Larry Rawson, photo courtesy of PhotoRun.net.
Since 1981, one of the primary reasons that track & field has continued to grow on U.S. television was its championing by the guy in the picture just above this note. That is Larry Rawson.
The former, late great Villanova coach, Jumbo Elliot, once noted, in TFN, that one should make a living from one field, so that avocation would not be tempered by finances. Larry Rawson started announcing road races, and moved to track & field. His goal has always been pretty transparent: to translate the sport he loves to the sport masses. He did that with gusto and an iconic style.
A few years ago, ESPN management noted that track & field was one of their most profitable ventures. It continues to be, and there should be some thanks to Larry Rawson, a great friend of our sport!
Walt Murphy’s News and Results Service (firstname.lastname@example.org)
(c)Copyright 2009-all rights reserved. May not be reprinted or retransmitted without permission
Larry Rawson–End of an Era in TV Broadcasting
by Walt Murphy
Larry Rawson, the (T&F) â€œVoice of ESPNâ€ for its 30 years of existence, will no longer be part of the broadcast team for USATFâ€™s series of indoor and outdoor meets.
While Rawson has been replaced by Ato Boldon for meets such as the Millrose Games, the Reebok Boston Indoor Games, and the Penn Relays, he will still have a presence on ESPN this year at the SEC Indoor and Outdoor Championships, the NCAA Indoor Championships, and major marathons in Boston, Chicago, and New York.
Said Rawson, who anchored Boston College to victory in the DMR at the 1963 Penn Relays, â€œItâ€™s been a great honor to represent our sport on TV and try to do my part to build our audience and make it interesting to the viewer. Iâ€™m proud to have had a hand in the growth in the ratings(on ESPN)â€.
Some â€œpuristsâ€ in the sport might have cringed whenever they heard a Rawsonism like, â€œA mile is 4 laps around your local high school trackâ€, but that is his way of trying to educate the casual fan. While they were waiting for a hotel elevator in Fayetteville recently, a coach approached Rawson and said with a smile on his face, â€œMy mother LOVES you!. You help her understand whatâ€™s going onâ€.
Standing out among the many great races heâ€™s called over the years, Rawson cited Eamonn Coghlanâ€™s 3:49.78 World Record mile at the Meawdowlands in 1983.
On a personal note, Iâ€™ve had the pleasure of working closely with Larry in the TV booth for many years and Iâ€™ve never been around a harder working, or more passionate, announcer. No one patrols an athletesâ€™ hotel lobby better than he does, and he has built many lasting relationships with the sportâ€™s elite athletes. I look forward to working with him again this season, even if it’s on a limited basis.
And he has been, and will continue to be, a tireless advocate for the sport through his contacts at ESPN, always pushing them to get more events on the air.
While his opportunities might have been reduced, heâ€™ll still bring that great enthusiasm and passion to whichever event he happens to be working on.
Special thanks to Walt Murphy, used with permission.
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