In 2005, friends and family of Woody Durham established the Woody Durham Distinguished Professorship, which was created to recruit, retain and support outstanding faculty in the department of communication studies.

An anonymous donor made a lead gift of $100,000 to honor and recognize Durham, the longtime “Voice of the Tar Heels.”  More than 80 fans, friends and family of Durham joined this donor in pledging support to establish the professorship, which will reach the $1 million level when all matching state funds are received from the Distinguished Professors Endowment Trust Fund.

A lifelong North Carolinian and one of the most recognizable Tar Heels ever, Durham began his career in 1971 as the radio announcer for the Carolina football and men’s basketball teams.  In May 2005, he was enshrined into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame.

Born August 8, 1941 in Mebane, N.C., and raised in Albemarle, N.C., Durham’s voice has been heard over radio stations detailing the action of Carolina football and basketball games since 1971. Durham graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1963 with a bachelor’s degree in radio, television and motion pictures. He began his broadcasting career at age 16 at WZKY in Albemarle and served as sports director for WFMY-TV in Greensboro. He has also worked with VilCom Inc. of Chapel Hill, Learfield Communications Inc. of Jefferson City, Miss., and Tar Heel Sports Marketing.

Durham retired in April 2011 after 40 years as the play-by-play announcer for the Tar Heels, calling more than 1,800 football and men’s basketball broadcasts on the Tar Heel Sports Network since 1971.

He has 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 athletics; the Lindsey Nelson Outstanding Sportscaster Award from the All-American Football Foundation; with his wife of 47 years, Jean, the Outstanding Service Award from the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center Board of Visitors; a Priceless Gem from UNC Athletics; and a Distinguished Service Award from the NCHSAA.

“I am deeply grateful that so many friends and Carolina fans have chosen to honor me in this way,” Durham said. “My professors in RTVMP — the forerunner of communication studies — were certainly instrumental to my education as well as to my career,” Durham said.

“This professorship is a wonderful and exciting addition to our department,” said former communication studies department chair Bill Balthrop. “Woody Durham has been the ‘Voice of the Tar Heels’ for so many years, and has brought such pleasure to students, faculty, alumni and friends of the university. We are delighted to be able to honor him in this way. Equally important, this will be an enormous help as we work to hire and keep the best possible faculty at Carolina.”

Woody Durham Distinguished Professor

Neal Thomas