The University of North Carolina Athletics Department and the Rams Club are proud to announce that the Media and Communications Center adjacent to the Dean E. Smith Center will be officially named the Woody Durham Media and Communications Center upon approval by the UNC Board of Directors.
The Durham family, led by Woody’s wife, Jean, and sons, Wes and Taylor, will be recognized at halftime of Wednesday’s (February 16) men’s basketball game against Pittsburgh.
“This recognition for Woody was so emotional for me,” says Jean Durham. “This is totally unexpected, but I’m so grateful. I greatly appreciate the family who made the gift to honor Woody’s memory. Knowing how loyal he was to ‘his’ university, makes this honor even more special Hopefully when fans walk past the media center and see his name, it will trigger a thought of Woody and a smile.”
“We are grateful to the University and the Athletic Department for this incredible honor,” Wes and Taylor said in a joint statement. “The generosity he showed in naming this building after our father forever ensures his incredible association with Carolina. He never took for granted the opportunity to represent his alma mater, but also coaches and players who were the focus of his broadcasts. Nearly 11 years after his career ended, Carolina and ACC fans continually remind our family how much his work meant to them.”
Wes is the play-by-play radio broadcaster for the Atlanta Falcons, co-hosts a weekday morning show on the ACC Network with Mark Packer, and calls games on the ACC Network. Taylor is the Director of Business Development and play-by-play voice for Elon Athletics.
“Woody loved his alma mater and the Tar Heels, and his work helped create generations of Tar Heel fans while setting a standard of excellence for every show, story and highlight,” said the athletic director of Carolina. Bubba Cunningham. “We tell the stories of our 800 student-athletes and 28 teams across multiple media platforms in our Media and Communications Center, and it’s only fitting that the building is now named in honor of Woody. As Woody loved the say, ‘Go where you’re going and do what you’re doing.'”
Woody Durham died on March 7, 2018 from complications of primary progressive aphasia. He was the play-by-play voice of Carolina football and men’s basketball from 1971 to 2011. The Mebane, NC native grew up in Albemarle, NC and graduated from the Carolina in 1963. He called 23 Tar Heel bowl games, 13 Final Fours, and six NCAA championship games, including NCAA title-winning seasons in 1982, 1993, 2005, and 2009.
He has won the North Carolina Sportscaster of the Year award 13 times. He has also been inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, North Carolina Broadcasters Hall of Fame, Stanly County Sports Hall of Fame, and Mebane Sports Hall of Fame.
Durham received a Distinguished Service Medal from the UNC General Alumni Association for outstanding service to the University and the alumni association; the William R. Davie Award, given by the UNC Board of Trustees to recognize extraordinary service to the university; the Skeeter Francis Award for Special Service to the Atlantic Coast Conference; the Russell Blunt Legends Award from the North Carolina High School Athletic Association for being a true legend in track and field; the Lindsey Nelson Outstanding Sportscaster Award from the All-American Football Foundation; Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center Board of Visitors Distinguished Service Award; a priceless gem from UNC Athletics; and a Distinguished Service Award from the NCHSAA.
In 2011, Durham received the Chris Schenkel Award from the National Football Foundation and four years later won the Curt Gowdy Award for Electronic Media from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
“Tar Heel fans of all ages adored Woody and fondly remember his calls as sounds of their youth, their time as college students at Carolina, and the many years to come,” said John Montgomery, executive director of the Rams Club. “We are grateful to one of these admiring fans for providing an extremely generous gift that allowed us to honor Woody in a very special way. He painted a picture on the radio for fans to remember 40 years of indelible moments and now the Woody Durham Media and Communications Center will continue to bring these plays and players to life for future generations of Tar Heel fans.”