Albemarle native Bob Harris named ‘ACC Legend’

Broadcaster is known as “The Voice of the Blue Devils”

Oct 21, 2017; Durham, NC, USA; The Duke Blue Devils line up against the Pittsburgh Panthers in the third quarter at Wallace Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

RALEIGH — Every year, the ACC picks a class of  “legends,” one from each member school to represent their teams at the league’s championship game festivities in December.

At least half of those selected never actually played in the ACC. And even fewer can legitimately be classified as honest-to-goodness legends.

This year, however, at least one of the honorees truly fits the latter description.

Although Bob Harris never played in an ACC football game, he provided the play-by-play descriptions for 471 of them in a row for Duke fans listening on the radio. The recently retired broadcaster is one of 14 “ACC Legends” announced by the conference last Tuesday.

Among the others named are North Carolina’s Brian Simmons, NC State’s Levar Fisher and Wake Forest’s Ryan Plackemeier.

Harris took over the football and basketball broadcasting chores at Duke in 1976 and spent more than four decades as “The Voice of the Blue Devils.” He was the Albemarle High classmate of another ACC broadcasting legend, Woody Durham, the longtime play-by-play voice of rival UNC.

A four-time North Carolina Broadcaster of the Year, Harris was inducted into the Stanly County Sports Hall of Fame in 1993 and the state sports shrine 13 years later. Last June, he was bestowed the prestigious Order of the Long Leaf Pine — an honor conferred by then-Gov. Pat McCrory for exemplary service to North Carolina and its communities.

“Bob Harris’ voice is probably the most familiar and recognizable sound at Duke after the bells of the chapel,” Duke president Richard H. Brodhead said in a statement the day Harris announced his retirement. “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.”

Like Harris, Simmons is also involved of broadcasting, although he is only in his second season as the color analyst for the Tar Heel Sports Network. As a player from 1994-97, he was a consensus first-team All-American linebacker who went on to play 10 NFL seasons after being selected in first-round of the 1998 draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. Simmons finished his career with 37 tackles for losses and 11 sacks while setting a school record with his 160 interception return yards.

Fisher was also a linebacker who was the ACC’s Defensive Player of the Year and a Bronko Nagurski Trophy finalist as a junior in 2000. Plackemeier, meanwhile, was the 2005 Ray Guy Award winner as the nation’s best punter who became only the fifth player in Deacons history to be named a first-team All-America three times in his career.

The rest of this year’s ACC Legends class consists of Boston College’s Matt Hasselbeck, Clemson’s Homer Jordan, the late Monk Bonasorte of Florida State, Georgia Tech’s Keith Brooking, Louisville’s Joe Jacoby, Miami’s Bennie Blades, Pitt’s Jimbo Covert, Syracuse’s Tom Coughlin, Virginia’s Bob Davis and Virginia Tech’s Jim Pyne.

The group will be honored during the ACC Night of Legends presented by the Charlotte Sports Foundation at the Charlotte Convention Center, on Friday, Dec. 1, and during the on-field pregame festivities at the ACC Football Championship Game on Saturday, Dec. 2, at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium.