For anyone watching (or in my case, listening to) the UNC vs. Duke basketball game on March 3, the second half of the game was like watching the end of Old Yeller on a 20-minute loop. To make matters worse Duke's Grayson didn't trip or kick anyone, so there was no way to blame it on him. It was just an old fashioned shellacking. We're talking rented mule.

After the game, UNC Coach Roy Williams said it was as if aliens abducted his team. My initial plan for this column was to run with the alien thread and go into an X-Files on Tobacco Road kind of thing. I even went so far as to contact area UNC Super Fan Greg Cauley and ask his permission to rope his name into the shenanigans. The whole thing would have ended with E.T. floating out of Chapel Hill after scoring a bag of Reece's Pieces, but not before revealing how 71-year-old Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski still has no gray hair.

Plans changed when I heard about the passing of radio legend Woody Durham.

Woody was The Voice of the Tar Heels for 40 years. He was so good, legions of fans would turn down the sound on their televisions during games to hear Woody's play-by-play. Restaurants, sports bars and private citizens across North Carolina started holding "Turn Down The Sound" parties. They didn't do this just to hear an announcer who was pro-Carolina, they did it because he was a thousand miles ahead of any TV sportscaster on this planet or any other. In fact, if a UNC player made a bad play Woody would give them grief about it. It was like listening to yourself call the game, albeit in a much more articulate, less-salty manner.

A few weeks back I started sifting through a box of old cassette tapes. I acquired my first tape recorder at a young age, so there's recordings of birthday parties, me teaching my little sister how to talk and my first attempts at making a passable noise on a guitar. There was even a tape of Woody Durham calling a UNC basketball game. I slid that tape into the stereo and Woody's golden tones jumped from the speakers as if Billy Packer never existed.

Yes, I still have a stereo. A goofy little phone with a speaker the size of a gnat isn't fit for reproducing recorded sound - but I digress.

Hearing that vintage Woody Durham broadcast flung me back to a simpler time; a time when there were eight teams in the ACC and they all played each other twice during the regular season, which due to the bloated roster of teams doesn't happen anymore. UNC and Virginia only played each other once this year to make room for Boston College. I'm glad I typed the previous sentence, because it would hurt my throat to say it out loud.

Some friends have tried to convince me Syracuse and Notre Dame are now in the Atlantic Coast Conference. To me this sounds like some sort of unfounded internet rumor. I mean, Notre Dame is in Indiana. I'm no geography whiz, but which part of Indiana bumps up against the Atlantic Coast?

As I type this I'm watching UNC square off against Miami, and yes I'm listening to Jones Angel and Eric Montross call the game on the radio. Jones worked alongside Woody Durham and Eric Montross was a Dolph Lundgren-type presence as a Tar Heel basketball player from 1990-1994. Angel and Montross are working on their own legacy, but Woody Durham's spirit is still ensconced in the fabric of the broadcast.

Tar Heel Theo Pinson just dribbled the length of the court and unleashed a dunk of bunker buster proportions, and I can hear Woody going berserk from the great beyond.

If you've never heard Woody Durham call a game, visit to hear the master calling the great UNC/Georgetown National Championship game of 1982. It'll make you want to disconnect the speakers from your television.


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