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Guthridge resigns from UNC hoops

A week after North Carolina's Bill Guthridge resigned and left one of the most coveted coaching positions in the game up for grabs, reactions from the college basketball world are still filtering in while speculations about a successor continue to swirl.

Last night, Kansas coach Roy Williams announced he rejected North Carolina Athletic Director Dick Baddour's invitation to take over Guthridge's post. Now the program is left scrambling for a new coach with the summer recruiting period starting tomorrow.

After three seasons at the helm of the Carolina program, Guthridge announced at a press conference last Friday that he was stepping down, ending a 33-year association with the program. With Dean Smith, the man Guthridge was an assistant under for three decades, sitting alongside, Guthridge said the strain of coaching the Tar Heels was too much for the 62-year-old.

"When the season was over, I really thought I'd coach six or seven more years," he said. "But I've always felt if I couldn't get the batteries recharged, it would be time to quit."

Related Links
  • Official athletic site for UNC Basketball
  • ESPN's coverage on Guthridge's resignation

    Though he was heavily scrutinized last season for leading Carolina to a 18-12 regular season record, its worst since 1966, Guthridge brought his team to its second Final Four in three seasons. With 80 coaching wins, Guthridge set a mark for most wins by a coach in his first three seasons.

    Virginia assistant coach Tom Herrion said Guthridge should be lauded for his accomplishments and not remembered for any shortcomings his team exhibited last season.

    "I hope people appreciate his loyalty to the University of North Carolina and the success he contributed to and enjoyed during his many years with the North Carolina program," Herrion said.

    Now attention turns to the pursuit of Guthridge's replacement. With Williams out of the picture, other coaches with Carolina roots are being considered. Names rumored over the past week have inclued South Carolina coach Eddie Fogler, Notre Dame coach Matt Doherty and Philadelphia 76ers coach Larry Brown.

    Over the past week, Williams had been subject to constant rumors about his preferences. At one point, the press reported he had already accepted the Carolina job. But Williams insisted yesterday that he was leaning towards staying in Lawrence the whole time.

    Whatever coach the program recruits, North Carolina will enter the upcoming season with one of the nation's top-10 teams after a successful recruiting year. Forward Jason Capel said the team will perform no matter who the new head man is.

    "I think we can adjust to anybody," he said.


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