Plus, he had been watching Durham for more than 10 years.
“The value of preparation is the number one thing (I learned from him),” Angell said. “I thought Woody was always fully prepared for a broadcast…. He was meticulous in his preparation and really valued it and understood the role that it plays on game day.”
Angell took the example that Durham set to heart and started focusing on his own preparation for games. From about the 2005 football season on, Angell said he started preparing for each game as if he were going to do the play-by-play because he felt that was the best way to be ready to make the jump when the time came.
And that time finally came this summer when Durham announced his retirement.
But he couldn’t even start his retirement before Angell began seeking his guidance.
“We had a couple meetings,” Durham said. “He wanted me to show him some stuff that I did during the course of games with regard to score charts and drive charts and things like that.”
Now three games in, Angell has begun to adjust to his new role.
But as far as Angell is concerned, he’s Durham’s successor, not his replacement.
“I’m never going to be Woody, and if they had hired somebody else that person never would have been Woody,” he said. “That’s a credit to how great he was. I think it would also be a disservice if I sat here and tried to be him.”
Gary Sobba, the general manager of the Tar Heel Sports Network, also knew that replacing Durham would be impossible.
But that doesn’t mean he has any lower expectations for Angell.
“We never talked about replacing Woody because I don’t think anybody ever can do that,” Sobba said. “We just talked about hiring the best play-by-play announcer for Carolina athletics, and we’re thrilled with the job he’s done after the first three games… Our fans enjoy him so we’re really excited about the future.”
Durham has yet to listen to Angell and the rest of the crew as he has been in Kenan Stadium for all three Tar Heel football games.
But Durham won’t be following the team to Atlanta for the first away game of the 2011 season.
“I’ll listen to them in their (next) two games and watch while I’m listening to see how in sync they are with what’s happening, because that’s the thing you have to do.” Durham said. “I don’t expect to hear anything that will need great improvement because based on what I’ve heard on what they’ve done – the comments have been good – so I think they’re off to a good start.”
The UNC football team is off to a strong start as well. The Tar Heels have yet to lose a football game during Angell’s tenure, a streak Angell would love to see continue.
Especially since in another month, attention will turn to Roy Williams and his highly favored team.
“To get the opportunity to do any game is fun,” Angell said. “But certainly I really enjoy Tar Heel basketball, grew up a Tar Heel basketball fan, and getting the opportunity to do those games is always something fun.
“With the type of team they’re expected to have this season, there should be a lot of great moments and a lot of fun games, and I’m looking forward to doing them.”
Contact the Sports Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.