Woody Durham

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Woody Durham
Woody Durham walking to center court in Dean Smith Center color corrected closeup.jpg
Durham during halftime of a 2007 Tar Heels men’s basketball game against Wake Forest
Born Woody Lombardi Durham
(1941-08-08) August 8, 1941 (age 76)
Mebane, North Carolina
Alma mater University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Spouse(s) Jean Durham
Children Wes Durham, Taylor Durham
Sports commentary career
Team(s) North Carolina Tar Heels football and men’s basketball
Genre(s) Play-by-play

Woody Lombardi Durham (born August 8, 1941 in Mebane, North Carolina),[1] was "The Voice of the Tar Heels", the play-by-play radio announcer for the North Carolina Tar Heels football and men’s basketball programs from 1971 to 2011.

Early life[edit]

Durham grew up in Albemarle, North Carolina. He grew up a Tar Heel fan: as a child, Durham attended Tar Heel football games with his family after World War II.

Durham was close with Bob Harris; Harris would eventually become the Voice of the Duke Blue Devils. The two played on the same Little League Baseball team. In 1957, Durham was a guard for Albermarle High School's football team; Harris was the team's manager.[2] Durham and Harris also sang together for Albermarle High School's chorus as well as in a double quartet.[3]

In 1961, while Durham was an undergraduate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he was initiated into the Alpha Rho chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.[4]

Durham graduated from UNC Chapel Hill with a bachelor's degree in radio, television and motion pictures in 1963.[1]

Career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Durham began his career at WZKY, a small AM radio station in his hometown of Albemarle, at age 16.[1] As a student announcer, Durham played rock and roll records, broadcast church sermons, and did color commentary for high school basketball.[5]

Durham was the sports director of WUNC-TV while he was an undergraduate at UNC Chapel Hill.[1] He also called baseball games around this time.[6]

After graduating from UNC Chapel Hill, Durham briefly worked at WBTW-TV before becoming the sports director of WFMY-TV. He worked at WFMY for fourteen years.[1] While at WFMY-TV, Durham also worked on the station's Atlantic Coast Conference package, what would be the predecessor to Raycom Sports. He also did color commentary for Wake Forest Demon Deacons football, starting in 1964. When Wake Forest decided to fire their football coach in favor of hiring a new coach, Durham moved on to call Guilford College football for two years. Durham's work with WFMY-TV lead him to want to call play-by-play for ACC football and men's basketball.[5]

In 1975, Durham was the president of both the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame and the Atlantic Coast Sportswriters' Association.

In 1977, Durham became the Director of Sports and Sports Development at WPTF-TV. He stayed with WPTF-TV for four years.[1]

The Voice of the Tar Heels (1971-2011)[edit]

While still working for WFMY-TV, Durham became the play-by-play announcer for the Tar Heel Football and Tar Heel Basketball Networks, sports radio networks, in 1971. He took over from the radio network's founder, Bill Currie, the "Mouth of the South," when Currie decided to take a television job in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Durham also became the master of ceremonies for The Bill Dooley Show and The Dean Smith Show, television programs aired throughout North Carolina.[7] [8] [9]

In 1981, Durham was named vice president and executive sports director at Tar Heel Sports Marketing.[10]

Durham remained the host of the television shows until 1983, when Jefferson-Pilot Communications bought the rights to UNC Chapel Hill's football and men's basketball television shows.[11][12] Jefferson-Pilot also developed call-in and five-minute drive time radio shows with Smith and Mack Brown.[13][14] Durham would return to hosting the football television show, then known as The Mack Brown Television Show, in 1993 after the Village Companies, the owners of the Tar Heel Sports Network, bought back the multimedia rights for UNC Chapel Hill. In addition to the football and men's basketball shows, the rights also included Jefferson-Pilot's radio properties.[15][16] Smith, on the other hand, retained Jefferson-Pilot's John Kilgo as host of his radio and television shows.[17]

In 1999, Learfield Communications bought the multimedia rights from Tar Heel Sports Marketing.[18] As Learfield preferred to have only one announcer host all of its multimedia shows, and Smith was retiring from coaching, Durham once again became the host of the men's basketball television and radio shows.[17]

As the Voice of the Tar Heels, Durham did the play-by-play for twenty-three Tar Heel football bowl games. He also called several games during the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament involving Tar Heel men's basketball teams, including the 1982, 1993, 2005, and 2009 championship games.[10]

