As a coach, he was stubbornly competitive. Im like, Coach, we won it, congrats! Jamison remembers. He is probably best remembered for his loyalty to Smith, who died in February at age 83. But the Tar Heels advanced to the Final Four. How would his retirement alter the short- and long-term trajectory of a program built on consistency? Guthridge had ample opportunities to leave Chapel Hill and become the head coach of his own program. Just a really good man who made Carolina, the ACC and college basketball better.. He will certainly be remembered for what he did as opposed to what else he might have done. Only different alternate realities. It wasnt until Oct. 3, 1997 a Friday about a week before the first practice of the season that Baddour got an indication that Smith wouldnt return. The Tar Heels then went 24-10 in 1998-99 but were upset by Weber State in the first round of the NCAA tournament. "He, like Coach Smith, was more of a mentor and father figure than anything else. At that point, Baddour turned to Matt Doherty, who had been the coach at Notre Dame for just one season. He wasnt going to entertain a room full of boosters with behind the scenes stories. Graduate of the University of North Carolina. He was extremely special, important to every player, every coach who ever worked here. That was probably six or seven years later where somebody else might recognize it. He was a lifetime assistant coach for whom Dean did a solid. Smith was fresh off his 11th Final Four and had just passed Adolph Rupp for the most wins by any college basketball coach in history. Change), You are commenting using your Facebook account. The next day, Kenny Smith said, assistant coach Bill Guthridge wasn't at practice. in mathematics in 1960 and an M.A. Veteran sports reporter Peter Gammons had high praise for the former coach: Saddened to learn Bill Guthridge passed away. Like his lifelong friend and mentor, Coach Dean Smith, he led by example instilling values of kindness, discipline and a strong work ethic. A tremendously loyal person with an ego that was seemingly non-existent. I dont think he went in that summer thinking, Im not gonna be the basketball coach by fall, Baddour says. But 1:57 was 1:57. Postseason invitational champion One of his most tempestuous relationships had been with guard Shammond Williams, who even walked off the court at Virginia on one occasion. He was 77 years old. The only people who came to know about that line of succession, so to speak, were Baddour, Smith, Guthridge and then-chancellor Michael Hooker, who expressed some concerns about Guthridges age early on. And as the confetti fell on UNCs first title A.D. After Dean Guthridge burst into tears alongside his former players. He said to me, I have felt this way before, but in the early fall, Ive always gotten the energy back, and I expect that thats gonna happen, but I do want to alert you to the possibility that it might not. Whether or not deep down inside he thought that energy wouldnt come back, I dont know the answer to that. In our prayers. And althoug he believes that scenario puts more emphasis on winning than it does on building relationships and teaching the things Guthridge and Smith both loved its not out of the question. Because before we can consider what might have been, we have to understand why everything played out as it did. The next season, North Carolina earned a #3 seed in the West regional of the NCAA tournament, but was upset in the first round by Weber State in a late game in Seattle. I really believe thats exactly what happened.. Williams and Ndiaye both graduated. Ndiaye remembers taking his son for a campus tour years later, and Guthridge coming out of the Smith Center to greet him. (LogOut/ Coach Guthridge had been Coach Smiths assistant coach at UNC for 30 years, so he knew Coach Smiths style, plays, and strategies inside and out. Baddour was scheduled to travel with the football program that day for a game at TCU, but before leaving he spoke to Smith on the phone. Guthridge . Guthridge, who like Smith was a. And that brings us full-circle, back to the original what-if: What if Dean Smith had finished out his contract, which ran through the end of the 2000-01 season? He had recently been in an assisted living facility in Chapel Hill. In 2000, the Tar Heels struggled in the regular season, falling out of the polls for the first time since the start of the 199091 season. Heading into what would have been the fourth year of a five-year contract, Guthridge compiled an 80-28 record, but had not received an extension. He was my friend, a father figure, a big brother for me just like he was for so many players," current UNC coach Roy Williams said. SCNext Top 25: Ranking the best high school boys' basketball teams in the 2022-23 season, Brown: There will never be another Bill Guthridge. Sad news. He was a perfect sidekick for Coach Smith. He came up with the idea that Dean Smith, having . The guys worked hard and didnt lose confidence, Guthridge said after the season. Ndiaye comforted his coach, who had become a friend in