DURHAM, N.C. — Hall of Fame broadcaster Bob Harris, the “Voice of the Blue Devils” for the past four decades, will retire from his post following the 2016-17 men’s basketball season. Harris, who will retire as the longest-tenured play-by-play announcer in the history of the Atlantic Coast Conference, will make a public announcement tomorrow (Wednesday, July 6) at a press conference set for 12 noon in the Bill Brill Media Room in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
A three-time recipient of the North Carolina Broadcaster of the Year honor from the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association in 1988, 1991 and 2011, Harris is a member of the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame (inducted in 2006) and the Stanly County Sports Hall of Fame (1993). In 2009, he was honored with the Atlantic Coast Conference’s prestigious Skeeter Francis Award, an honor presented annually to individuals for distinguished service to the league. In 2016, Harris received The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, an honor conferred by the Governor of North Carolina for exemplary service to the State of North Carolina and its communities.
Harris will enter the 2016 football season with an active streak of 459 consecutive games announced, a run that began on September 11, 1976, with Duke’s 21-18 victory over Tennessee. He has called six postseason bowl games (1989 All American, 1994 Hall of Fame, 2012 Belk, 2013 Chick-fil-A, 2014 Hyundai Sun & 2015 Pinstripe) along with Duke’s appearances in the Coca Cola Bowl against Clemson on November 30, 1991, in Tokyo, Japan, and the Dr Pepper ACC Championship Game versus Florida State on December 7, 2013, in Charlotte, N.C.
Harris has worked with nine head football coaches (Mike McGee, Red Wilson, Steve Sloan, Steve Spurrier, Barry Wilson, Fred Goldsmith, Carl Franks, Ted Roof & David Cutcliffe) and 114 assistant coaches while calling the action alongside analysts Wes Chesson, John McNabb and Danny Highsmith. The Harris-Chesson tandem has manned the Blue Devil broadcast booth for the past 35 seasons and partnered in 2000 to call the 64th annual Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas, a high school football all-star event featuring teams from North and South Carolina. In addition, Harris has been joined on football broadcasts by sideline reporters Tony Haynes, Anthony Dilweg and Johnny Moore along with spotters Clyde Cupples and Joel Stutts and statisticians Bristol Maginnes, Eric Brooks, Joe Beavers, Mike Sobb and Tripp Winkler.
On the hardwood, Harris has called 1,358 Blue Devil basketball games including 104 tilts in the storied Duke-North Carolina rivalry. He has worked 13 NCAA Final Four events while calling 10 championship games including all five of Duke’s national titles in 1991 (Indianapolis), 1992 (Minneapolis), 2001 (Minneapolis), 2010 (Indianapolis) and 2015 (Indianapolis). Harris also has broadcast 16 ACC Tournament championship game victories for the Blue Devils in 1978, 1980, 1986, 1988, 1992, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010 and 2011.
With Duke basketball, Harris has worked with a pair of head coaches (Bill Foster & Mike Krzyzewski) and 26 assistant coaches. Analysts to work with Harris include Glenn Smiley, Bob Bender, Jay Bilas, Billy King, Johnny Dawkins, Steve Wojciechowski and John Roth while sideline reporter Matthew Laurance and statistician Phyllis Harris also have accompanied the broadcasts.
Additionally, Harris has worked with nine engineers during his tenure, including the past 13 seasons with John Rose, plus Donnie Tuck, Paul Matthews, David Modlin, Mike Waters, John Brockwell, Rusty Helser, Bob White and Ben Alexander.
Born in 1942 and a native of Albemarle, N.C., Harris got his start in broadcasting in 1967 as the Sports Director at WZKY in his hometown, and later served as the Sports Director at WDNC in Durham from 1975-97. He has served as the President of the North Carolina Sportscasters Association (1976), President of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association (1992) and Honorary Chairman of the North Carolina Beautiful Golf Classic (2010) while also serving as a member of the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame (1996-08) and Board of Directors of Special Olympics North Carolina (2016-present).
In December of 2010, Harris published his autobiography, “How Sweet It Is!: From the Cotton Mill to the Crows’ Nest”.
