Woody Durham, long-time voice of UNC sports, dies Reply

From Atlantic Coast Conference, ACC Sports Media Assn.

Woody Durham, the iconic voice of University of North Carolina athletics for four decades, passed away early Wednesday morning at the age of 76. He was a longtime FWAA member.

Durham retired in 2011 after 40 years as the “Voice of the Tar Heels” football and basketball play-by-play. He was diagnosed with primary progressive aphasia, a neurocognitive disorder, in January 2016. T-shirts bearing one of Durham’s favorite phrases – “Go where you go and do what you do” – are currently being sold to raise money for aphasia research.

“Woody was synonymous with Carolina Athletics for decades, and his voice was gospel to generations of Tar Heels who trusted his every word, ” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. “I was struck by how diligently Woody prepared for his broadcast of games. When game time arrived, he made it look and sound so easy because he had a voice that resonated just so, but much of it was because he worked incredibly hard at it. As they say ‘the great ones make it look easy’. Woody was one of the great ones. He was just as good a person as he was a broadcaster.

“My thoughts and prayers, as well as those of the entire Atlantic Coast Conference, go out to Jean, Wes, Taylor and the entire Durham family.”

Durham was born in Mebane, North Carolina, and raised in Albemarle, where he began his broadcasting career as a 16-year-old high school student at radio station WZKY. He graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1963 and started his post-college career at WBTW-TV in Florence, South Carolina, before moving to WFMY-TV in Greensboro, where he became the sports director.

In addition to his anchoring duties at WFMY, Durham served as the radio analyst for Wake Forest football and play-by-play announcer for Guilford College, as well as a play-by-play announcer on the TV station’s ACC package.

While still working for WFMY in 1971, Durham was hired to replace Bill Currie as the voice of UNC athletics. He called more than 1,500 Tar Heels contests, hosted coaches’ shows, and emceed or spoke at countless banquets.

Among Durham’s UNC career highlights were four NCAA men’s basketball championships and 23 football bowl games. He retired as a 13-time North Carolina Sportscaster of the Year and received the 2002 Marvin “Skeeter” Francis Award for his contributions to coverage of the ACC. This June, he will be inducted into the National Sports Media Association’s Hall of Fame.

Durham is survived by his wife, Jean, of Chapel Hill. They have two sons, both of whom followed their father’s career path. Wes is the radio voice of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, as well as a television play-by-play announcer for ACC football and basketball broadcasts. Taylor is a radio play-by-play announcer with the Elon IMG Sports Network, for which he also serves as an account executive. Wes Durham is a current FWAA member.



Maisel writes of dealing with son’s death three years ago

Ivan Maisel, past president of the FWAA and recipient of the organization’s 2016 Bert McGrane Award, has written an essay remembering his son, Max, three years after Max’s unexpected death.

CLICK HERE to read the essay at medium.com.


New FWAA president honored as Washington state Sportswriter of the Year

Stefanie Loh of the Seattle Times is the FWAA’s president for 2018. Photo by Melissa Macatee.

The Seattle Times’ Stefanie Loh, incoming 2018 FWAA President, was named Sportswriter of the Year in the state of Washington for 2017 by the National Sports Media Association . Loh assumed her duties as FWAA President last week during the FWAA’s Awards Breakfast in Atlanta. She will be honored in June in Winston-Salem, N.C.

National Sports Media Association honors two FWAA members

Dick Weiss

The National Sports Media Association has announced a four-person class that will be inducted into the organization’s Hall of Fame during a ceremony in June in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Dick Weiss, the FWAA’s President in 2004 and Bert McGrane winner in 2013, is among the inductees. Another long-time FWAA member, Woody Durham, the former North Carolina football and basketball voice, is also being honored.

Weiss has covered college football and basketball for more than 40 years in Philadelphia, at the New York Daily News and now with Blue Star Media. 

New book from the National Football Foundation features Q&As with 12 College Football Hall of Fame coaches

IRVING, Texas – The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Football Hall of Fame proudly announces the release of their exciting new book, Lessons from Legends: 12 Hall of Fame Coaches on Leadership, Life, and Leaving a Legacy. The book is available now and can be purchased by clicking here.