time. He never called me at home, unless it was something dire, Hanners says, but he said, How would you feel about meeting me in the office early on Monday at 7 to go over some things before everyone gets there? Hanners obliged, trying to ease Guthridges feeling that he was somewhat out of touch. But when Guthridge retired, Williamsthen playing with the Seattle Sonicsmade the effort to find a commercial flight to Chapel Hill, then flew out again as soon as the press conference was over. We offer our deepest sympathies to Bills family, friends and the entire North Carolina basketball community.. And everything that happened, for better or worse, led the program to where it is today. An assistant to Dean Smith for 30 seasons, Guthridge replaced his former boss when Smith retired in 1997 after 36 years as coach of the Tar Heels. That group, fresh off a Final Four appearance, was tabbed as the preseason No. After Coach Guthridges retirement in 2003, he and Coach Smith stayed in close contact, visiting each other frequently. Who will win each 2023 conference tournament? Just like Smith, Guthridge found a way to impact his players beyond teaching them offensive and defensive principles. While a student at Kansas State, Guthridge played guard under head coach Fred "Tex" Winter, and helped the team advance to the 1958 Final Four. He was inducted into the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame in 2013. Dean Smith unexpectedly retired as head basketball coach at North Carolina just two months before the start of the 199798 season, and Guthridge was immediately named his successor. He stopped when he did because he was afraid his memory wasnt as good as it was or had been. The possibilities were endless, but Baddour is certain of one thing: keeping things in the family was a must. He is one of five people to have appeared in the Final Four as both a player and coach. Later during that conversation, I suggested to Smith that he still had a lot of quality coaching mileage left and that maybe he should consider returning for an encore. After that loss, Carter and Jamison turned pro. Baddour and Smith never had a lengthy sitdown to discuss the future. The Tar Heels either won the ACC tournament or finished atop the league standings -- or did both -- in 23 of those seasons. I think its time to turn it over to somebody else, he said at a campus news conference. Conference tournament champion. However, Coach Guthridge served as the perfect replacement as head basketball coach when Coach Smith unexpectantly announced his retirement from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1997. After Dean Smith retired, Bill Guthridge took over for three years and at some point, we can't remember exactly which year, Boswell struck. "I'd always set my time to GST, 10 minutes ahead.". Smith died on Feb. 7 after suffering for years from a neurological disorder that robbed him of his memories. How close did Raleigh come to getting an NFL team? Guthridge was the longtime assistant to UNC coach Dean Smith, who died earlier this year. Really, a championship or not is the only major differentiator between Smith and Guthridge. He handed out handwritten notes instead. 2023 The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Improving child and adolescent mental health, A message from the chancellor: We are a global university, Carolina Engagement Week Returns for a Second Year, Feb. 27 Through March 3, Book Publishing I: The Process with Christopher Ahn, Parr|Bioethics Joint Lecture: Elizabeth Barnes (University of Virginia), Disability and Health: An Its Complicated Relationship, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Former University of North Carolina mens basketball coach Bill Guthridge passed away May 12. He was a kind soul with a strong, competitive spirit. We offer our deepest condolences to the Guthridge family as they grieve the loss of a wonderful husband and father.. Bill Guthridge, who led North Carolina to two Final Four appearances in his three seasons as coach of the Tar Heels, will announce his retirement at a news conference Friday, The Associated Press has learned. Buffalo Brothers - 1/2 Price Appetizers 4:30pm-6:00pm Monday - Friday, Holliday: State and Carolina headed in different directions for the final two weeks, Brownlow: Angst will be at an all-time high as NC State hosts hated rival UNC, Holliday: Miami puts the Heels back on the bubble, Brownlow: NC State, Duke and UNC all seek to avoid two losses in a row as crunch time hits, Holliday: Pivotal road trips for NC State and Duke, Brownlow: Saturday's matchup marks the beginning of a new Carolina-Duke era, Holliday: Could this be Keatts' best ACC season? When coach Smith retired in 1997, after a tenure of 36 season, Guthridge took over the job to begin a reign of great basketball playing at UNC. Looking around at his devastated players in the locker room, Guthridge realized he simply couldnt leave. Spend time with family. , National champion My guess is that Coach Guthridge probably never came back from that place after Coach Smiths death