Over the course of his career, Harris has been involved with many charitable organizations including the Add Penfield Regional Consolidated Services Golf Tournament, Agape Corner School, ALS Association (Jim “Catfish” Hunter Chapter), Brad Johnson Celebrity Golf Classic, Brain Injury Association of North Carolina, Brenner Children’s Hospital, Celebrity Waiters Dinner for Leukemia Foundation, Children’s Charities of the Bluegrass, Children’s Miracle Network, Duke Children’s Hospital, Duke University Hospice, Eastern North Carolina Spinabifida Association, Emily K Foundation, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Grande Dunes Make-A-Wish Pro-Am, Hebron Colony Ministries, Juvenile Diabetes Association of North Carolina, March of Dimes, Meet Me At The Bridge Charity, Me Fine Foundation, Mulligans For Kids Golf Tournament, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Nazareth Children’s Home, New Hanover Medical Center, North Carolina Realtors Charity Challenge, North Carolina Vietnam Veterans Association, Oxford Masonic Home for Children, Ronald McDonald House of Durham, South Brunswick Educational Fund, Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, Triangle United Way, United Way of North Carolina, and The Willie Stargell Foundation.
Bob and his wife, Phyllis, married 53 years, are proud of their supportive family: daughter Bobbi Harris-McCoy, son-in-law, Ron McCoy, and two grandchildren, Tripp and Meredith Winkler.
“Bob Harris’s voice is probably the most familiar and recognizable sound at Duke after the bells of the Chapel. He has made Duke athletics come alive for generations of fans, through victory and heartbreak alike. Bob’s commitment to Duke, and especially to our student-athletes and coaches, is deep and fierce. The entire Duke community is grateful for his legacy.” — Richard H. Brodhead, Duke University President
“Bob Harris has served Duke passionately and professionally for 40 years, which is an amazing accomplishment. To be sure, his voice is synonymous with the Blue Devils men’s basketball and football teams. The way he has approached his job, with unmatched dignity and class, is even more impressive. We hope that this year can be a celebration of Bob’s abundant broadcasting accomplishments. He will be missed when his service comes to an end next spring, but until then, we will relish every word as Bob takes his well-deserved ‘victory lap’ during the upcoming year.” — Kevin White, Duke University Vice President and Director of Athletics
“When I think of Bob Harris, I think of sustained excellence as the longest tenured broadcaster in the history of the Atlantic Coast Conference. His unwavering passion for Duke came through each and every broadcast over the past four decades. Without a doubt, Bob has produced some of the greatest calls in Duke history, if not all of sports, during that time. Bob and his wife Phyllis have become great friends of ours throughout the years, and we consider them part of our family. More than that, they’ve made a terrific team, representing Duke with a tremendous amount of class during their long association with the university. Certainly, we will miss Bob after this season ends, but we are very thankful we have had such a long run together.” — Mike Krzyzewski, Duke University and U.S. National Team Head Men’s Basketball Coach
“First off, congratulations to Bob on just an incredible tenure – a true Hall of Fame career – behind the microphone. When I think of Bob, three words that immediately come to mind are passion, dedication and consistency. His commitment to both his craft and Duke University are second to none, and then to put together a streak of 459 – and counting – consecutive football games called is absolutely remarkable. Bob has given his heart and soul to Duke fans, coaches and student-athletes over the past four decades, and for that we are forever grateful. Deservedly so, Bob is in the class of radio broadcasting icons, and we’ve been fortunate to have him in our booth. With all of that said, I am most proud to call him my friend.” — David Cutcliffe, Duke University Head Football Coach
“Thirty-five years ago Bob took on a neophyte as his partner in the broadcast booth; he tolerated me, mentored me, and afforded me one of the most meaningful and enjoyable experiences of my life. The main thing Bob taught me was that our broadcasts were about the players; the broadcasts were not about us, Duke, or the coaches, they were about the players. Over the past forty years, no one has loved Duke University or given more of themselves to Duke University than Bob Harris. This is going to be a fun football season as we celebrate Bob’s wonderful career. Like all Duke fans, I am going to miss Bob’s broadcasts, but fortunately, I will continue to enjoy what I treasure most from the thirty-five years I have worked with Bob and that is the great friendship that I have with Bob and that my family has with the Harris family.” — Wes Chesson, Blue Devil IMG Sports Network Football Analyst
