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Bill Guthridge

Bill Guthridge (AP Photo / Grant Halverson)
Bill Guthridge (AP Photo / Grant Halverson)

Guest Book Highlights

May 27, 2015 "May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow." - Kenneth Ketcham (jacksonville, NC)
May 27, 2015 "I first met Coach Guthridge in the summer of 1970. Being a local from Orange High School in Hillsborough, NC, I was allowed to attend Coach Smith's basketball camp in the summer of 1970, playing on a 6-man championship team there with David Thompson (a very nice guy, by the way - Charlie Scott had been one of his heroes and he was interested in coming to UNC at the time), who hurt his hand and couldn't play in the championship, but we remaining 5 still managed to win it without him - a fitting testament to the team style of play they taught us there that summer. Then, as a freshman at UNC in the Fall of 1971, though I hadn't been a star in high school, Coaches Smith and Guthridge remembered me, and when they saw that I was coming to UNC, they sent me a letter inviting me to try out for the freshman basketball team, so I felt that I owed it to them and to myself to try. It was the most grueling experience I can ever remember in athletics. There were already 5 scholarship freshmen and 2 others on grant-in-aid, so there were already 7 people on the team. We ran and ran and ran, and did drills and more drills and more drills until the 100-200 people who had originally tried out either cut themselves by not coming back, or were cut by the coaches, until, after a number of intense rounds, the number was down to the few who had made the team. I felt very fortunate (though exhausted) to be one of them, but with their help at the camp in 1970 and in the tryouts and early practices, I felt I was playing at a level that I had only imagined that I could have played at before, all because of being an integral part of an unselfish team that was trained in that style of play that enabled so much achievement as a team. It was exhilarating. And then one day, while having a good day at practice, I came down with a rebound and landed on my good friend John Justus' foot and rolled my left ankle to the floor, an ankle which I had also injured in years before. It wasn't broken, but I couldn't really do lateral movement, but just limped along jogging on the steps and along the sidelines. The coaches had told us that there might be attrition over the course of the season due to injuries, etc., and it turned out that I was the first case. After about a week of this and about a week or two before the first game, Coach Guthridge called me aside and told me as kindly as he could that my formal playing days were over. It was a hard thing to hear, especially when I had felt that I finally really understood the game and had developed such a feel for it, and had been reaching such a pinnacle compared to what I had done before. But he had to do it. I was somewhat lost for a while, but I was gratified that he still allowed me to sit down at the end of the bench with my former teammates on the freshman team at both the freshman and varsity games that season. I was honored by that privilege. And though the intense association and my time on the team was brief, the influence of Coaches Smith and Guthridge have played a great role in my life and influenced many of the ways in which I look at work and life. More than coaches, Coaches Smith and Guthridge were really teachers. I think they saw themselves as that, and I believe they truly considered that occupation their highest calling in life. In a very real sense, basketball was just a popular vehicle for all the things they really wanted most to teach and impart to us all. RIP, Coach Guthridge, and thank you for more than I could ever repay." - Ray Lucas (Loch Hill, MD)
May 25, 2015 "We are going to miss you so much coach! I am just glad you are at peace and coaching heaven's team in the sky with Dean. Rest in peace my fellow tarheel!" - James Harris (Charlotte, NC)
May 24, 2015 "RIP Coach Gut" - Brian Ellerby (Raleigh, NC)
May 24, 2015 "Rest in Peace Coach" - (Belmont, NC)
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Obituary for Bill Guthridge
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) - The North Carolina basketball family has lost a second beloved coach in the last few months with the death of Bill...
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