and I would speculate that Coach Smiths death may have been the final straw of an increasingly-unfamiliar and disconnected life for Coach Guthridge. He formed a successful partnership with Dean Smith that lasted three decades until Smith retired in 1997. You accomplished something that takes some other people 20-plus years to do. 33 yrs on UNC bench. Which put Baddour on the search for a long-term replacement for the first time. Guthridge was completely content in the role of a lifetime assistant and the Smith/Guthridge combo would have been weakened had Guthridge retired early. (Scott Sharpe/News & Observer), Standing Together With Our Black Community, Assistant Schall Named Head Volleyball Coach, After 33 Years, Volleyball Coach Sagula Retires, In Memoriam: Elizabeth B. Morgan (19302022). He held tight. Fords reputation was growing fast as a star recruiter, having single-handedly delivered Rasheed Wallace to UNC and playing a major role in Carters eventual commitment. Whether Williams would have returned at that time is impossible to say. I didnt really have to focus too much on a Plan B, Baddour says. Guthridge was a player and then an assistant coach at Kansas State . However, it was Coach Guthridges incurable heart condition that led to his development of vascular dementia, and with its progression, his placement for the last several years in a Chapel Hill assisted living facility. As an assistant, Guthridge was renowned for his success in coaching the fundamentals of pivot play to a long series of successful UNC big men, and as the Tar Heels' primary shooting coach. In Guthridge's final season, he went 18-13 -- at the time, the program's worst finish in decades -- but bounced back in the postseason to reach North Carolina's 15th Final Four before losing in the national semifinals to Florida. I enjoyed my 30 years as an assistant coach, and Ive enjoyed my three years as a head coach.. Had it worked out where there wasnt a down year or whatever, maybe things end up differently, Frederick says. Current coach Roy Williams referenced Smith's death, which occurred on Feb. 7 of this year, when commenting onGuthridge, via Andrew Carter of theCharlotte Observer: Here's Roy. That first five minutes, you can have all the confidence in the world, but if you go down 23-8 or 13-4, you just put so much pressure on yourself. That season, he led the Tar Heels to a 34-4 record and the final No. He was a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. Student-run Chapel Thrill Escapes brings its newest escape room to life Rameses in Wonderland continuing to provide an outlet for student creativity, entrepreneurship and collaboration on Carolina's campus. The fact that he felt like he failed us.. Hed have retired with a championship trophy, and then let someone else step right in, Ndiaye says. The family told team spokesman Steve Kirschner that Guthridge died of heart failure and that the coach had lived with a heart condition the past seven years. Ironically, both coaches developed dementia along the way (Coach Smith died in January 2015 of complications from dementia). He would sneak into practices, hide way up in the rafters so as not to be seen. That Plan B, clearly, was Guthridge. And I think he probably had second thoughts, because at what point was it really a danger? "My sympathies go out to his wife, Leesie, and their kids and family.". Theyd had their disagreements, yes. Having grown up in North Carolina and gone to school here and worked here, I think it was probably just destiny.. All rights reserved. Calhoun, elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2005, is . With Williams, it was the restoration of the family, three national championships and potentially many more years. Guthridge took over when Smith retired after 36 seasons in October 1997. Thank you Coach Gut for the many lessons you taught us at UNC. But it was all as a team, no one mans fault or wrongdoing for the groups shortcoming. 3 "The End of Absence" Michael Harris. Guthridge had once accepted Penn States head coaching vacancy in the 1970s, only to return to Chapel Hill before his connecting flight to State College. But obviously, the better head coach -- one of four or so best head coaches of all time in his sport -- and the decision to retire was seriously flawed by emotion. Then there are the other options from Smiths tree: Karl and Fogler and even Larry Brown. William Wallace Guthridge (July 27, 1937 May 12, 2015) was an American college basketball coach. Lets play out the most interesting of the hypotheticals: if Dean Smith does return for the 1997-1998 season, with an absolutely jam-packed roster. The people who knew him best werent surprised he went to two Final Fours in three seasons.. He led his first team to the 1998 Final Four and had two players, Vince Carter and Antawn Jamison, selected in the top five . In our prayers. Matt Doherty, who played at UNC while Guthridge was an assistant and then became the school's head coach after Guthridge retired, sent along his condolences: Thank you Coach Gut for the many lessons you