Bill Guthridge : Former UNC basketball coach dies at 77

Bill Guthridge : Former UNC basketball coach dies at 77

Bill Guthridge, who assisted University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill head coach Dean Smith for 30 years before taking over the Tar Heel program in 1998, died Tuesday night at the age of 77.

His cause of death was not immediately known.

Guthridge, who was a part of 14 Final Fours, started as an assistant under Dean Smith in 1967. Following Smith’s retirement in 1997, Guthridge went 80-28 during his three-year head coaching tenure, going to the Final Four in 1998 and 2000.

Guthridge was named National Coach of the Year during his first year as head coach.

Guthridge helped develop a number of UNC forwards and centers such as James Worthy, Eric Montross and Antawn Jamison.

He was often mentioned as a head coaching candidate at other schools. In the late 1970s, he agreed to become the coach at Penn State before changing his mind and remaining at UNC.

Before joining Dean Smith’s staff, Guthridge served as an assistant at alma mater Kansas State.

Smith died in February at the age of 83.