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Those announcers and their golden tones

Earlier this week, long-time University of North Carolina play-by-play man Woody Durham announced he was stepping away from the microphone after a long and stellar career calling Tar Heel basketball and football games.

The legendary announcer was at the mike for four NCAA men's basketball titles and thousands of other football and basketball games.

He passed on his "sports announcing genes" to his son Wes, now the Voice of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and Atlanta Falcons.

I first heard both Durhams during my days as a student at Elon College in North Carolina back in the 1980s while both Wes and I were studying for our communication degrees at the small liberal arts school located a short trek from Greensboro.

It was almost impossible to tell father and son apart. But Wes definitely had a knack for the family business as he called Elon Fighting Christian football and basketball games over student station WSOE.

For what my opinion is worth, Wes is now the best in the business.

Just days after the elder Durham announced he would no longer be the Voice of the Tar Heels, a job he has held since 1971, the rumors began to fly, suggesting Wes was in line to replace his dad.

Only time will tell. Wes seems to have a pretty good gig here in Atlanta.

One thing is for sure, Woody Durham will be missed.

Through Durham's eyes and golden tones, Tar Heel fans were able to experience a Michael Jordan dunk or a Julius Peppers' sack up close and personal.

Television and the Internet have changed the way college football fans get their knowledge, but back in the day we relied on these great college announcers to keep us informed and entertained.

The Georgia Bulldog Nation held Larry Munson in high regard. He was loved as much as Herschel Walker and Vince Dooley.

Thanks to Munson and his classic call against Georgia rival Tennessee in 2001, we all learned a little bit about a Hobnailed boot.

I am not a Georgia fan, but I will never forget his call of the Buck Belue to Lindsey Scott touchdown pass in the Bulldogs' last second win against Florida in 1980.

Generations of Georgia Tech fans couldn't wait for toe to meet leather at the start of every football game as Al Ciraldo kept them glued to their radio.

Ciraldo might have been better at calling basketball than football, but over his long career, he was as much apart of the Georgia Tech scene as Bobby Dodd or Bobby Cremins. When Tech tried to remove him from calling games, Yellow Jacket fans demanded his reinstatement, and thankfully they got their wish.

Ask any Kentucky fan and they will tell you plenty about Cawood Ledford.

He might have been the best basketball announcer ever.

His smooth style and eloquent command of the English language captivated his listening audience.

He loved his "Big Blue", but he never lost his professionalism. His insightful play-by-pay made it seem as if his listeners were sitting courtside at Rupp Arena right next to him.

Of course, there are many others.

Eli Gold divides his time between NASCAR and his Alabama Crimson Tide. He has been named the state's Sportscaster of the Year four times.

Tennessee fans lived on every word coming out of the mouth of John Ward.

Tiger fans loved to hear the late Jim Fyffe say touchdown Auburn.

Perhaps the most amazing story is that of Jack Cristil who at 85 was still calling Mississippi State games until announcing his retirement at the end of the this past basketball season. It ended six decades of calling MSU games.

Now, that's the definition of a legend.

When these guys were behind the mike there was a trust factor.

We welcomed them into our homes. We wanted them into our lives.

After all, they were almost like family.

It's an era we may never see again, but boy was it special.

(Doug Gorman is sports editor of the Clayton News Daily and Henry Daily Herald. His column runs on Thursdays. He can be reached at dgorman@news-daily.com)