UNC to name media center after legendary radio man Woody Durham
CHAPEL HILL — The North Carolina Department of Athletics announced Monday afternoon that the media center next to Smith Center, the Tar Heels’ home for basketball, will be officially named in honor of the voice radio legend Woody Durham.
His wife, Jean Durham, and sons, Wes Durham and Taylor Durham, will be recognized at halftime of Wednesday night’s men’s basketball game against Pittsburgh, an Atlantic Coast Conference game at the Smith Center in the under the appointment of the Woody Durham Media and Communications Center.
Durham, who called North Carolina games by the thousands during his 40 years with the Tar Heels, died in March 2018 of complications from primary progressive aphasia.
“This recognition for Woody has been so emotional for me,” Jean Durham said in a statement. “This is totally unexpected, but I am so grateful. I greatly appreciate the family who made the donation to honor Woody’s memory. Knowing how loyal he was to ‘his’ university, makes this honor even more special Hopefully when fans walk past the media center and see his name, it will trigger a thought of Woody and a smile.
Woody Durham was the detailed voice of North Carolina men’s football and basketball from 1971 to 2011. Born in Mebane, he grew up in Albemarle and graduated from UNC in 1963. He called 23 football games Tar Heels, 13 Final Fours and six NCAA championship games in basketball, including NCAA program-winning seasons in 1982, 1993, 2005 and 2009.
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Wes Durham is the play-by-play radio man for the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, co-hosts a weekday morning show on the ACC Network with Mark Packer, and calls on game shows on the ACC Network. Taylor Durham is the business development manager for Elon’s athletics department and works as the play-by-play voice of the Phoenix.
When North Carolina beat Elon in basketball in December, the brothers were together at the Smith Center to call the game — Wes Durham for the ACC network and Taylor Durham for the Elon radio show.
“We are grateful to the university and the athletic department for this incredible honor,” the brothers said in a joint statement. “His generosity in naming this building after our father forever ensures his incredible association with Carolina. He never took for granted the opportunity to represent his alma mater, but also the coaches and players who were central figures on his shows. Nearly 11 years after his career ended, Carolina and ACC fans continually remind our family how much his work meant to them.
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Woody Durham is a 13-time North Carolina Sportscaster of the Year winner. He was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, North Carolina Broadcasters Hall of Fame, Stanly County Sports Hall of Fame, and Mebane Sports Hall of Fame.
Durham received a Distinguished Service Medal from the UNC General Alumni Association for outstanding service to the university and the alumni association; the William R. Davie Award, given by the UNC Board of Trustees to recognize extraordinary service to the school; the Skeeter Francis Award for Special Service to the ACC; the Russell Blunt Legends Award from the North Carolina High School Athletic Association for being a true legend in track and field; the Lindsey Nelson Outstanding Sportscaster Award from the All-American Football Foundation; the Outstanding Service Award from the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center Board of Visitors; a priceless gem of UNC athletics; and a Distinguished Service Award from the NCHSAA.
“Woody loved his alma mater and the Tar Heels, and his work helped create generations of Tar Heel fans while setting a standard of excellence for every broadcast, story and highlight,” said the athletic director of North Carolina, Bubba Cunningham. “We tell the stories of our 800 student-athletes and 28 teams across multiple media platforms at our Media and Communications Center, and it’s fitting that the building is now named in Woody’s honor. As Woody liked to say, “Go where you go and do what you do”. ”
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Adam Smith is a sports reporter for the Burlington Times-News and USA TODAY Network. You can reach him by email at [email protected] or @adam_smithTN on Twitter.
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