Durham: ‘My hope' is to stay at Tech

Wes Durham’s role was to be the emcee for Georgia Tech’s final Yellow Jacket Caravan event Tuesday night. He turned out to be a main attraction.

In a question-and-answer session with fans and alumni, a woman asked Durham about the possibility of succeeding his father Woody Durham, who in April retired after 40 years as the voice of North Carolina Tar Heels football and basketball.

“It is my hope that I can finish my career in Atlanta at Georgia Tech,” Durham said to spirited applause in a ballroom at the Georgia Tech Hotel & Conference Center in Midtown.

Durham has been the voice of Tech football and basketball since 1995 and enjoys considerable popularity among the Jackets’ fan base. A seven-time winner of the Georgia sportscaster of the year award, Durham also calls Falcons games and hosts the “Barnhart & Durham” show on 790 the Zone with Tony Barnhart, a former reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

After the event, Durham said he had not been contacted by anyone at North Carolina. Asked why he said he hoped to finish career in Atlanta rather than saying he would do so, Durham said it was because the decision isn’t up to him, but to his employers. Athletic director Dan Radakovich said he had “heard nothing” to indicate North Carolina having interest in hiring Durham and offered his support for him.

“We certainly want Wes here,” Radakovich said. “We want to make sure we do everything we can to keep him here, understanding he’s a valuable member of this organization.”

Football coach Paul Johnson, recently hired men’s basketball coach Brian Gregory, women’s basketball coach MaChelle Joseph, golf coach Bruce Heppler and Radakovich fielded a range of questions about recruiting, facilities and scheduling. Radakovich said he has “continuous conversations” with Chick-fil-A Kickoff game chief Gary Stokan about playing in the game. Gregory gave a positive report on signee Julian Royal of Milton High, praising his “good feet for a big kid” and soft shooting touch.

Joseph reported that her five rising seniors are on track to graduate, each completing her work in 3 1/2 years. Johnson said his hope is that 10 of the 22 signees will play this fall and that incoming freshman quarterback Vad Lee “thinks he’s going to start, but that’s a great attitude to have.”

Johnson praised Heppler, whose team two weekends ago won its third consecutive ACC title, for being “probably the most successful coach at Georgia Tech.”

Each answer was applauded, but none as much as Durham’s.

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