UNC’s Durham: It is a ‘good time’ to retire
North Carolina radio play-by-play announcer Woody Durham said
the time is right for him to retire after 40 years of calling some
of the biggest sports moments in school history.
Durham held a news conference Wednesday to discuss his
retirement, which is effective at the end of June. Durham, who
turns 70 in August, said he has no health problems and that he
decided in December that the 2010-11 season would be his last.
Durham said he felt the quality of his broadcast presentations
had begun to sag in the past year or so, prompting him to decide he
wanted to call it a career on his own terms.
”I felt it kind of getting away from me a little bit,” Durham
said. ”And so that’s why I thought it’s probably a good time to
Durham had been the ”Voice of the Tar Heels” since 1971,
calling more than 1,800 football and men’s basketball games. That
included four NCAA men’s basketball championship victories – the
1982 and 1993 titles under Dean Smith as well as the 2005 and 2009
titles under Roy Williams.
Williams and football coach Butch Davis attended the news
conference, with Williams flying in from a recruiting trip – his
luggage was lost in transit – before flying back out later in the
Durham’s tenure has spanned the college careers of some of the
storied basketball program’s biggest names, including Phil Ford,
Michael Jordan, Antawn Jamison and Tyler Hansbrough. He also called
games during the football careers of Lawrence Taylor, Amos Lawrence
and Julius Peppers, among others.
Durham worked with four men’s basketball coaches, six football
coaches and four athletic directors. He called 23 bowl games, 13
Final Fours and six basketball title games.
His retirement follows a year in which the football team won the
Music City Bowl despite playing the entire season in the shadow of
an NCAA investigation. The men’s basketball team won an Atlantic
Coast Conference regular-season title before falling a win short of
the Final Four.
Durham grew up in Albemarle and began his broadcasting career at
WZKY radio at age 16. He graduated from UNC in 1963 and also spent
19 years as a TV sportscaster in Greensboro and the Triangle area
before joining Tar Heel Sports Marketing full-time in 1981.
He is a member of the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame as well
as the North Carolina Broadcasters Hall of Fame. He also is a
13-time recipient of the North Carolina Sportscaster of the Year
Durham’s son, Wes, is the play-by-play voice for Georgia Tech
and the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons. Wes Durham refused to say whether he
would be a candidate to replace his father in Chapel Hill.