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Former North Carolina Basketball Coach Bill Guthridge Dies At 77

Courtesy of Carolina Athletics

Former North Carolina men’s basketball coach Bill Guthridge died on Tuesday at age 77. 

Bill Guthridge led North Carolina to two Final Four appearances in his three years as head coach for the Tar Heels in the late 1990s. He won more games than any college head coach after two seasons and was named the 1997-1998 National Coach of the Year. He retired after the 2000 season.
Guthridge joined UNC’s staff in 1967 and spent much of his career as the top assistant to coach Dean Smith, who he succeeded in 1997.

Current UNC coach Roy Williams honored Guthridge at Smith’s memorial in February. The stadium gave Guthridge a standing ovation.

“Down on the end, Wild Bill Guthridge..That was awfully nice and coach that was well deserved. A lot of years as the right hand man, and a lot of years as the comic relief.”

In Guthridge’s 33 years as both an assistant and head coach, the Tar Heels won two national championships and made it to the Final Four twelve times. Guthridge was also an assistant to Smith for the 1976 U.S. Olympic men’s basketball team that won a gold medal.

Like coach Smith, Guthridge was a native of Kansas. Before his career at UNC, Guthridge played basketball at Kansas State, and served there as an assistant coach.