The University of North Carolina and the college basketball community as a whole lost a legend late Tuesday night.
Woody Durham, the longtime radio voice of the North Carolina Tar Heels, passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on Tuesday night. The news of his passing and stories of his extraordinary life covering UNC football and basketball spread far and wide the following day.
We are mourning the loss of Woody Durham, who passed away peacefully this morning at the age of 76. His voice brought Carolina games to life for Tar Heels around the world for 40 years #HeyWoodyhttps://t.co/vM64yTuHpQ
— UNC-Chapel Hill (@UNC) March 7, 2018
While Durham made a career as a voice of the Tar Heels, he was respected by many around the Atlantic Coast Conference and the NCAA. Jay Bilas, who played basketball for rival Duke and now serves as an analyst and commentator for ESPN, is a prime example of that.
“RIP to the great Woody Durham,” Bilas wrote in a tweet after learning of Durham’s passing. “He was an ACC institution, a true icon, and was as nice and generous as he was professional. His voice and passion were inseparable from the North Carolina brand. A wonderful man.”
RIP to the great Woody Durham. He was an ACC institution, a true icon, and was as nice and generous as he was professional. His voice and passion were inseparable from the North Carolina brand. A wonderful man. https://t.co/snSvkSWzUu
— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) March 7, 2018
Of course, Durham was even closer to the hearts of the members of the North Carolina family. Nobody could communicate that better than UNC Men’s basketball coach Roy Willams.
“It’s a very sad day for everyone who loves the University of North Carolina because we have lost someone who spent nearly 50 years as one of its greatest champions and ambassadors,” Williams said.
“It’s ironic that Woody would pass away at the start of the postseason in college basketball because this was such a joyous time for him. He created so many lasting memories for Carolina fans during this time of year,” Williams continued. “Woody loved the Tar Heels and players, coaches and fans of all ages loved him right back. We should all ‘go where we go and do what we do’ and say a prayer for Woody and his family. There will never be another quite like him.”
Durham joined his fellow Tar Heel and legendary coach Dean Smith in heaven today. I like to imagine they’ll be looking down on their team tonight when the Heels tip off against Syracuse in their first postseason game of the season.