taught us at UNC. The team fundamentally changed, that opportunity disappearing into the ether. In 1993, he and his wife, Leesie, created the William W. and Elise P. Guthridge Library Fund, which helped with purchasing materials and renovation of the House Undergraduate Library. Now Guthridge, 77, is enduring a similarly cruel fate . He spurned offers to interview for head coaching vacancies, preferring to remain out of the spotlight and continuing to team with Smith. Kansas coach Roy Williams, a former North Carolina assistant under Smith, will succeed Guthridge, a source close to the university told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. Conference regular season champion His calm demeanorhe could sometimes be found sitting in the stands an hour before road games eating popcorn or a hot dogmasked a passionate love for the Tar Heels. His lack of recruiting is why they went 8-20 shortly thereafter. Born in Parsons, Kansas, Guthridge attended Kansas State University in Manhattan, and graduated with a B.S.  They finished the regular season at 1813, the worst for UNC in eleven years, but the Tar Heels came alive in the NCAA tournament. Coach Smith began showing signs of cognitive impairment before Coach Guthridge did. In fact, he communicated as much to Baddour after Baddour was tapped in late June to replace John Swofford as athletic director. 1 "The End of Absence" Michael Harris, Pt. Guthridge, his wife said, suffers from vascular dementia - a condition that's a result of reduced blood supply to the brain. And with Guthridge having gotten his shot, there would have been no issues of whose turn it was. He was enormously committed to attention to detail and organization, says Dick Baddour, a longtime university administrator who served as athletic director from 1997 to 2011. Guthridge took over when Smith retired after 36 seasons in October 1997. But theres also the fact that Dean did it his way, which was entirely predictable. End of conversation.. "When Coach Smith announced he was retiring and that Coach Guthridge was taking over, then it all clicked into place for me," Hanners says. A Tar Heel passing him in the hallway might greet him with a quick head nod and a greeting of, Coach. Guthridge would invariably respond with a similar head nod and, Player.. in education in 1963. But he decided he did not have the energy to continue coaching, the AP reported. Its hard, man. What about Ford? I remember telling the chancellor that, Baddour says. Heck, he might still be the coach at North Carolina. North Carolina made 29 NCAA tournament appearances in Guthridge's 33 years on the staff and finished no worse than third in the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season standings every year -- with 16 first-place finishes and 10 more in second. The closest he came to leaving Chapel Hill was 1978, when he verbally accepted the head coaching job at Penn State. Perhaps, at last, somewhere in his mind, Coach Guthridge finally made the decision it was time for him to retire from this physical life. #RIP. Its another tremendous loss for our University, our basketball program and our entire community. I talk to Coach Williams all the time, and I asked him, Whats the best advice Coach Smith ever gave you? And he said, Antawn, Coach Smith told me just coach til you cant coach anymore. The only thing he regretted was he felt like he stopped coaching too early.. The University of North Carolina has lost a dear friend, as haveI, andIknow that we will all miss him greatly., Im extremely saddened by the passing of Coach Guthridge, aka Coach Gut, especially coming so close to the loss of Coach Smith. Hanners, one of Fords close friends to this day, recalls the natural coaching instincts Ford had when the two oversaw the JV team. Try a week on us. Although four years further down the line, theres skepticism Guthridge, at the age of 64 or 65, would still have been interested in taking a crack. After those brief flirtations with head coaching positions, Guthridge settled in as UNC's top assistant, right up until Dean Smith suddenly retired in October of 1997. Its often forgotten that he helped engineer the 2000 Final Four run by keeping his team in Charlotte overnight after a disappointing quarterfinal ACC Tournament loss, and pushing them hard in practice on Saturday. Making the Final Four is a tremendous accomplishment but its not what you chase. Because that was supposed to be something that we accomplished together.. On this Wikipedia the language links are at the top of the page across from the article title. Had McAdoo returned, Smiths team would have been much better positioned to deal with David Thompsons stunning impact on NC State, the ACC and the nation. Coach Smith had so many strengths and very few weaknesses. Of course, Smith did retire. Guthridge went 80-28 from 1997 to 2000 before retiring in June 2000. On the day of Smiths retirement, The Washington Post reported Smith wants his other longtime assistant, former Tar Heels point guard Phil Ford, eventually to become the coach, a source said. Ford