When the UNC Chapel Hill athletic department relaunched its website, TarHeelBlue.com (now GoHeels.com), Durham and his then color analyst partner Mick Mixon were given editorial columns on the website.[19]

After forty years as the Voice of the Tar Heels, Durham announced his retirement on April 20, 2011.[20] A nationwide search was conducted to find his successor. Jones Angell, who worked with the Tar Heel Sports Network as a host and as Durham's color analyst, was named the new Voice of the Tar Heels approximately two months later.[21]

Some of Durham's expressions during his broadcasts include "Go where you go and do what you do," "Go to war, Miss Agnes," [22][23] a phrase Durham heard from Chuck Thompson during a Baltimore Colts game,[5] and "Good gosh gurdy."[24] Durham is also known for his "How 'bout them Heels" play call before the end of the 1982 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship Game.[23][25][26] Durham repeated this play call for a homecoming ceremony at Kenan Stadium after the 1982 championship game, before the members of that championship team spoke to the audience.[27]

In addition to Mixon and Angell, Durham's broadcast partners have included, but are not limited to, Phil Ford, Charlie Justice, and Eric Montross.[28]

Post-broadcasting career[edit]

With the help of his wife Jean and sportswriter Adam Lucas, Durham published his autobiography, Woody Durham: A Tar Heel Voice, on September 4, 2012.[29] The book was awarded one of the Willie Parker Peace History Book Awards from the North Carolina Society of Historians in 2013.[30]

Durham wrote editorials for the now defunct magazine CAROLINA: The Magazine.[31]

Durham hosted a radio program, Woody Durham’s Great Moments in Sports History, for WNCW. The program, which first aired in December 2014, was a 60 to 90 second show focusing on little-known sports history facts.[10]

Awards and honors[edit]

In 1971, the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters awarded Durham with the J. Robert Marlowe Award of Merit.

Durham has received Distinguished Service Awards from the Greensboro Jaycees and the North Carolina High School Athletic Association.[1]

In 1993, Stanly County, North Carolina inducted Durham into its Sports Hall of Fame.[32]

UNC Chapel Hill has awarded Durham with several awards. After Durham called his 1,000th broadcast of a game in January 1994, the UNC Chapel Hill Athletic Department awarded him their "Carolina Priceless Gem" award. The UNC General Alumni Association awarded Durham their Distinguished Service Medal in 1995.[1][33] Durham was awarded the William R. Davie Award by the UNC Chapel Hill Board of Trustees on November 15, 2000.[34] For Durham's contributions to the UNC Tar Heels men's golf program, the men's golf program inducted him into their A.E. Finley Order of Merit.[1]

Durham was named North Carolina Sportscaster of the Year thirteen times, last winning the award in 2009.[35][36]

During the 2002 ACC Men's Basketball Tournament, Durham was presented with the Marvin "Skeeter" Francis award for his services to the ACC.[1][5]

In 2003, along with Dooley, Durham was awarded the Russell Blunt Legends Award by the NCHSAA, an award presented to legends in the sporting world.[37]

Durham was inducted into the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters in 2004.[38]

Durham was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame on May 19, 2005.[39]

The All-American Football Foundation presented Durham with their Lindsey Nelson Outstanding Sportscaster Award on June 10, 2005. The award is given to sportscasters who have supported collegiate football through their work.[1]

An endowed professorship made in Durham's name, the Woody Durham Distinguished Professorship Fund, was also established in 2005. This professorship was created to seek out deserving new faculty members for UNC Chapel Hill's Department of Communication.[40]

The city of Mebane inducted Durham into its Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.[41]

The UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center awarded Durham and Jean their Outstanding Service Award in 2010 for their service and leadership to the center.[42]

Durham received the National Football Foundation's Chris Schenkel Award, an award for broadcasters known for calling one specific collegiate football program for several years, in 2011.[43]

During the 2012 Lombardi Award ceremony, Durham was the first-ever recipient of the Vince Lombardi Excellence in College Broadcasting award. [44]

Durham received the Curt Gowdy Media Award for his contributions to basketball during the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony in September 2015.[45] A presentation honoring Durham receiving the Curt Gowdy Media Award was held in the Smith Center on February 17, 2016, during halftime of the Duke/UNC Chapel Hill men's basketball game.[46]

Durham was named a Town Treasure, an award honoring exceptional citizens of Chapel Hill and Carrboro, North Carolina, by the Chapel Hill Historical Society for his work with fundraising efforts around the city of Chapel Hill.[47]

The Knoxville Quarterback Club honored Durham with the Lindsey Nelson Broadcasting Award on April 22, 2017.[48][49]

Personal life[edit]

Durham married Jean after graduating from UNC Chapel Hill in 1963.

