onto the field next year for the Tigers playing football, I know most of them backwards and forwards and up and down. The only players I don't know are the freshmen who will be showing up here in June, but again the advantage I'll have is being around them the entire month of July and through camp in August. I get to be at every practice and be in team meetings and things like that, so I'll have a little bit different perspective than what most play-by-play guys get unless they're actually employed by the university. Most now come from an outside source.”

Munson said he hadn't spoken to Merritt since the change was made official, “but I hope he continues on with the network because he brings a lot to it that would be difficult for me to replace, that's for sure.”

Swinney said in a release, “This is a great opportunity and role for Don and I'm extremely happy for him. I enjoyed working with and getting to know Pete Yanity and respect his professionalism throughout his time broadcasting our games.”

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Comments » 7

TrevorT writes:

I'm sorry to hear this news. I feel like Pete has been one of the best play by play guys in college sports over the last ten years. Every time I hear another school's broadcast, even big time programs, I always felt like we had something special. Sorry to see you go Pete. Good luck.

lhaselden writes:

I wonder if Munson will be saying "there is ORANGE in the end zone." ..... I might miss Yanity... but I still miss Jim Phillips...

Bigboots writes:

Munson seems like a fine fellow, but he is nowhere near as capable as Pete.
I don't expect I will be listening.
Best of luck to Pete.
We're taking a step down with this move.

tigerrob44#291802 writes:

Don does a really good job with the baseball games. Sadly, there is nobody on earth now or then that was as good as Jim Phillips calling a football game in my opinion. Jim was a friend but, I said that long before we became friends. Jim was really, really good at his job and I miss him. Lousy golfer but great broadcaster.

DahlonegaJoe writes:

Many thanks to pete.
Good luck don.

BlueRidgeBengal writes:

Pete was great. I'm gonna miss his calls. I don't agree with Drad on this one.

TigerFan95 writes:

Yannity is a good guy and all, but I stopped listening to Clemson football games on the radio years ago because I never cared for his radio voice, especially when coupled with Will Merritt’s country bumpkin accent. A change was necessary, but Munson is not an upgrade by any means. Clemson can do better, and I doubt I will start listening again any time soon.

Now that I expressed my criticism, I do have to say that even though I think Clemson’s radio guys are awful, they are much, much better than SC’s combination of Todd Ellis and whatever that other guy’s name is. Todd Ellis sounds like some frat boy that wandered into the radio booth after having a couple too many in one of those old railroad cars they drug-up outside.

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