Article reprinted courtesy of Fargo Forum and reporter Chris Murphy. Picture courtesy of Fargo Forum photographer Dave Samson.
Moorhead-- There's a rare kind of voice floating in the area's airwaves that has the ability to talk the Moorhead faithful through seven losses in the state hockey championship. The voice is calming, while at the same time doing its job and explaining the scene that is tearing hearts apart.
That same voice is prepared to light Moorhead on fire like when it declared the Spuds football state champions in 1987 or Concordia women's basketball team the 1988 NCAA Division III champs.
It takes a rare voice to explain to Moorhead scenes that will break hearts and fill hearts with excitement, acting as the conscious to the Moorhead High School and Concordia College sports scene. The voice belongs to Larry Knutson. On April 1 in Minneapolis, Knutson will be inducted into the Minnesota Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
The man who has the words to explain everything, had none when he was called on Monday morning with the news.
"I knew that my name had been submitted, but to actually find out about it was ... I don't even know the words to say," Knutson said.
For once, let your voice rest, Larry. Let others speak for you.
"There are no better guys in the business," Moorhead athletic director Dean Haugo said.
"I've had the great opportunity to listen to (Hall of Fame Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster) Vin Scully and the same opportunity to listen to Larry Knutson call the Cobbers," Concordia sports information director Jim Cella said. "I love broadcast. For me, they can paint the picture. It's different nowadays because I get to see all sorts of different types of radio guys and I see the older guys and younger guys. They're always more psych and hype, trying to get enthusiasm into the game, whereas Larry lets the game get enthusiasm into the listener."
Knutson, 68, is in his 38th season calling Moorhead sports. He began calling sports for Concordia in the mid 1980s. But before the calls of heartache and joy for Moorhead and Concordia, there was a moment in Knutson's life where the microphone was handed to him.
In 1975, at 27 years old, Knutson, went to the KBRF radio station in Fergus Falls, Minn., and asked if he could tag along with a broadcaster. He had got his bachelor's degree from Minnesota State University Moorhead in 1973 and studied radio broadcasting at Thief River Falls Technical College.
Knutson had been on his knees painting the old railroad depot in his hometown of Ashby, Minn. He asked God for guidance and was told to take his microphone to the gym, so he went to KBRF.
Knutson went with Jack Brush and read some stats during a basketball game between Battle Lake and Henning. The next stop was Ashby for a basketball game against Underwood.
In the second quarter, Brush handed Knutson the microphone and said, "It's all yours." The microphone was his.
"It doesn't matter what the sport is, he finds a way to put that human touch into whatever he's doing," Moorhead volleyball coach Char Lien said. "He always makes everyone feel special. He just bleeds Moorhead and the kids realize that and appreciate what he does. He's so kind. He's so kind to the kids. He knows a connection for everybody. I think that just makes the kids feel special."
Knutson could have taken this weekend off. He could have dug up another joke for pregame entertainment that can't be repeated, not because it's content is inappropriate, but moreso because the joke is terrible. Instead of relaxing, he made arrangements, so he could travel with the Moorhead boys hockey team to be on the radio for a game at Minnetonka on Friday and at Breck on Saturday.
"Here's a guy that he could have a weekend free and he decides to come broadcast two hockey games, basically giving up his whole weekend," said Moorhead boys hockey coach Jon Ammerman, whose brother listens to Knutson's radio call of the Spuds in Sweden. "He paints all day and then he comes and calls sports on the radio. We're fortunate here to have him."
The radio work is only part-time, but Knutson treats it like it's his life.
"The thing is it's always been a labor of love," Cella said. "He loves what he does, and it comes through in his voice. If he didn't enjoy the whole process, if he didn't love what he was doing, he wouldn't be prepared. If we have a 1 p.m. football game, he'll be there at 10 a.m. Every game he does is the seventh game of the World Series."
Back to you, Larry.
"This was a calling," Knutson said. "I care about people and the way they go about their lives. As a result, I get to see people in a lot of different ways. You go through the ups and downs of the coaches and the teams. You ride the highs and you ride the lows. That's what makes it go.
"They always say you never work a day in your life when you do what you love. Well, I've never worked a day in my life."