“This may sound cliché or colloquial, but Bob truly is one of a kind, and his retirement marks the end of an era. For many Duke fans, he is the only radio voice they’ve ever known. If you were born after 1975, or became a Duke fan since then, he’s the guy who’s provided the soundtrack to a whole catalog of unforgettable Blue Devil moments. It’s hard to think of a dramatic buzzer-beater or some other iconic Duke highlight without hearing Bob’s call playing alongside the memory; even if you didn’t hear it live, you heard it later and got excited all over again. Needless to say, it’s been both a privilege and a pleasure to work with Bob, but it’s been even more enjoyable to spend so much time with him off the air — on road trips, at meals, attending various functions — because he is the living definition of a “people person.” He has time for everyone, no one is a stranger. There simply couldn’t be a more fan-friendly broadcaster. I hope his retirement is as rewarding and fulfilling as the Duke athletics experiences he has enriched for so many of us.” — John Roth, Blue Devil IMG Sports Network Men’s Basketball Analyst
“Congratulations to Bob Harris on over 40 years of being the voice of our Blue Devils. During my six years at Duke he was ‘the best voice in sports’ and one of my best friends. Many thanks for a job well done, Bob. Go Duke!” — Steve Spurrier, former Duke University Head Football Coach
“Bob Harris has been a fixture at Duke for 40 years capturing all the great memories of competition. What makes Bob special is his love and passion for Duke and his job. He is one of a kind and his calls will live on forever. Congratulations, Bob. God bless.” — Joe Alleva, LSU Director of Athletics & former Duke University Director of Athletics
“Bob Harris is an institution at Duke, and his voice accompanies almost every iconic moment in Duke history. Bob taught me to be a broadcast pro and, while there is sadness at the thought of him leaving the booth, it will be wonderful to see the rich career of a true Duke legend appropriately celebrated in his final season. Bob Harris’ voice will be missed, but I’m thrilled we all get to savor it for one more year.” — Jay Bilas, ESPN Broadcaster
“Bob Harris is a broadcasting legend. As much a part of Blue Devil lore as the players themselves. I’ve loved sitting a few seats down from Bob on press row – he greets everyone with a warm smile and when you are in his company you know you are in the presence of royalty. You couldn’t ask for a better ambassador of the Duke ‘brand’ than the incomparable Bob Harris.” — Jim Nantz, CBS Sports Broadcaster
“Bob Harris poured his heart, soul and voice into something he loves dearly, Duke University. He is respected by many, including those he often questioned, referees. My favorite, signature call from Bob is Christian Laettner’s buzzer-beater against Kentucky in 1992. I STILL get chills when I hear it.” — Jeff Gravley, WRAL Sports Director
“When I was given the opportunity to begin my career as a member of the Duke broadcast team in 1987, Bob Harris quickly took me under his wing and gave me guidance. Among other things, he taught me the value of passion and enthusiasm. I can’t ever remember Bob having a ‘bad day at the office.’ His positive energy was always so contagious on game days. For Duke fans everywhere, his legendary radio calls will always remain as the soundtrack of their lives. What a great career, a great legend and a great man!” — Tony Haynes, NC State Wolfpack Sports Network Broadcaster
“Bob Harris is without question one of the finest voices in the nation and will be missed not only by Duke fans but fans around the country who have been loyal listeners for years and years. Not only is Bob a legend in the ACC but you would be hard pressed to find a better individual with a heart as big as the state of North Carolina. I know his 41st year at Duke will be a banner year for Bob and his family and he looks toward retirement. I will miss Bob as a broadcaster but more importantly as a dear and loyal friend.” — Johnny Holliday, Maryland Sports Radio Network Broadcaster
“As the voice of the Blue Devils for the last four decades, Bob Harris is synonymous with Duke athletics. His remarkable career has brought us many of the most exciting and iconic moments in Duke football and basketball history. Bob’s love for Duke University is indisputable, and he’s represented himself, his family and the entire Duke community with unwavering class, character and integrity. All of us in the ACC look forward to celebrating Bob as he begins his 41st, and final year, behind the microphone.” — John Swofford, ACC Commissioner