The voice of the Tar Heels, Woody Durham, lives with a painful silence
It was the phrase that Woody Durham, the longtime voice of the North Carolina’s men’s basketball and football teams, often repeated during a game’s most dramatic moments, one he used to urge Tar Heels fans to practice their most trusted superstition:
“Go where you go, and do what you do.”
And now you can find it on T-shirts that are being sold to benefit research of aphasia, the neurocognitive disorder that is causing Durham to slowly lose his ability to use his famous voice. The “Go Where You Go” shirts, which honor Durham, are being sold starting on Friday exclusively at Chapel Hill Sportswear (119 E. Franklin St., in Chapel Hill).
The shirts, priced at $15, come in Carolina blue and gray, and feature Durham’s iconic words surrounding a microphone. A replica of Durham’s signature is beneath his trademark phrase.
The shirts are available both in the Chapel Hill Sportswear store, and on its website at www.chapelhillsportswear.com. All of the proceeds from the sales of the shirts will go toward funding Aphasia research and programs in North Carolina.
“We felt that by capturing one of my Dad’s iconic phrases would not only bring back memories for fans in the state, but also remind them of the support we need for Aphasia and other neurocognitive disorders,” Durham’s oldest son, Wes, said in a statement. “We are grateful to Chapel Hill Sportswear for their incredible efforts to join us in this campaign of awareness and support.”
Woody Durham, a 1963 UNC graduate, spent 40 years behind the microphone as the voice of the Tar Heels. He retired after the 2010-11 basketball season, after calling four national championships in men’s basketball (1982, 1993, 2005 and 2009), 13 Final Fours and 23 football bowl games.
He is a 13-time recipient of the North Carolina Sportscaster of the Year Award and a member of the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. In 2015 he received the Naismith Hall of Fame’s Bob Cousy Award, the highest honor a basketball broadcaster can receive.
After Durham had difficulty giving his acceptance speech there, he and his family sought answers. By then Durham had been experiencing gradually progressing speech difficulty for years, but often doctors aren’t able to diagnose aphasia until it has significantly progressed.
With continued research and funding, Durham’s neurologist, Dr. Daniel Kaufer, is hopeful Aphasia and similar neurocognitive disorders can be detected earlier. Durham went public with his Aphasia diagnosis in June 2016.
He and his family detailed life with Aphasia in a series of stories in The News & Observer in March.