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Bill Guthridge    

Retired Head Coach of the Carolina Tar Heels Basketball Team

Following a legend is no easy task, but Bill Guthridge did an outstanding job leading the Carolina men's basketball program after Dean Smith stepped down after 36 years as head coach. Guthridge followed college basketball's alltime winningest head coach with two Final Four berths and an ACC championship in his three years as UNC's head coach.

Guthridge directed the Tar Heels to a record of 80-28 wins in his three years, sharing the NCAA record for most wins by a coach after three seasons with NC State's Everett Case. His 58 wins in his first two seasons are the highest win total of any two-year coach in NCAA history.

Guthridge's winning percentage of .741 is the third-highest in school history for coaches with at least three seasons (behind Dean Smith, .776 in 36 seasons, and George Shepard, .812 in four seasons). He led Carolina to two NCAA Final Four berths and was the consensus 1997-98 National Coach of the Year. He is just the second coach in NCAA history to lead teams to two Final Fours in his first three seasons as a head coach (Ohio State's Fred Taylor was the other in 1960 and 1961).

In short, Guthridge did what many observers predicted could not be done -- take over one of college basketball's premier programs and continue to win games, recruit the nation's top student-athletes and direct an all-around first-class program.

Guthridge, who was born on July 27, 1937, is a 1960 alumnus of Kansas State University. He played as a guard on Wildcat teams which won Big Eight Conference championships in 1958, 1959 and 1960 and in his sophomore year, KSU made the NCAA Final Four after winning the Midwest Regional championship.

His dry sense of humor makes him one of the most popular speakers in the Carolina athletic department. Tar Heel seniors annually credit Guthridge's discipline and wit among the things they will miss the most about the Carolina basketball family.

Bill and his wife, Leesie, have two sons, Jamie and Stuart, and a daughter, Megan.


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