He split time between Carolina and his
local television duties through 1981, the
last four years as sports director of WPTF-TV in Durham. There were chances over
the intervening years to take jobs in
national TV, including with the new cable
sports network ESPN. But Durham stayed
in Chapel Hill, the position as the Tar
Heels’ radio voice a more comfortable fit
than anyone could have imagined.
HUGH MORTON ’43
“Not many guys would show the loyalty like my dad did to the University,” said
Wes Durham, the voice of Georgia Tech
sports and of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons.
Few people realize, he pointed out, that
Woody Durham never actually worked for
UNC but rather for its radio partners.
See the blue sky, hear the band
That the elder Durham enjoyed what he
was doing is evidenced by the fact that sons
Wes and Taylor also went into broadcasting,
Taylor does his work at Elon University.
By the time Durham retired, convinced
his work had slipped from his self-imposed
standard of excellence, he estimated he had
done the play-by-play for more than 1,800
Tar Heel football and basketball contests and
described the performances of some 1,100
UNC athletes. He missed 14 games, all due
to scheduling conflicts between sports.
Along the way he was voted the N.C.
Sportscaster of the Year on 13 occasions
and elected to the N.C. Sports Hall of
Fame. UNC awarded him the Order of the
Golden Fleece in 1985. The athletics
department gave him its Priceless Gem
Award in 1994 for his contributions to the
program. The next year, the GAA gave him
its Distinguished Service Medal. The
trustees bestowed the William Richardson
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