Ex-UNC head coach, longtime assistant Bill Guthridge dead at 77

Bill Guthridge (Getty)
Bill Guthridge was 80-28 in three seasons as North Carolina's coach. (Getty)

Bill Guthridge, the longtime assistant to Dean Smith as well as his successor as North Carolina's head basketball coach, died Tuesday night at the age of 77. UNC spokesperson Steve Kirschner confirmed the news Wednesday morning after an Inside Carolina report

Guthridge played college basketball at Kansas State and began his coaching career as an assistant for the Tex Winter's Wildcats before joining Dean Smith at UNC in 1967. The two coaches worked side-by-side, with Guthridge assuming the role of top assistant after just a few seasons, for two national titles and multiple Final Four appearances.

"It has been a trying time for the University of North Carolina basketball program over the past four months and our thoughts and prayers are with them again today after the passing of Bill Guthridge," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said Wednesday. "Coach Guthridge played an instrumental role in the program's success as an assistant under Dean Smith for three decades before making his own name as a head coach in leading North Carolina to a pair of Final Four appearances in three seasons. Though he was a head coach for a short time, he gracefully carried on a culture and legacy that many thought could not be perpetuated. We offer our deepest sympathies to Bill's family, friends and the entire North Carolina basketball community." 

In his three seasons as head coach after Smith's retirement, Guthridge led the Tar Heels to two Final Four appearances (1998, 2000) and an ACC tournament championship in 1998. He stepped down after the 2000 season, 33 years after arriving in Chapel Hill, with an 80-28 record as a head coach. 

"I'm extremely saddened by the passing of Coach Guthridge, aka 'Coach Gut,' especially coming so close to the loss of Coach Smith," Antawn Jamison, the 1998 National Player of the Year, said in statement. "He, like Coach Smith, was more of a mentor and father figure than anything else. His legacy and contributions to my life and to our University will live on and he'll be much more remembered for his sense of humor and class just as much as his coaching." 

CBS Sports Writer

Chip Patterson has spent his young career covering college sports from the Old North State. He's been writing and talking about football and basketball for CBS Sports since 2010. You may have heard him... Full Bio

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