was arguably Smiths best player ever, and UNCs all-time leading scorer at the time. College Basketball Coach. Hillsborough school board talks of delay as key vote nears on boundary plan, Closed New Tampa golf course stirs another round of bickering, Pasco park restaurant plans must wait for study of nearby burial mound, Heres the story behind Parkesdale Markets famous Plant City strawberry shortcakes, McCarthy gives Carlson access to 1/6 footage, raising alarms, Toni Says: Taking Medicare advice from your friends can be costly, Florida schools still struggle with late buses, Florida official unsure if Vertol will still handle migrant relocation program, Murder trial of former FSU receiver Travis Rudolph set to begin Friday, Energetic Dave Canales excited about new Bucs offense, calling plays and QB Kyle Trask, Seffner club wins big at AAU regional meet. We certainly had no idea; he was still the smartest guy, could recall everything he was seeing.. Guthridge could deal with Dean's irritability, his need to control the smallest things. (LogOut/ Suggestion to Return DismissedWhen Guthridge retired after leading his third team to another Final Four, I interviewed Smith about the amazingly long and successful partnership the two coaches -- Smith a Kansas grad and Guthridge from Kansas State -- had enjoyed. But if Williams had declined the opportunity, as he initially did a year prior? His loss is deeply felt by our university and the basketball world. Former University of North Carolina basketball coach Bill Guthridge, 77, died Tuesday from a heart condition. He was North Carolina basketball, the constant as the new building was built in his honor and the banners in the rafters accumulated, the link from Scott to Ford to Jordan to Stackhouse. Guthridge said he took a vacation in Europe in May, hoping to recharge, but wasnt able to. Revisionist history does offer some diverging paths, though. I mean, the Plan B was there.. People could misinterpret 2 p.m.perhaps it really meant 1:45, or maybe 2:15. And come Monday, he got the fateful notice. So why leave?, His dry sense of humor was legendary among his players. Peterson -- who roomed with Jordan on those early 1980s teams -- said Guthridge kept the program going off the court, with the assistant making him run the school's golf course at 6 a.m. as punishment for once being late. 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Guthridge took over when Smith retired after 36 seasons in October 1997. "We'd always say there were so many time zones -- Eastern Standard Time, Central Standard Time -- but the most important was GST: Guthridge Standard Time," Peterson said. He was an unbelievable assistant to Coach Smith. He joined the UNC staff in 1967 after five years as assistant to Tex Winter at Kansas State. Guthridge didn't bother to recruit Jason Williams, conceding him to K, even though Jason reportedly had an interest in UNC. After a three-year disastrous tenure under Doherty, the University of North Carolina hired Roy Williams from Kansas and got the leadership and gravitas that had characterized the UNC basketball program under Coach Smith and Coach Guthridge. Or does Doherty get his chance regardless? What if he hadnt retired when he did? He was 77. "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.". When Smith was needlessly ejected from the 1991 Final Four, it was Guthridge who was furious in the tunnel after the game. Bill Guthridge, who led North Carolina to two Final Four appearances in his three seasons as basketball coach of the Tar Heels, will announce his retirement today, the Associated Press reported. Dick, lets talk on Monday, but Im pretty sure Im gonna tell you Monday its time to transition, Baddour remembers. Copyright 2013 by Capitol Broadcasting Company. He was a father figure.". He said that although he was impressed with the athletic department personnel and basketball program, withdrawing his name was "in the best interest of myself and my family.". Hed grown up in North Carolina, graduated from the university, won a championship as an assistant under Smith and had built a successful program as the coach at Kansas. He, like Coach Smith, was more of a mentor and father figure than anything else. He led his first team to the 1998 Final Four and had two players, Vince Carter and Antawn Jamison, selected in the top five picks of the NBA draft. You will be missed. After graduating from Kansas State, he coached at Scott City High School in Kansas for two seasons before returning to his alma mater as an assistant coach for Tex Winter from 19621967. The latest in the sports world, emailed daily. Only, given Guthridges age at the time (60) and the fact that hed always said hed retire when Smith did, Baddour wasnt totally sure Guthridge was interested. Matt Doherty, who succeeded Guthridge as Tar Heels coach and served in that capacity for three seasons, tweeted his condolences Wednesday. Panthers add Parks Frazier as passing game coordinator, Duke finishes 16-0 at home after 71-67 win over N.C. 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