List of North Carolina Tar Heels men's basketball head coaches
The basketball team plays at the Division I level of the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). The Tar Heels originally did not play within any athletic conference, but joined the Southern Conference in 1921 when it was first established. After playing in the Southern Conference for 22 years, North Carolina left in 1953 to join the newly created ACC. The Tar Heels play their home games in the Dean E. Smith Center, named after the 15th head coach Dean Smith.
The team has had 18 head coaches in its history and has played two seasons without one. The program has played 2,947 games in 106 seasons from the 1910–11 to the 2015–16 season. During those seasons, three coaches have led the team to a NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship: Frank McGuire in 1957; Smith in 1982 and 1993; and Roy Williams in 2005, 2009, and 2017. Smith, in 1971, led North Carolina to its only National Invitation Tournament (NIT) championship. North Carolina also received a retroactive national championship for the 1923–24 team coached by Norman Shepard, which was given by the Helms Athletic Foundation. Eleven coaches have won the conference regular season, by having the best overall regular season record, with the Tar Heels: Norman Shepard, Monk McDonald, Harlan Sanborn, Bo Shepard, Bill Lange, Walter Skidmore, Ben Carnevale, McGuire, Smith, Matt Doherty, and Williams. Eleven coaches have won the conference tournament with the Tar Heels: Norman Shepard, McDonald, Sanborn, Bo Shepard, Lange, Skidmore, Carnevale, McGuire, Smith, Bill Guthridge, and Williams.
Smith had the longest tenure at North Carolina, coaching for 36 seasons, and is the all-time leader in games coached (1,133) and wins (879). Smith's 879 wins were the most of any NCAA men's Division I coach at the time of his retirement in 1997. Smith also won an Olympic Gold Medal in 1976 for coaching the United States while also working as the head coach of North Carolina, a feat that no other North Carolina coach has replicated.[A 1] Several coaches both played for and coached basketball at North Carolina. McDonald and Doherty played for and coached the men's varsity basketball team, and both played on teams that were awarded national championships, McDonald on the 1923–24 team and Doherty on the 1981–82 team.[A 2][A 3] Williams both played for and coached the North Carolina men's junior varsity team. Brothers Norman and Bo Shepard are the only two head coaches to be related to each other. Norman Shepard is the all-time leader in winning percentage, having never lost a game. Statistically, Cartmell has been the least successful coach of the Tar Heels, with a winning percentage of .510. No coach has had an overall losing record at North Carolina. Six coaches have received coaching awards while the head coach of North Carolina: Carnevale, McGuire, Smith, Gutheridge, Doherty, and Williams. Carnevale, McGuire, Smith, and Williams have all been inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. The current coach is Williams, who was hired in 2003.
- Statistics are correct as of the end of the 2016–17 college basketball season.
|1||Cartmell, NatNat Cartmell||1910–1914||49||25||24||.510||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|2||Doak, CharlesCharles Doak||1914–1916||34||18||16||.529||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|3||Peacock, HowellHowell Peacock||1916–1918||21||14||7||.666||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|—||No official coach||1918–1919||16||9||7||.562||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|4||Boye, FredFred Boye||1919–1923||73||49||24||.671||8||3||.727||1||1||—||—|
|5||Shepard, NormanNorman Shepard||1923–1924||26||26||0||1.000||7||0||1.000||1||1||1924♥1:||—|
|6||McDonald, MonkMonk McDonald||1924–1925||25||20||5||.800||8||0||1.000||1||1||—||—|
|7||Sanborn, HarlanHarlan Sanborn||1925–1926||25||20||5||.800||7||0||1.000||1||1||—||—|
|8||Ashmore, JamesJames Ashmore||1926–1931||117||80||37||.684||37||19||.660||0||0||—||—|
|9||Shepard, BoBo Shepard||1931–1935||85||69||16||.812||35||9||.795||1||1||—||—|
|10||Skidmore, WalterWalter Skidmore||1935–1939||90||65||25||.722||48||16||.750||1||1||—||—|
|11||Lange, BillBill Lange||1939–1944||126||85||41||.675||51||18||.739||2||1||—||—|
|12||Carnevale, BenBen Carnevale†||1944–1946||63||52||11||.825||24||4||.857||1||1||—|
|13||Scott, TomTom Scott||1946–1952||165||100||65||.606||64||36||.640||0||0||—||—|
|14||McGuire, FrankFrank McGuire†||1952–1961||222||164||58||.739||99||31||.762||5||1||1957♠1:|
|15||Smith, DeanDean Smith†||1961–1997||1133||879||254||.776||364||136||.728||17||13||1971‡
|16||Guthridge, BillBill Guthridge||1997–2000||108||80||28||.741||32||16||.667||0||1||—|
|17||Doherty, MattMatt Doherty||2000–2003||96||53||43||.552||23||25||.479||1||0||—|
|18||Williams, RoyRoy Williams†||2003–present||513||398||115||.776||169||75||.722||8||3||2005♠
- While Smith is the only coach to receive a gold medal for coaching, Nat Cartmell won four Olympic medals, including one gold, for track and field events in the 1904 and 1908 Olympics.
- McDonald also won the first Patterson medal, the most prestigious award presented only to student-athletes at the University of North Carolina, for his collegiate career in 1924.
