Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Durham's Voice Called 'Gospel' to Tar Heel Fans; by Garry Smits

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Durham's Voice Called 'Gospel' to Tar Heel Fans; by Garry Smits

Article excerpt


ACC commissioner John Swofford said it all came down to trust between the late Woody Durham and University of North Carolina fans.

"His voice was gospel to generations of Tar Heels who trusted his every word," Swofford said in a statement on the passing of Durham late Tuesday at age 76. "I was struck by how diligently Woody prepared for his broadcast of games. When game time arrived he made it look and sound so easy because he had a voice that resonated just so, but much of it was because he worked incredibly hard at it. As they say, the great ones make it look easy."

Durham called UNC football and basketball for more than 40 years before he retired in 2011. He called 23 football bowl games, 13 basketball Final Fours and six national championship games.

He was diagnosed in 2016 with primary progressive aphasia, a rare brain disorder that affects speech. His family said he died peacefully.

Durham graduated from UNC in 1963 and called nearly 2,000 athletic events for the Tar Heels. He was a 13-time North Carolina sportscaster of the year and his son, Wes, is the play-by-play announcer at Georgia Tech.

Durham also is survived by his wife of 54 years, Jean. A celebration of Woody's life is planned for April 8 at Carmichael Arena on the UNC campus.

A day after he died, the ACC Sports Media Association named Durham the recipient of the 12th annual Bob Bradley Spirit and Courage Award. In June, he will be inducted into the National Sports Media Hall of Fame.

FSU out early

First-round knockouts in the ACC Tournament used to be common for Florida State. The Seminoles hope Wednesday's 82-74 loss to Louisville at The Barclays Center in Brooklyn won't be the start of another trend.

The Seminoles once lost six ACC tournament openers in a row (from 1993-1998) and in the first 20 years in the ACC, were knocked out in the first round 11 times. But beginning with their only tournament championship in 2012, FSU won at least one game six seasons in a row until Wednesday, when the Cardinals built a 26-point lead and held on.

The two teams combined for 21 blocked shots, an ACC Tournament record. …

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