KNOXVILLE, TN- Former Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer has been named the 2017 recipient of the Neyland Trophy. Longtime North Carolina play-by-play announcer Woody Durham is this year’s recipient of the Lindsey Nelson Broadcasting Award.
The award presentation will be held Saturday, April 22, at the East Tennessee Chapter of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame brunch at The Foundry in Knoxville at 10 a.m. ET.
Beamer and Durham will also be honored on the field later that afternoon in pregame ceremonies before Tennessee’s annual DISH Orange & White Game.
Beamer spent 35 seasons as a collegiate head coach, including 29 seasons at Virginia Tech before retiring at the conclusion of the 2015 season. He also served as head coach at Murray State from 1981-86. He finished his time at Virginia Tech with 238 wins and was the winningest active coach in FBS at the time of his retirement.
A native of Mt. Airy, North Carolina, Beamer led the Hokies to unprecedented success with 23 consecutive bowl appearances, four ACC titles, five ACC Coastal Division crowns, three BIG EAST Conference titles, six BCS appearances, two “major” bowl victories and an appearance in the national championship game. Under Beamer’s guidance, the Hokies finished in the top 20 in 16 of his last 23 seasons, including four top-10 finishes during his final 12 years. He took the Hokies to the 1999 national championship game and garnered eight national coach of the year awards for the accomplishment.
Beamer was appointed to the College Football Playoff selection committee in 2017. He was inducted into the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame in 1997 and was voted the Coach of the Decade in the BIG EAST Conference in 2000. In April 2004, Beamer was presented with a Humanitarian Award by the National Conference for Community and Justice for his contributions to fostering justice, equity and community in the Roanoke Valley.
Beamer started three years at cornerback for the Hokies and later earned his master’s degree from Radford in 1972. Beamer and his wife, Cheryl Oakley, have two children, Shane and Casey, and two granddaughters and one grandson.
Durham served as the play-by-play announcer on more than 1,800 football and men’s basketball broadcasts on the Tar Heel Sports Network. During his career, Durham called 23 Tar Heel football bowl games, 13 men’s basketball Final Fours and six national championship games, including the NCAA title-winning seasons in 1982, 1993, 2005 and 2009.
Durham called North Carolina games for six head coaches in football (Bill Dooley, Dick Crum, Mack Brown, Carl Torbush, John Bunting and Butch Davis) and four head coaches in men’s basketball (Dean Smith, Bill Guthridge, Matt Doherty and Roy Williams). He worked with directors of athletics Homer Rice, Bill Cobey, John Swofford and Dick Baddour.
A 1963 graduate of North Carolina, Durham is a 13-time recipient of the North Carolina Sportscaster of the Year Award. He is a member of the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, the North Carolina Broadcasters Hall of Fame, the Stanly County Sports Hall of Fame and the Mebane Sports Hall of Fame.
Durham was born in 1941 in Mebane and grew up in Albemarle. He was sports director at WUNC while attending Carolina, sports director at WFMY-TV in Greensboro from 1963-77 and at WPTF-TV in Raleigh from 1977-1981. Since 1981, he worked for the Tar Heel Sports Network with VilCom Inc. of Chapel Hill and Learfield Communications Inc. of Jefferson City, Mo.
Durham worked with head coaches and assistant coaches from all of UNC’s sports on Rams Club tours and as master of ceremonies at many other speaking engagements.
With his wife of 53 years, Jean, Durham’s broadcast career spanned the collegiate playing days of football players such as such as Paul Miller, Mike Voight, Amos Lawrence, Kelvin Bryant, Lawrence Taylor, Harris Barton, Natrone Means, Jason Stanicek, Leon Johnson, Greg Ellis, Dre’ Bly, Julius Peppers, Darian Durant, Hakeem Nicks and T.J. Yates. In basketball, Durham called games for 26 different Tar Heels whose jerseys hang in the Smith Center rafters, including National
Players of the Year Phil Ford, James Worthy, Michael Jordan, Kenny Smith, Jerry Stackhouse, Antawn Jamison, Sean May and Tyler Hansbrough.
Courtesy: University of Tennessee Athletics