UNC’s “Woody” silenced by “progressive aphasia”

Woody Durham
June01/ 2016

UNC’s Legendary “Voice of” – Woody Durham – is being silenced by a neurocognitive voice disease – progressive aphasia.

In a Wednesday announcement, Durham explained the rather rare disease that is affecting his ability to communicate verbally.

Since his retirement several years ago, Woody has accepted public speaking engagements to area civic clubs and UNC Alumni functions.  That phase of his career will end now.


Longtime UNC voice will be silenced by progressive disease

Posted 11:16 a.m. today

Read more at http://www.wralsportsfan.com/longtime-unc-voice-will-be-silenced-by-progressive-disease/15744470/#4X4eLvbsbL8IC2X4.99

Chapel Hill, N.C. — Woody Durham, longtime announcer for Tar Heel basketball and football games, penned a letter to fans and the WoodyDUniversity of North Carolina community Wednesday revealing that he has been diagnosed with a progressive disease that will eventually rob him of the ability to communicate.

“Last winter, I was diagnosed with a neurocognitive disorder, primary progressive aphasia, that affects my language expression,” Durham wrote in explaining why he would no longer do any public speaking.

He acknowledged the irony that, having made a 40-year career with his voice, his disease is defined as one that involves a loss of language facility.

“While learning of this diagnosis was a bit of a shock for Jean and me, and yes, quite an ironic one at that, it also brought a sense of relief to us in terms of understanding what was happening to me and how best to deal with it,” he wrote.

Since his 2011 retirement, Durham has remained a visible presence at Tar Heel games and expects to continue to attend, he wrote, in hopes he can raise awareness and financial support for others with a similar condition.

Durham is a 1963 graduate of UNC, a 13-time North Carolina Sportscaster of the Year and a member of the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. He called almost 2,000 games for the Tar Heels over 40 years before his retirement.


  • Bill Wilhelm Reply
    12 months ago

    Like many, I usually watched the games on TV muted and listened to Woody, even though the time difference between vision and sound was askew. His was a voice that was easy to listen to with nary a loud bellow. Since I have always been involved with our great textile industry, I have met many nice and interesting textile people. One of them was Mr. Dallas Durham, Woody’s father, who was plant manager of a mill. I believe that it had been known as Franklinville Mill in Randolph County. There was no prouder dad than Mr. Durham.

    • BobLee Reply
      12 months ago

      My all-time favorite Woody Story was a die-hard Tru Blue who said “I only listen to Woody because I KNOW he tells it like it really is…” ??? I told Woody that and even he laughed out loud.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>