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Duke athletics radio broadcaster Bob Harris to retire after 41 years in spring 2017

Harris has called men's basketball and football since 1976

President Richard Brodhead is not the only Duke symbol leaving the University after the 2016-17 year.

Radio broadcaster Bob Harris, who has called Blue Devil football and men's basketball games since 1976, will retire after the upcoming men's basketball season, the University announced Tuesday. The three-time North Carolina Broadcaster of the Year arrived at Duke five years before head coach Mike Krzyzewski and will retire as the longest-tenured announcer in ACC history after his 41st year next spring.

“Bob Harris’ voice is probably the most familiar and recognizable sound at Duke after the bells of the Chapel," Brodhead said in a release. "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.”

A native of Albemarle, N.C., Harris has called 1,358 men's basketball games and 459 football games. Earlier this year, he received The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, which is awarded by North Carolina's governor for exemplary service to the state. 

Harris is a member of the state's sports hall of fame—he was inducted in 2006—and was presented with the ACC's Skeeter Francis Award in 2009. The award is given to individuals for distinguished service to the league. 

"His unwavering passion for Duke came through each and every broadcast over the past four decades," head coach Mike Krzyzewski said in the release. "Without a doubt, Bob has produced some of the greatest calls in Duke history, if not all of sports, during that time."

During his time calling men's basketball, Harris has called all five of the Blue Devils' national championships, 10 national title games, 13 Final Fours, 16 ACC tournament championship game victories and 104 Duke-North Carolina games.

Before working with Krzyzewski, he worked with head coach Bill Foster.

One of the iconic moments of Harris' career came in 1992 when he called Christian Laettner's game-winning fadeaway jumper to beat Kentucky in the East Regional title game, sending Duke back to the Final Four en route to its second straight national championship. He is also known for his 2011 call of Austin Rivers' game-winning 3-pointer over North Carolina center Tyler Zeller to cap off Duke's road comeback at the Dean E. Smith Center.

"We hope that this year can be a celebration of Bob’s abundant broadcasting accomplishments," said Kevin White, vice president and director of athletics, in the release. "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.”

In addition to witnessing Krzyzewski's dominant run of five championships in 35 years on the hardwood, Harris has had a front-row seat for head coach David Cutcliffe's resurrection of the football program. 

After calling bowl games in 1989 and 1994, Harris had to wait 18 years before calling the 2012 Belk Bowl. He was on the call for the Blue Devils' first bowl win since 1961 last December against Indiana.

"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," Cutcliffe said in the release. "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.”

“Congratulations to Bob Harris on over 40 years of being the voice of our Blue Devils," said Steve Spurrier, who was Duke's head coach from 1987 to 1989 after serving as offensive coordinator from 1980 to 1982 and was a college football head coach for 24 years, in the release. "During my six years at Duke he was 'the best voice in sports' and one of my best friends.”

Other notable quotes included in the release can be viewed below:

“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.”—Joe Alleva, who served as Duke's director of athletics from 1998-2008 and has been in the same position at LSU since

“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, who played men's basketball at Duke from 1983 to 1986, was an assistant coach from 1989 to 1992 and has been an ESPN analyst and commentator since 1995

"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. All of us in the ACC look forward to celebrating Bob as he begins his 41st, and final year, behind the microphone."—ACC commissioner John Swofford, who has been commissioner of the league since 1997

“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."—CBS Sports broadcaster Jim Nantz, who has called the Final Four since 1991


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