Bob Harris, a Hall of Fame broadcaster and voice of the Duke Blue Devils for the last 40 years, recently announced he will be retiring after the 2016/17 season. Harris, who is also the longest-tenured play by play announcer in the history of the ACC, made the announcement on July 6 at a news conference at Cameron Indoor Stadium, the home of the Duke men’s basketball team. While Harris’ announcement won’t impact the Blue Devils’ college basketball national championship odds, it is still a huge loss for the team and fans, who have been listening to Harris call games for four decades.
Harris is a three time winner of the North Carolina Broadcaster of the Year honor, which is awarded by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. He is also a member of the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, after being inducted in 2006.
In 2009, Harris received the ACC’s Skeeter Francis Award, which is an honor that is presented annually to individuals for their distinguished service to the league.
Earlier this year, the Governor of North Carolina gave Harris The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, an honor bestowed for his exemplary service to the state its communities.
Harris will go into his final season as Duke’s play by play announcer with an active streak of 459 straight games announced. The streak started on September 11, 1976 during a 21-18 Duke victory over Tennessee.
Over his four decades in the league, Harris has called six bowl games, starting with the 1989 All American Bowl, and ending with the 2013 ACC Championship Game against the Florida State Seminoles.
Since Harris has been calling plays for the Blue Devils, the football team has gone through nine head coaches and 114 assistants. Over his career, Harris has called plays alongside Danny Highsmith, John McNabb, and Wes Chesson.
Harris and Chesson have been calling the Blue Devils games for the past 35 years, and they worked together in 2000 to call the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas, which is a high school football all-star game featuring players from North and South Carolina.
For the Duke basketball team, Harris has called 1,358 games, including 104 of the intense Duke and North Carolina rivalry games. Over the span of his career, he has worked 13 Final Four games and 10 championship games, which includes all five Blue Devils national championships.
Harris has also called 16 of Duke’s ACC Tournament championship wins between 1978 and 2011.
While covering the Duke basketball team, Harris only worked with two head coaches: Bill Foster & Mike Krzyzewski. Foster was the coach before Krzyzewski, who has been coaching the team since 1980.
Harris, who was born in Albemarle, N.C. in 1942, got his start in broadcasting in 1967 as the sports director of a local radio station in his hometown. He later served as the sports director WDNC in Durham, North Carolina from 1975-1997.
Harris became the president of the North Carolina Sportscasters Association in 1976, the president of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association in 1992, and he was a member of the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame from 1996 to 2008.
Harris wrote a book titled “How Sweet It Is! From the Cotton Mill to the Crow’s Nest,” in 2010.