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Old 05-02-2011, 03:17 PM
GAA_Admin GAA_Admin is offline
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Default "The Voice of the Tar Heels"

Woody Durham '63 recently announced his retirement after calling play-by-play on more than 1,800 football and menís basketball broadcasts on the Tar Heel Sports Network since 1971. Carolina fans often turned down the sound on their TVs to listen to his call of the games, and in tight contests, Woody would tell them to "get where you get and do what you do" to bring the Tar Heels good luck.

Tell us about your favorite memories of Woody and why he truly was "the voice" of Carolina sports.
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Old 05-03-2011, 01:53 PM
grahamwilliams grahamwilliams is offline
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“UN-BEE-LIEVEABLE!”
Thirty-seven years later, I still get chills down my spine whenever I listen to Woody Durham’s voice screaming into the microphone as he reacted to the most exciting comeback in North Carolina basketball history.

I wasn’t listening to the radio that day. I was a sophomore at UNC, sitting in the student section, several rows behind the Duke bench when the Tar Heels came back from 8 points down with 17 seconds left to tie the game and sent it into overtime. Mitch Kupchack threw the inbounds pass to Walter Davis, who dribbled the ball across mid-court and fired a shot at the buzzer. The ball hit the backboard and dropped through the basket, sending the Carmichael Auditorium crowd into a frenzy. The bleachers where I stood bounced up and down as we stomped our feet and cheered for our team.

Of course, the Tar Heels went on to win the game, which instantly became part of UNC basketball lore (“8 points, 17 seconds”), as did Woody’s play-by-play call of the game.

Woody retired last week after a 40-year career as the Voice of the Tar Heels. He was as much a part of Tar Heel athletics as Carolina blue. Whether it was football season or basketball season, faithful fans always listened to Woody call the games on the radio, even when they were there in person.

This was especially true during basketball season when fans would turn down their TV sets and listen to the radio. Why should you listen to Dick Vitale, Billy Packer or, in recent years, Clark Kellogg, when you could hear Woody’s play-by-play and get the real story of the game?

Regular listeners knew that Woody referred to Duke University as “Methodist flats” and when a game was tight, he would always tell his listeners to “go where you go and do what you do,” meaning it was time for Carolina faithful to turn to their favorite superstition to help the team win.

Living in South Carolina made it difficult to listen to many UNC games in the radio. The closest affiliate station is in Woodruff and the AM signal doesn’t carry this far. I was forced to rely on WRFX-FX in Charlotte, which carried Carolina basketball games if they were played at night.

Woody’s retirement press conference was held in the Smith Center and was reminiscent of the one when legendary coach Dean Smith stepped down – short and to the point. Woody said he asked Kaywood Ledford, longtime voice of the Kentucky Wildcats who retired several years ago, how he knew it was time to step away from the microphone.
“You’ll know,” Ledford told him.

As a tribute to Woody, North Carolina’s website, tarheelblue.com, contains a list of his memorable game calls. Among them are the Tar Heels’ national championships in 1982 (“The Tar Heels … are going to win … the national championship!”), 1993 and 1995, Connor Barth’s game-winning field goal against Miami, Rick Fox’s game-winning shot against No. 1 Oklahoma in the NCAA tournament, Jerry Stackhouse’s slam dunk against Duke, Dudley Bradley’s steal and layup to beat N.C. State and Casey Barth’s overtime field goal to beat Tennessee in the Music City Bowl last year.

I couldn’t begin to guess who will be the next Voice of the Tar Heels. Whoever it is has some mighty big shoes to fill.
Graham Williams, Class of 1977

Last edited by GAA_Admin; 05-03-2011 at 02:10 PM. Reason: added line breaks for clarity
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Old 05-03-2011, 03:49 PM
snalmond snalmond is offline
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The announcement that came about halfway through the 1971 basketball season that Bill Currie was leaving for Pittsburgh and would no longer be the voice of Carolina basketball and football was shocking to me and other Tar Heel fans. Was there anyone who take the place of The Mouth of the South?

I gained some comfort when I learned that Currie's successor was to be none other than Woody Durham. I became acquainted with Woody in the mid 1950s when he umpired some of the baseball games in the league for 8 to 12 year old boys in Albemarle and, of course, I watched as he advanced in his broadcasting career in radio and TV.

Woody was about as nearly perfect a choice as could have been made to become the next Voice of the Tar Heels, and he proved that over the subsequent 40 years. He had talent that he continued to develop, he worked hard to gain knowledge and pass it along to his audience, and whatever he did, it was essential to him that he do his best and do it right. Well, he delivered on all that. We took radios to the games and, for televised games viewed at home, we turned down the sound and listened to Woody on the radio. For games not televised that we couldn't attend, we took advantage of Woody's descriptions and "watched" them on the radio.

Did Woody step into Currie's shoes? No, Woody brought his own shoes. Thanks, Woody. It's been a pleasure.

Now, about that called third strike that was below my knees...

Steve Almond, Class of 1971

Last edited by snalmond; 05-03-2011 at 04:31 PM.
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Old 05-04-2011, 08:30 AM
MJCMKapp MJCMKapp is offline
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Default Woody Durham as mentor

Woody was sports director at WFMY-TV in Greensboro when I started there as a summer news intern in 1974, after my sophomore year at UNC. He was one of the first folks who made a point to greet me, striding straight over to my desk, holding out his hand and booming, "Hello. I'm Woody Durham. Welcome!" Dazzled by the huge Carolina ring on his hand and by the fact that I was actually in the presence of the "Voice," I said something clever like, "Um, gosh, I know your voice!" Woody had heard that I had an interest in sports coverage as well as news, and from time to time he asked me to interview visiting athletes and do features surrounding the ACC Tournament and other big events. From the distance of the decades, I know now that Woody didn't really need those stories. He was extending a metaphorical hand to a young Tar Heel just starting out.
Woody, thank you for your graciousness, your professionalism, your wonderful enthusiasm and your loyalty to your State and to your University! The thoroughness of your preparation and the matchless energy of your delivery have made your coverage extraordinary for a very long time. Keith and I wish you all the best in this next phase of your life. See you at the game!
Chancy McLean Kapp, UNC 1976
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Old 05-04-2011, 01:29 PM
cboyd76 cboyd76 is offline
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Thumbs up Woody was God

Woody was God to the Tar Heel faithful. Through thick and thin Woody was trusted to pull some amazes finishes by sheer will power and his "never say die" attitude. I always felt the 'heels had a chance to win any game with Woody at the microphone. He was an announcer first and foremost, a great 'heel fan and never referred to as a "homer." I will miss him more than I can say. It will never again be quite the sam. Enjoy your retirement, Woody, you certainly deserve it.
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