Lessons from Legends may be the greatest collection of college football knowledge ever assembled. With over 260 years, 2,100 wins, 95 conference titles and 13 National Championships of combined coaching experience, any football fan, coach or player can learn from the wealth of wisdom contained in these pages.

“We are extremely excited about this book, featuring some of the greatest Hall of Fame coaches of all time,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “To coaches, both young and old, this book is a valuable asset on how to mold our next generation of leaders. And to all others, the lessons these coaches imparted on their players can easily translate to everyday life.”

 The book features Q&As with 12 College Football Hall of Fame coaches as they discuss their careers, the lessons they learned and specific features or topics that marked their careers.

In these pages you will learn how:

  • Tom Osborne and Barry Switzer won year after year.
  • Barry Alvarez turned Wisconsin into a perennial winner.
  • R.C. Slocum treated players the right way.
  • Terry Donahue kept his players from distractions in Los Angeles.
  • Steve Spurrier did things as only Steve Spurrier could.

These lessons and more from Mike Bellotti, Marino Casem, Fisher DeBerry, Vince Dooley, Phillip Fulmer and Frank Girardi are featured in the book.

“A good coach doesn’t just coach his players for four years and let them go,” said former Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops in the book’s foreword. “He is a coach and mentor for life. The most important thing a coach does has nothing to do with teaching a kid how to properly tackle. It’s teaching a kid how to be an adult.”

With quotes from College Football Hall of Famers Troy Aikman, Peyton Manning and Danny Wuerffel, and from Washington head coach Chris Petersen, this book has an unmatched combination of football talent.

INTERVIEW & BOOK REQUESTS: Phil Marwill, pmarwill@footballfoundation.com

ABOUT THE BOOK: Football Matters Publishing

ISBN: 978-0-692-94767-8

Praise for the Coaches

Barry Alvarez

“I learned a lot of great lessons from Coach Alvarez, but there are two that are by far the best to me. First, don’t flinch. A lot of people in life, when they’re faced with a moment of adversity, tend to flinch and redefine themselves by trying to overthink the situation. Your first and initial reaction is always the best. The second lesson was to enjoy every win. I don’t care if it’s over the No. 1 team in the nation or an FCS opponent, you need to enjoy every one of them fully.”

Bret Bielema, Arkansas Head Coach and former Wisconsin assistant under Alvarez

 Tom Osborne

 “It was an incredible honor to play for and be coached by Tom Osborne. Coach taught us about teamwork and the value of ‘unity of purpose.’ Each person connected to the program was valued and played an important role in the overall success of Nebraska football. We also learned about the importance of being a great student and how to be an active participant in the community. We learned to respect the game, to honor those who came before us by our work ethic, and by our habits. In short, we participated in a lot more than wins and losses- we learned how to become leaders. I could not be more proud to say that Tom Osborne was my Coach.”

Trev Alberts, Nebraska Omaha Athletics Director, Nebraska LB; Butkus Award, Lambert Trophy Winner; College Football Hall of Famer

Barry Switzer

“Coach Switzer had a way of motivating his players to perform. At a time when most coaches rule with an iron hand or fear, Coach Switzer used positive reinforcement and that made all the difference.”

Keith Jackson, Oklahoma TE, 6X Pro Bowler, Super Bowl Champion, College Football Hall of Famer

Fisher DeBerry

“I was a part of Coach DeBerry’s first freshmen class when he got the head coaching job at the Air Force Academy. From Day One you could tell he was a man of purpose and passion. He was the ideal person for the unique and challenging position as a coach at a service academy.

His win-loss record speaks for itself, but what truly defines Coach DeBerry is that intangible metric that the majority of his players knew and felt – that he positively cared for them. It’s now over 30 years later, and I am still honored to call him ‘coach.’”

Chad Hennings, Air Force DT, Outland Trophy Winner, US Air Force Captain, 3X Super Bowl Champion, College Football Hall of Famer

Phillip Fulmer

“It was an honor and privilege to play for Coach Fulmer. From the first time I met him in December of 1993, when he came to my home, I felt very comfortable talking to him. A significant part of my decision to stay my fourth year was because I wanted to play for Coach Fulmer another year. I learned a lot about football from Coach Fulmer; he had great insight into all phases of the game.