Durham and Jean have been involved in several charitable efforts in the Chapel Hill area after moving back in 1984. Durham is most proud of his work with the Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill; his fundraising efforts helped build and expand the home.[6] He also was involved with the Eastern North Carolina chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.[1]

Durham was diagonsed with primary progressive aphasia in January 2016.[24] In June 2016, Durham wrote a letter that was posted on GoHeels.com, announcing that he would retire from public speaking.[50]

Durham's eldest son, Wes Durham, is the former play-by-play radio voice of ACC rival Georgia Tech and current play-by-play radio voice of the Atlanta Falcons.[1] His youngest son, Taylor, is currently the play-by-play announcer for the Elon Phoenix.[24]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Player Bio: Woody Durham". GoHeels.com. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved March 17, 2017. 
  2. ^ Graff, Michael (March 1, 2010). "A Carolina Calling". Our State. Greensboro, North Carolina. Retrieved March 14, 2017. 
  3. ^ "Isothermal will host Woody Durham". Isothermal Community College. Spindale, North Carolina. November 11, 2014. Retrieved March 14, 2017. 
  4. ^ "Chapter History". Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Alpha Rho, University of North Carolina. n.d. Retrieved March 18, 2017. 
  5. ^ a b c d Durham, Woody; Lucas, Adam (2012). Woody Durham: A Tar Heel Voice. Winston-Salem, North Carolina: John F. Blair. ISBN 978-0895875778. 
  6. ^ a b "Woody Durham" (PDF). Chapel Hill Historical Society. Chapel Hill, NC. 2016. Retrieved April 16, 2017. 
  7. ^ "Mouth of the South Called Them As Only He Could See Them". Carolina Alumni Review. Chapel Hill, North Carolina. February 19, 2008. Retrieved March 18, 2017. 
  8. ^ University of North Carolina ... football blue book for press and radio. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 1971. 
  9. ^ U.N.C. basketball blue book. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 1971. 
  10. ^ a b c "Woody Durham hits airwaves on WNCW". Isothermal Community College. Spindale, North Carolina. November 13, 2014. Retrieved March 11, 2017. 
  11. ^ Carolina football. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 1985. Retrieved April 3, 2017. 
  12. ^ U.N.C. basketball blue book. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 1984. Retrieved April 3, 2017. 
  13. ^ Carolina football. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 1992. p. 207. Retrieved April 2, 2017. 
  14. ^ U.N.C. basketball blue book. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 1992. p. 158. Retrieved April 3, 2017. 
  15. ^ Carolina football. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 1993. p. 222. Retrieved April 2, 2017. 
  16. ^ U.N.C. basketball blue book. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 1993. p. 42. Retrieved April 3, 2017. 
  17. ^ a b Chansky, Art (2015). 100 Things North Carolina Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die. Chicago: Triumph Books. 
  18. ^ Chansky, Art (June 20, 2012). "The Site That Knew The Score". WCHL (AM). Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Retrieved April 4, 2017. 
  19. ^ "UNC's Official Athletic Site TarHeelBlue.com Relaunches". GoHeels.com. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. January 7, 2000. Retrieved April 16, 2017. 
  20. ^ "Woody Durham To Retire As Voice Of The Tar Heels". GoHeels.com. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. April 19, 2011. Retrieved March 10, 2017. 
  21. ^ Amato, Neil (November 11, 2011). "A Radio Dream Realized". GoHeels.com. Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Retrieved March 12, 2017. 
  22. ^ Chansky, Art (July 1, 2011). "You Can Call Him Jones". WCHL (AM). Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Retrieved March 7, 2017. 
  23. ^ a b "Fans' Favorite Woody Durham Memories". GoHeels.com. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. April 22, 2011. Retrieved March 13, 2017. 
  24. ^ a b c Carter, Andrew (March 9, 2017). "Woody's Quiet Fight". The News & Observer. Raleigh, North Carolina. Retrieved March 13, 2017. 
