Legendary North Carolina sportscaster Durham dies

Legendary North Carolina sportscaster Durham dies

Woody Durham, who called North Carolina football and basketball games for four decades, died peacefully at his home in Chapel Hill, N.C., on Wednesday. He was 76.

Wes Durham said his father, known as "Voice of the Tar Heels," died from complications of primary progressive aphasia. That neurocognitive disorder prevented him from public speaking in recent years, according to school spokesman Steve Kirschner.

Durham called North Carolina games from 1971 through 2011, covering more than 1,800 games.

"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," North Carolina men's basketball coach Roy Williams said. "My heart goes out to Jean, Wes, Taylor and their entire family.

"It's ironic that Woody would pass away at the start of the postseason in college basketball because this was such a joyous time for him. He created so many lasting memories for Carolina fans during this time of year. It's equally ironic that he dealt with a disorder for the final years of his life that robbed him of his ability to communicate as effectively as he did in perfecting his craft.

"Woody loved the Tar Heels, and players, coaches and fans of all ages loved him right back. ... There will never be another quite like him."

Durham called 23 bowl games and 13 Final Fours during his career and spoke during the public memorial following the death of legendary coach Dean Smith in February 2015.

Durham will be posthumously awarded the Bob Bradley Spirit and Courage Award, presented by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association and the ACC, during the Tar Heels' conference tournament game against Syracuse on Wednesday night in Brooklyn.

In June, Durham will be inducted into the National Sports Media Association's Hall of Fame along with HBO's Bryant Gumbel, Washington Post baseball columnist Thomas Boswell and Bluestar Media's Dick Weiss, former national college basketball and football writer for the Philadelphia Daily News and the New York Daily News.

Durham won the North Carolina Sportscaster of the Year Award 13 times. He was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, the North Carolina Broadcasters Hall of Fame, the Stanly County Sports Hall of Fame and the Mebane Sports Hall of Fame.

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