|They'll hire another "Voice of the Tar |
Heels" but they will never replace
Woody, who turns 70 in August, is retiring after 40 terrific years of announcing UNC basketball and football games on the radio.
For as long as I can remember, I always turned down the sound on the TV so that I could listen to Woody Durham's call of the Tar Heels games. If I went to the game, I tried to bring a radio so that I could hear his insights.
The most frustrating part of watching Carolina games in recent years was struggling to get his radio call to sync up to what I was watching on TV. It always was maddening to have to listen to the crazed yelling of Dick Vitale (Dookie V) instead of Woody. (Where is the mute button, again?) Years ago, it was easy to sync up. But technology made it harder.
He'd tell me when to "go where you go and do what you do" if the critical moments of the game were upon us.
There were plenty of "Woodyisms" such as referring to pants as "britches," cries of "go to war, Miss Agnes!" or the standard order in describing a player as "the 6-9 senior from Poplar Bluff, Missouri" and pronouncing restaurant "rest-runt." And then there was, "front rim, back rim, it's good!."
|Bill Currie was the "Voice|
of the Tar Heels" before
Woody's 40-year run.
Woody grew on everybody, including me, and no doubt the legend of the North Carolina Sports Hall of Famer in UNC circles long ago topped that of Currie, who passed away in 2008.
You knew who Woody wanted to win the game, but he was much more impartial than many college play-by-play announcers. Quite a contrast to Duke play-by-play announcer Bob Harris who, interestingly enough, was on the same Albemarle High School football team as Woody in the late 1950s.
The first memorable call that's etched in my memory was when Woody described Mitch Kupchak's "long front-court pass" against Duke as the amazing eight-point comeback in 17 seconds culminated at Carmichael Auditorium in 1974. And, of course, when Walter Davis made the 35-foot bank shot, Woody went crazy. "UN-BEE-LIEV-ABLE!!!" Catch the classic here:
There were plenty of others over they years, but the one that always gives me goosebumps when I hear it (no matter how many times I hear it), is Woody's call of the 1982 national championship. It was the first UNC national championship of my lifetime and the first one he called. I don't know who was more excited, Woody or me:
Then, 11 years later came another memorable call when Chris Webber took the time out that he didn't have. Woody's cries of "TECHNICAL FOUL! TECHNICAL FOUL!" sounded like when Gomer Pyle was yelling "citizen's arrest!" at Barney Fife on an episode of "The Andy Griffith Show."
But whenever Carolina had a memorable finish, Woody made it even more more special, like when Rick Fox's shot helped UNC upset No. 1 Oklahoma in the 1990 NCAA tournament. "THE GAME IS OVER! THE GAME IS OVER!:
|Woody Durham deserves to have a banner hanging from|
the Smith Center in his honor.
Woody certainly deserves to have a banner honoring him hanging from the rafters of the Smith Center. (N.C. State has a banner honoring former public-address announcer C.A. Dillon.)
Who will be person attempting to replace the legend? I hoped that Mick Mixon would consider taking the job, but the N&O reports on its ACC Now Twitter page that Mick says he's happy with the Carolina Panthers and isn't interested. One of Woody's sons or Jones Angell now seem like the logical choices.
They will fill the position. But we'll never replace Woody Durham.
Although I've been lucky enough to chat with Dean Smith on a few occasions, I've never met Woody. But it feels like he's an old friend.
Thanks for the memories, Woody!