Longtime voice of the Tar Heels, Woody Durham, passed away Tuesday night at the age of 76.
Durham spent four decades calling the action for the Heels, a tenure that included 23 bowl games, 13 Final Fours and four national championships.
Radio voice of the Carolina Panthers Mick Mixon spent 16 years calling games next to Durham in the broadcast booth. He described his former partner as the ultimate in preparation, a guy who took his craft as seriously as anyone who has ever called a game.
"Woody’s voice was the rhythm of the soundtrack of my life, a lot like a ton of other kids who grew up with ACC basketball," said Mixon.
Durham grew up a Tar Heel fan himself and graduated from Chapel Hill in 1963. Eight years later, he became the play-by-play announcer for the Heels when radio was the only way to catch the action. Durham held the mic until retirement in 2011.
"I hope that Tar Heel fans didn’t notice or didn’t listen, but there were too many times during various broadcasts when I wasn’t pleased with my level of presentation," Durham said.
At the time, Durham didn’t know his slip in performance was probably an early sign of aphasia, a degenerative brain disorder that robbed him of his exceptional ability to communicate and eventually his life.
Nevertheless, Carolina fans will always remember Durham's legendary calls of some of college basketball’s most memorable games.
A pro’s pro and a Tar Heel through and through, Durham leaves a legacy right next to the historic coaches and players he covered.
"Woody, I think, is as an important part of the history, not just of the University of North Carolina, but as our state, as a Dean Smith a Jim Valvano a Mike Krzyzewski," Mixon said.
Mixon also shared a story where Durham and Richard Petty were filming a commercial near the Old Well. A car pulled up and a woman said to her husband, "Who is that man with Woody Durham?"
The man said, "I don’t know, but that’s definitely Woody."
Seems not even the King carried the same clout as Durham in Chapel Hill.