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'The Voice of God' Thunders On

Saturday, March 12, 2005; Page D10

If the ACC tournament could speak, it would sound like Larry Dunlap.

Dunlap's sonorous voice is synonymous with this event. The 60-year-old High Point, N.C., resident has served as the public address announcer for 23 ACC tournaments, including the past 14.

Larry Dunlap has been the public address announcer for the last 14 ACC tournaments, 23 in all. (Jonathan Newton -- The Washington Post)

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Yesterday's Georgia Tech-Virginia Tech quarterfinal was Dunlap's 168th ACC tournament game.

The key to his longevity? Preparation.

"I script everything," he said. "I don't try to ad-lib."

Dunlap takes great care to pronounce the players' names correctly. He rarely makes mistakes, but it does happen. He recounted one time when he accidentally called a certain No. 23 for North Carolina "Mike" rather than Michael. Former Tar Heels coach Dean Smith was quick to correct him.

The ACC tournament has given Dunlap many unforgettable moments, but his most memorable experience might have been at the 1996 Southern Conference tournament at Greensboro Coliseum. Former Western Carolina coach Phil Hopkins decided to propose to his girlfriend after his team won the championship. Dunlap called her down to the court, saying Hopkins had a question to ask her.

On ESPN's "SportsCenter" that night when anchor Dan Patrick was introducing the piece, he called Dunlap "the voice of God."

As far as ACC hoops fans are concerned, Patrick wasn't far from the truth.

Spring Break in D.C.

Florida State's stay in Washington was extended despite its first-round loss. The Seminoles, who lost to North Carolina State on Thursday afternoon, had hoped to fly back to Tallahassee yesterday morning, but they were unable to arrange a charter flight. They planned to fly out this morning.

The players, who did not miss classes because they are on spring break, were not able to attend yesterday's games because they did not have tickets. Instead, they went to ESPNZone for lunch and to watch the games.

Packer Is Honored

Former all-ACC guard and current TV analyst Billy Packer was given the Marvin "Skeeter" Francis Award.

The award, presented annually by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association to a current or former media member for notable achievement and service in coverage of the ACC, is named in honor of the longtime sports information director at Wake Forest. Francis also was service bureau director of the conference, and he attended every conference tournament until his death on July 6.

Packer has covered the past 23 Final Fours for CBS and continues to work ACC regional telecasts as well. As a guard for Wake Forest, he was a three-year starter and led the Demon Deacons to the Final Four in 1962. That was their first and only appearance in the national semifinals.

-- Kathy Orton

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