It’s been a sad year for North Carolina basketball. The Tar Heels family lost legendary coach Dean Smith in February at age 83. Today, it was announced that Smith’s longtime assistant Bill Guthridge—who succeeded Smith in 1997 as UNC’s head coach—passed away on Tuesday night at age 77. Guthridge’s cause of death is unknown.
Guthridge is known for his loyalty to Smith, as he was an assistant under the former North Carolina coach from 1967 until 1997. He took over the Tar Heels’ job after Smith retired, and led the squad to an 80-28 record. North Carolina went to the NCAA Tournament in each of his three years at the helm, and in his first and third years, Guthridge led the team to the Final Four. He was named the Naismith College Coach of the Year in 1998 and retired from coaching in 2000.
Sad news. Former UNC Coach Bill Guthridge passed away last night at age 77 w/ family at his side. 33 yrs on UNC bench. In our prayers.
— Carolina Basketball (@UNC_Basketball) May 13, 2015
— UNC Tar Heels (@GoHeels) May 13, 2015