  25. ^ Black, Jimmy; Fowler, Scott (2006). Jimmy Black's Tales from the Tar Heels. Champaign, IL: Sports Publishing LLC. p. 7. 
  26. ^ Broun, Danny (1983). Mosley, Betty, ed. "Carolina Sports, a Tradition of Excellence". Tar Heel Junior Historian. Raleigh, NC: Tar Heel Junior Historian Association. 22 (2): 15. Retrieved April 16, 2017. 
  27. ^ Hilliard, Jack; Fletcher, Stephen (March 29, 2012). "The Madness of March: Two Championships Uniquely Remembered (Part Two)". A View to Hugh. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved April 17, 2017. 
  28. ^ "Time Out With the Score: 40 Years and Done for Durham". Carolina Alumni Review. Chapel Hill, NC. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. April 20, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2017. 
  29. ^ Northam, Ran (August 12, 2012). "Voice Of The Tar Heels To Release Much Anticipated Book". WCHL (AM). Archived from the original on August 14, 2012. Retrieved April 16, 2017. 
  30. ^ "2013 Winners". North Carolina Society of Historians. Retrieved April 16, 2017. 
  31. ^ "CAROLINA: The Magazine, Oct. 29". GoHeels.com. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved April 16, 2017. 
  32. ^ U.N.C. basketball blue book. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 1994. p. 52. Retrieved April 17, 2003. 
  33. ^ "GAA Honors Alumni With Distinguished Service Medals". Carolina Alumni Review. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (July/August): 34. 2005. Retrieved April 19, 2017. (Subscription required (help)). 
  34. ^ "Trustees honor four with William R. Davie Award". UNC News Service. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. November 15, 2000. Retrieved April 19, 2017. 
  35. ^ "State Awards - North Carolina". National Sports Media Association. National Sports Media Association. Retrieved April 17, 2017. 
  36. ^ "Woody Durham". National Football Foundation. National Football Foundation. Retrieved April 17, 2017. 
  37. ^ Carolina football. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 2010. p. 174. Retrieved April 20, 2017. 
  38. ^ "Woody Durham to be Inducted into NCAB Hall of Fame". GoHeels.com. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. April 3, 2004. Retrieved April 17, 2017. 
  39. ^ Pace, Lee. "Woody Durham 2005". North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. Retrieved April 18, 2017. 
  40. ^ "The Woody Durham Distinguished Professorship Fund". College of Arts & Sciences. UNC College of Arts & Sciences. Retrieved April 19, 2017. 
  41. ^ "Events in Alamance County, NC". VisitAlamance.com. Burlington/Alamance County NC Convention & Visitors Bureau. Archived from the original on June 8, 2008. Retrieved April 19, 2017. 
  42. ^ "Jean and Woody Durham Honored with Service Award from UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center in Chapel Hill". UNC School of Medicine. UNC School of Medicine. April 28, 2010. Retrieved April 21, 2017. 
  43. ^ "Woody Durham To Receive NFF Schenkel Award". GoHeels.com. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. August 18, 2011. Retrieved April 17, 2017. 
  44. ^ "Woody Durham To Receive Lombardi Honor". GoHeels.com. Chapel Hill, North Carolina. December 3, 2012. Retrieved December 3, 2012. 
  45. ^ "Woody Durham Wins Gowdy Award" (Press release). Chapel Hill, North Carolina: Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. February 13, 2015. Retrieved March 19, 2017. 
  46. ^ UNC Men's Basketball: Woody Durham Honored in Smith Center for Gowdy Award. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: UNCTarHeelsAthletics. February 18, 2016. Retrieved March 19, 2017. 
  47. ^ Loughran, Rosie (November 7, 2016). "9 Chapel Hill and Carrboro residents named 'town treasures'". The Daily Tar Heel. Chapel Hill, NC. Retrieved April 16, 2017. 
  48. ^ "Beamer, Durham To Be Honored at O&W Game". UTSports.com. March 20, 2017. Retrieved March 21, 2017. 
  49. ^ Durham, Wes [@WesDurham] (April 22, 2017). "Thanks to @knoxqbclub & East Tenn @NFFNetwork chapter for honoring my Dad with Lindsay Nelson Award this morning in Knoxville." (Tweet) – via Twitter. 
  50. ^ Durham, Woody (June 1, 2016). "Open Letter From Woody Durham". GoHeels.com. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved April 4, 2017.