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

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.

 

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Tommy Nobis, 1965 Outland Trophy winner, has died

Tommy Nobis, who won the FWAA’s Outland Trophy while playing for Texas in 1965 and went on to a long and storied career with the Atlanta Falcons, died at his suburban Atlanta home on Wednesday. He was 74.

CLICK HERE to read the obituary by CBSNews.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”

Kentucky Outland Trophy winner Bob Gain dies

Bob Gain, 1950 Outland Trophy winner.

Bob Gain, 1950 Outland Trophy winner.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Bob Gain, one of the greatest players in the history of University of Kentucky football, passed away Monday in Willoughby, Ohio, at the age of 87.

Gain was a stalwart offensive and defensive lineman at UK from 1947-50 under Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. Also a placekicker, he still holds the school record for most extra points in a game when he made 10-of-10 in a win over North Dakota in 1950. Coming to UK from Weirton, W.Va., Gain helped lead the Wildcats to a four-year record of 33-10-2 and was a member of the Cats’ first three bowl teams in school history.

Kentucky had an 8-3 record in 1947 and made its first postseason appearance with a victory over Villanova in the Great Lakes Bowl.  UK went 9-3 in the 1949 season and played in the Orange Bowl. The Wildcats were 11-1 in 1950, winning the Southeastern Conference championship. Gain capped his collegiate career with a 13-7 victory over Oklahoma in the 1951 Sugar Bowl, ending the Sooners’ 31-game winning streak. UK is recognized as the 1950 national champion by the Sagarin Computer Ratings.

In 1950, Gain became the first player in Southeastern Conference history to win the prestigious Outland Trophy as the nation’s best interior lineman.  He earned first-team All-America honors as a junior and senior. He was a three-year All-Southeastern Conference choice, first team as a junior and senior and second team as a sophomore.

Although a first-round selection of the National Football League’s Green Bay Packers (fifth pick overall), Gain played the 1951 season with the Ottawa Rough Riders in the Canadian Football League, winning the Grey Cup championship. He played for the NFL’s Cleveland Browns in 1952 before serving in Korea as a first lieutenant in the United States Air Force in 1953.

Gain returned to the Browns in 1954, where he played until 1964. He had a stellar career as a defensive lineman with the Browns.  He was named first-team All-Pro once, second-team All-Pro seven times, and played in the Pro Bowl five times. He continued to be part of champion teams, as the Browns won the NFL title in 1954, 1955 and in 1964.

Gain received numerous honors following his career.  He was named to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1980.  His UK jersey is retired and he is a member of the UK Athletics Hall of Fame. He was elected to the West Virginia Sports Hall of Fame, the Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame and the Kentucky chapter of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  He also was tabbed for the All-SEC Quarter-Century Team, covering the years 1950-74, by the Birmingham Quarterback Club.

Tony Neely

Asst. AD / Media Relations

University of Kentucky Athletics

Joe Craft Center

338 Lexington Avenue

Lexington, KY   40506

(859) 257-3838

Former Outland Trophy winner Bill Stanfill dies

Bill Stanfill, winner of the Outland Trophy in 1968.

Bill Stanfill, winner of the Outland Trophy in 1968.

University of Georgia All-American, Outland Trophy winner, and College Hall of Fame inductee Bill Stanfill died Thursday night in Albany, Ga.

Born Jan. 13, 1947, the Cairo native followed his stellar college career as one of the NFL’s greatest players as a member of the Miami Dolphins who selected him in the first round of the 1969 NFL draft. In 1969, he was named the AFL Rookie of the Year runner-up and during his career was named All-Pro four times. He was a starter on the 1972 and ’73 Miami Dolphin Super Bowl championship teams.

CLICK HERE to read the entire store at GeorgiaDogs.com.