North Carolina basketball fans might have a tough time recognizing the team taking the floor at the Smith Center next season.
But if they’re listening from home, they might also have a tough time recognizing one of the voices bringing them the action.
The Carolina Panthers announced Wednesday that they have hired longtime North Carolina color commentator Mick Mixon to become the team’s radio play-by-play announcer for the upcoming season.
“We are very pleased to add Mick Mixon to our broadcast team,” Henry Thomas, the Panthers’ director of broadcasting, said in a news release. “While highly regarded for his radio broadcasting work to date, Mick is also a talented writer, radio producer and public speaker whose strong familiarity with the Carolinas should serve him well in his new role.”
That role will include community speaking, sales and various sponsor and fan events. He also will host weekly team shows such as “Panther Talk” and participate in Panthers Television Network programming.
In the end, Mixon said, it was the enthusiasm and passion exuded by the employees he met that convinced him to make the move.
“Had only one person I met said, ‘This place is all right,’ or ‘This place is OK some days,’ it might have caused me to stay in Chapel Hill,” he said.
Mixon, a 1980 UNC graduate, recently completed his 16th season alongside Woody Durham on the Tar Heel Sports Network’s football and basketball broadcasts.
“You need a team that has a glue,” said Gary Sobba, general manager of Tar Heel Sports Marketing. “Mick was the glue of the broadcast team — he pulled everything together.”
Mixon also earned respect with his preparation and his professional approach to each broadcast.
“He brought a ton of research and background, and he brought insight into what was happening on the court or on the field,” said Director of Athletics Dick Baddour.
Mixon also endeared himself to his listeners with his ever-present sense of humor.
“He had an uncanny wit,” Sobba said. “He was a very, very sharp guy, a very intelligent guy.”
The Tar Heel Sports Network likely will name a replacement for Mixon within 30 days.
But Sobba, who first learned of the Panthers’ interest in Mixon three months ago, declined to identify any candidates for the position Thursday.
“We’re in a pretty good position there,” Sobba said. “We hate to lose Mick, but I think we have capable replacements.”
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