“Most importantly though, I am thankful for his friendship. The times that we are together on trips, having dinner, playing golf, or hunting are times I truly cherish, and I value his friendship; it means a great deal to me.”

Peyton Manning, Tennessee QB; William V. Campbell Trophy®, Maxwell Award Winner; 2X Super Bowl Champion, 5X NFL MVP, NFL All-Time Passing Yards and TD Record Holder, College Football Hall of Famer

R.C. Slocum

“Coach taught me some of the most important virtues as a young man. He taught us to do the right thing all the time and not just some of the time. If you cut corners, more than likely it will catch up to you. He also instilled in me about respecting others. He preached often about the Golden Rule, treat others like you would like to be treated.”

Dat Nguyen, Texas A&M LB; Lombardi, Bednarik, Lambert Trophy Winner; College Football Hall of Famer

Vince Dooley

“The smartest decision I ever made was to play for Coach Dooley at the University of Georgia. His honesty and integrity exhibited during the recruiting process [when I was] in high school when we met has never wavered. He made no promises, but offered the opportunity to play the game. I would not be in the College Football Hall of Fame if not for Vince Dooley. We aspire to live up to standards of those we admire and respect. His legacy lives in the generations of players that proudly say, ‘I played for Coach Vince Dooley.’”

Scott Woerner, Georgia DB, College Football Hall of Famer

Terry Donahue

“I give Coach Donahue a lot of credit for my success. He was such a great example for those he coached. He carried himself with class and integrity and always taught us to keep things in the proper perspective. He was tough on me, but he was always honest and I respected that. I became a better player and person because I played for Coach Donahue.”

Troy Aikman, UCLA QB, Davey O’Brien Award Winner, 3X Super Bowl Champion, Super Bowl MVP, 6X Pro Bowler, College and Pro Football Hall of Famer

Frank Girardi

“Coach Girardi is at the top of my list as far as positive influences in my life. It went well beyond the football field. I always remember the first meeting we had when he became Head Coach and how he stressed loyalty. That was a great message that meant a lot to me. It was more than that, though. He stressed discipline and hard work every day in practice and he rewarded hard work.”

Hon. Thomas I. Vanaskie, Circuit Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Lycoming College DB, All-American

Marino Casem

“I went from being a mediocre student to making the Dean’s List twice. I have Coach Casem to thank for that because I really needed someone as demanding as him to grab my attention. Because of his no-nonsense approach, I had to change internally. He made you pay the price if you tried to cut corners. I can honestly say today that I truly love and respect the man because the pressure he constantly put me under brought greatness out of me. I couldn’t have brought that out myself.”

Roynell Young, Alcorn State DB, NFL Pro Bowler

Mike Bellotti

“He had a great feel for people. I was always impressed with the staff that he would hire because you could learn as much from all of the assistants as you could from him. Coach Bellotti was always genuine, authentic and approachable. You could talk about anything with him, and he made the whole environment a good one. He’s a really good guy, not to mention a really good football coach.”

– Chris Petersen, Washington Head Coach and former assistant under Bellotti at Oregon

Steve Spurrier

“Playing for Coach Spurrier changed the trajectory of my life. He had a combination of two seemingly contradictory qualities: he was the most detail-oriented, somewhat perfectionistic coach I’ve ever had, and he had an extremely flexible part of himself that would constantly explore better options and make on-the-spot adjustments that would take weeks for other coaches to consider.”

Danny Wuerffel, Florida QB; Heisman Trophy, William V. Campbell Trophy®, Maxwell Award, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, Walter Camp Award, Davey O’Brien Award, Sammy Baugh Trophy Winner; College Football Hall of Famer


Scott Bedgood has interviewed Hall of Famers, Emmy and Grammy award winners, Guinness World Record Holders, adventurers, and entrepreneurs in his journalism career. A sportswriter since he was 15-years-old working for the Tyler Morning Telegraph in Tyler, Texas, Bedgood attended the University of Oklahoma where his passion for college football compelled him to pursue a career covering the sport. Scott began covering college football after graduating and moving to Dallas where he lives with his wife Samantha. His other work can be found on his website www.scottbedgood.com. Bedgood can be reached at scott@archervision.com.

