Commentary

Durham, Tar Heels' voice, retires

Originally Published: April 4, 2011
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

There has been a lot of news out of Chapel Hill recently, giving us reason to look forward and to reflect back.

The good news came when Harrison Barnes, the ACC's premier diaper dandy last season, announced his plans return for a sophomore campaign. That clearly makes North Carolina a possible preseason No. 1 next season.

Think about the frontcourt with the return of Barnes, Tyler Zeller and John Henson. That will be a great group. Then factor in Kendall Marshall in the backcourt, plus newcomers James McAdoo and P.J. Hairston, and you see what a dynamite club they will have.

There was also sad news with the retirement of Woody Durham as the team's radio announcer. Durham started all the way back in 1971 and was a staple for Tar Heels fans everywhere. Durham was the voice of North Carolina basketball, and he personified C-L-A-S-S!

Durham was a pro's pro, a true legend in the sports world. He called all of the premier players over the years, including Michael Jordan, James Worthy and many more.

Any chance that I had an opportunity to speak with him prior to doing a North Carolina game, he had an unbelievable smile and stories to tell. Durham always had loads of tidbits of information about the team. He was so well-prepared and well-spoken when it came to Tar Heel basketball.

When you think about the legends working the sport on radio over the years, you have to put him up there with Cawood Ledford of Kentucky and Max Falkenstien of Kansas. Those guys dazzled fans for years.

Woody Durham will be missed big-time down on Tobacco Road. Putting it simply in Vitalese, you were awesome, baby, with a capital A! You were flat-out a PTP'er who deserves to be right up there in the rafters with all of the Tar Heel greats. You represented the university as the best of the best. You were uno, number one to me, my friend! Enjoy your retirement, baby!

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.