CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) – Woody Durham, who served for 40 years as the “Voice of the Tar Heels” on radio, has died at the age of 76. A release from UNC said Durham passed at 12:45 a.m. Wednesday.
Durham, a 1963 UNC graduate, retired in 2011. He called more than 1,800 broadcasts on the Tar Heels Sports Network, winning the North Carolina Sportscaster of the Year award 13 times. Durham previously worked at WFMY News 2 as a Sports Director.
“It’s a very sad day for everyone who loves the University of North Carolina because we have lost someone who spent nearly 50 years as one of its greatest champions and ambassadors,” says UNC men’s basketball coach Roy Williams. “My heart goes out to Jean, Wes, Taylor and their entire family."
In 2016, it was revealed he had been diagnosed with primary progressive aphasia, which affected his ability to speak.
An official release from UNC says the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association will honor Durham at the 2018 ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament with the Bob Bradley Spirit and Courage Award.
ACC Commissioner and UNC alum John Swofford praised Durham Wednesday:
"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."