The Bill Guthridge Distinguished Professorship in Mathematics was established in 1998 by John W. Burress III ’58 and Mary Louise Bizzell Burress ’58 and Charles G. Duckett ’82 and Elizabeth Brady Duckett ’80. The gift honors the University’s former head basketball coach, whom the Burresses and Ducketts have known and admired for years.

Their gift of $333,000 was supplemented with $167,000 in state funds from the Distinguished Professors Endowment Trust Fund to create a $500,000 endowed professorship.

A native of Parsons, Kan., Guthridge started his basketball career in high school under Harold Johnson, one of the inventors of the zone press. He moved on to Kansas State University where he played guard for three consecutive Big Eight Conference championship teams. When he received his bachelor’s of science degree in math in 1960, he was voted one of the University’s 13 most outstanding all-around seniors for his leadership qualities, extracurricular activities and academic record. Guthridge worked as an assistant coach at Kansas State for five years before coming to UNC in 1967.

Guthridge spent the next 30 years as assistant coach to Dean Smith, college basketball’s winningest coach. During their years together, the Tar Heels won 16 ACC Tournaments and made 26 appearances in the NCAA Tournament, which they won in 1982 and 1993. Guthridge became head coach when Smith retired just before the 1997 basketball season. In his first year as head coach, he led the Tar Heels to the ACC championship and the NCAA Final Four. He was named 1998 ACC Coach of the Year and earned 1998 National Coach-of-the-Year honors from The Sporting News, CBS/Chevrolet, the National Association of Basketball Coaches and the Columbus (Ohio) Touchdown Club. He was 1998 recipient of the Naismith Award.

Guthridge also has enjoyed tremendous success outside of Carolina basketball. He was invited to coach the 1968 Puerto Rican Olympic Team after receiving two coach-of-the-year honors for his work in the Puerto Rican Amateur Union Summer Leagues. Guthridge, Smith and Georgetown coach John Thompson led the U. S. Olympic team to a gold medal in the 1976 Montreal Summer Games. In 1994, the Kansas Coaches Association elected him to the Kansas Basketball Hall of Fame.

Guthridge is married to the former Elise “Leesie” Pettrey, who earned her master’s degree in library science from UNC in 1969. They have two sons, James and Stuart, and a daughter, Megan (M.A.C. ’98).

John Burress is the president of Winston-Salem’s J.W. Burress, Inc., an industrial machinery distribution company. He received the William Richardson Davie Award in 2001 in recognition of extraordinary service to the University and society. He and Mary Louise have supported the Institute for the Arts and Humanities, the Ruel W. Tyson Jr. Distinguished Professorship in the College of Arts and Sciences, the Educational Foundation, the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, the R.B. House Library Fund and the Kenan-Flagler Business School.

Charles “Chuck” Duckett is a partner with Battle and Associates of Winston-Salem. While at Carolina, Chuck was manager of the men’s basketball team for four years while Guthridge was assistant coach. The Ducketts have been generous Carolina supporters for years, with gifts to the School of Information and Library Science and the School of Education.

The professorship marks the second time the Burresses and Ducketts have paid tribute to Guthridge. They first honored him in 1993 with the Bill Guthridge Scholarship in Mathematics in the Arts and Sciences Foundation. Both couples wanted to honor Guthridge for his integrity and loyalty, his modest leadership style and his insistence on academics as his players’ top priority.

Bill Guthridge Distinguished Professor in Mathematics

2002-present:  Christopher Jones