 ABOUT The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame

Founded in 1947 with early leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl “Red” Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame is a non-profit educational organization that runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. With 120 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide, NFF programs include FootballMatters.org, the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, The William V. Campbell Trophy presented by Fidelity Investments, annual scholarships of more than $1.3 million and a series of initiatives to honor the legends of the past and inspire the leaders of the future. NFF corporate partners include Delta Air Lines, Fidelity Investments, Herff Jones, New York Athletic Club, Pasadena Tournament of Roses, PrimeSport, the Sports Business Journal, Under Armour and VICIS. Learn more at www.footballfoundation.org.

Plati’s streak coming to an end at 410 football games

Dave Plati, Colorado’s associate athletic director/sports information, is a long-time FWAA member. Under his leadership. Colorado has claimed an FWAA Super 11 Award, given to the top SID departments in FBS, four times during the eight years of the award’s existence.   Dave shared this bit of personal news on Friday:

“Many of you who know me know that for the last decade or so, I’ve been dealing with some circulation issues in my left leg; the swelling at times makes it look like a Hawaiian banyan tree.  Recently, it developed some complications and it’s being treated accordingly (I’ll be fine); but its condition at present is enough to make travel especially hard, thus ending a personal streak I have taken great pride in: starting on Nov. 19, 1983, I have attended and worked every Colorado football game —all 410, beginning with a 38-21 win over Kansas State to close the ’83 season up to last Saturday’s Arizona game.

(I wasn’t overly keen on doing this, but our CUBuffs.com contributing editor, Neill Woelk, told me it was necessary to write something, or he’d write a news story and post it himself, with made-up quotes from me — though he said “I’d be surprised at what I said.”)

100 Things Oklahoma State Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die

A new book by long-time FWAA member Robert Allen.

Few college towns can match the history and loyal fan base of Oklahoma State. With a total of 52 NCAA Championships for the school, Cowboys fans are no strangers to winning and have a lot of history to look back on. In 2017, they have even more to look forward to.

In 100 Things Oklahoma State Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die (Triumph Books, September 2017), sideline voice of the Cowboy Radio Network Robert Allen combines his encyclopedic knowledge and passion for all things sports to produce the ultimate guide to Oklahoma State fandom.  From football and basketball to golf and baseball, this great new reference title covers 10 sports and has something for fans of every era. Highlights include:

A heartfelt foreword from Head Football Coach Mike Gundy

Profiles of fan-favorites Bob Kurland, Eddie Sutton, Rickie Fowler and many more

History of their various stadiums and arenas including Boone Pickens Stadium and Gallagher-Iba Arena

Stories about go-to stops including Chris’ University Spirit, Hideaway Pizza, Eskimo Joe’s and more.

100 Things Oklahoma State Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die provides a thorough, easy to follow guide to becoming the best fan possible. Loaded with trivia, facts and anecdotes about the biggest players and personalities in the school’s history, this great new title covers the entire Oklahoma State experience. No fan’s library is complete without it.

About the Author:

Robert Allen is the sideline voice of the Cowboy Radio Network, hosts “Robert Allen & Friends” on Triple Play Sports Radio and covers Oklahoma State sports for Go Pokes. A graduate of OSU, Allen co-authored More Than a Championship: The 2011 Oklahoma State Cowboys with coach Mike Gundy. He and his wife, Lynne, have two kids (Zach & Katy) and live in Edmond, Oklahoma.

For More Information:

Contact: Stefani Szenda, Triumph Books, 312.676.4224, x324s.szenda@triumphbooks.com..



FWAA member and Austin radio personality Sean Adams dies

Sean Adams, a business-trained, California-born athlete and FWAA member who transformed himself into a motivational speaker and one of Austin’s most unique, unstoppable sports radio voices, died Thursday after an apparent heart attack. He was 46.

There was a moment of silence before the Texas-USC game on Saturday night at The Coliseum in Los Angeles, and his seat in the pressbox was left vacant.

Below is a photo from John Bianco,  senior associate athletics director for football media relations, of Adams’ seat, and CLICK HERE to read the Austin American-Statesman’s story about his death.

From John Bianco: “Have a heavy heart on this game day. Thank you USC for the tribute to our friend Sean Adams. Thoughts and prayers are with his family & friends.‬ #RIP”