Longtime North Carolina radio voice Woody Durham in 2011, when he retired after 40 years of calling Tar Heels basketball and football games.
Photo: AP
Photo: AP

Woody Durham, cherished UNC voice, father of Wes Durham, dies

Woody Durham, the voice of North Carolina football and basketball for 40 years and the father of longtime Georgia Tech broadcaster Wes Durham, died early Wednesday morning. Durham was 76.

Durham suffered from primary progressive aphasia, a degenerative brain disorder. During his time calling Tar Heels football and basketball games, from 1971-2011, he became an institution in the state of North Carolina. The admiration and love that Wes, who was Tech’s voice from 1995 through 2013, held for his father was obvious.

“It’s amazing to me on Saturdays, how I catch myself doing one or two things every game that he did,” Wes Durham said in a March 2017 interview with the News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C. “And sometimes I just laugh to myself.”

Wes Durham released a statement Wednesday on the UNC athletics website.

"Our family is grateful for the incredible support my dad and our family received throughout his illness,” the statement read. "From the medical teams to the general public, it's been amazing. We hold to and will always cherish the wonderful memories he left for our family and Carolina fans throughout the world."

ACC commissioner John Swofford, a North Carolina alumnus and former athletic director, praised Woody Durham’s work at North Carolina.

“Woody was synonymous with Carolina Athletics for decades, and his voice was gospel to generations of Tar Heels who trusted his every word. 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’. Woody was one of the great ones. He was just as good a person as he was a broadcaster.

"My thoughts and prayers, as well as those of the entire Atlantic Coast Conference, go out to Jean, Wes, Taylor and the entire Durham family.”

A celebration of Woody Durham's life is planned Sunday, April 8, 2018, at Carmichael Arena on the UNC campus, the school announced.

Read and sign the online guestbook for Woody Durham

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