Former North Carolina head coach Bill Guthridge, who also served 30 years as an assistant to Dean Smith, died Tuesday night at the age of 77.
The university confirmed the news Wednesday morning. The cause of death was not immediately known.
“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 posted on Twitter.
Guthridge spent three decades at Smith’s side when the Tar Heels brought national championships to Chapel Hill in 1982 and 1993.
Guthridge was promoted to replace the legendary coach, who retired after 36 seasons in October 1997. Smith died in February at age 83.
Guthridge led his first team with star players Vince Carter and Antawn Jamison to the 1998 Final Four. He also took a less-talented team to the Final Four in 2000.
Guthridge went 80-28 from 1997-2000 before retiring in June 2000.
“Bill Guthridge was a gentleman coach, but a fierce competitor, and an incredibly loyal member of Dean Smith’s staff for three decades,” current UNC athletic director Bubba Cunningham said in a statement. “I learned very quickly when I came to Chapel Hill how beloved and respected he was by people all across this community. His loss is deeply felt by our university and the basketball world.”