- While Smith did not play on the North Carolina team in college, he did play college basketball for the University of Kansas. During his time on the varsity basketball team, Kansas won the national championship in 1952 against St. John's, which was coached by Frank McGuire at the time. Smith's National Championship as a player makes him the only North Carolina coach to both coach a team to the NCAA National Championship and to play on a NCAA National Championship team.
- A running total of the number of coaches of the Tar Heels. The seasons in which there was no head coach for the team are included in the table but they are not counted in the number of head coaches.
- The National Invitational Tournament began in 1938 with only 6 teams. In 1941 the tournament was expanded to include 8 teams, in 1949 the tournament was again expanded to 12 teams, then 14 teams in 1965, 16 teams in 1968, 24 teams in 1979, 32 teams in 1980, and 40 teams from 2002 through 2006. The tournament reverted to 32 teams for 2007.
- The NCAA tournament started in 1939 and the number of teams invited to participate has expanded a number of times over the years. Between 1939–1950 the tournament had only eight teams, and then between 1951–1974 the tournament varied between 16 teams and 25 teams. The tournament has continued to expand over the years until in 2005 there are now 65 teams that make it into the tournament.
- Ben Carnevale was also named College Coach of the Year in 1947 but during this time he was the head coach of Navy and not North Carolina.
- Frank McGuire was also named College Coach of the Year in 1952 when he was the head coach of St. John's and in 1970 when he was the head coach at South Carolina.
- Frank McGuire was also named ACC Coach of the Year in 1969 when he was the head coach of South Carolina.
- Roy Williams was also named College Coach of the Year in 1990 by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, in 1992 by the Associated Press, in 1997 by Naismith, Sporting News, and was given the 2003 John Wooden Legends of Coaching Award which all occurred when he was the head coach of Kansas.
- Roy Williams was also named Big 8 or Big 12 Conference Coach of the Year in 1990, 1992, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2002, and 2003, which all occurred when he was the head coach of Kansas.
- Powell, Adam (2005). University of North Carolina Basketball. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 0-7385-4150-8. Retrieved 2009-12-15.
- Rappoport, Ken (2002). Tales from the Tar Heel Locker Room. Sports Publishing LLC. ISBN 1-58261-489-X. Retrieved 2009-12-15.
- "2009–10 Basketball Carolina Tar Heels Media Guide" (PDF). UNC Athletic Communications. Retrieved 2009-12-15.
- "2009–10 Atlantic Coast Conference Men's Basketball Media Guide". Atlantic Coast Conference. 2008. pp. 82 and 115. Retrieved 2009-12-01.
- "NCAA Coaching Records" (PDF). NCAA. 2009. pp. 158–159 Stating Coach of the year awards. Retrieved 2009-12-01.
- "Southern Conference 2006–2007 Fan Guide" (PDF). Southern Conference. 2007. Retrieved 2009-12-15.
- "About the ACC". Atlantic Coast Conference. Archived from the original on 2007-02-10. Retrieved 2009-12-15.
- The Tar Heels went without a head coach during the 1921–22 and 1922–23 seasons because Fred Boye left after one year and they could not find a replacement in time. Bob Fetzer, who coached football and baseball for North Carolina, would often accompany the team on road games but since Fetzer did not know anything about basketball he would often sit in the stands or leave the game early. Rappoport 2002, pp. 12–14
- The Helms Foundation named its own national college basketball champion for each year from 1936 through 1982. The foundation also retroactively awarded championships from 1901 through 1935 giving the Tar Heels the national championship for the 1923–24 season. While the 1924 team went undefeated, the team did not play a single opponent from north of the Mason-Dixon Line. Nevertheless, the 1924 Tar Heels did beat the Kentucky Wildcats that season and won its conference tournament. Powell 2005, p. 16
- Smith's all-time win record would later be surpassed by Bob Knight. "Knight is all-time wins leader in Division I after Texas Tech tops New Mexico". USA Today. 2007-01-02. Retrieved 2009-12-11.
- "Dean E. Smith". Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 2009-08-31. Retrieved 2009-12-13.
- "Nate Cartmell". Database Olympics.com. Archived from the original on 2012-02-05. Retrieved 2009-12-14.
- Lancaster, Marc (2001). "Settling in: Doherty getting a feel for his new job, wardrobe". CNNSI.com. CNN Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2009-12-07.
- "Hansbrough, Ackley, Averbuch To Receive UNC's Patterson Medals". University of North Carolina. 2009-10-19. Archived from the original on 2009-12-09. Retrieved 2009-12-06.
- Mike Puma (2006-05-18). "The Dean of College Hoops". ESPN. Retrieved 2009-12-15.
- Everson, Darren (2009-11-08). "A Long Way From the J.V. Team: North Carolina Coach Roy Williams Explains His Unlikely Rise to College Basketball's Peak". Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company. Retrieved 2009-12-11.
- Powell 2005, p. 21
- "2009–10 Basketball Carolina Tar Heels Media Guide" (PDF). UNC Athletic Communications. p. 101. Retrieved 2009-12-15.
- "Goin' to the Chapel (Hill): Williams leaves Kansas to take job at alma mater UNC". Sports Illustrated. The Associated Press. 2003-04-14. Retrieved 2009-12-11.
- "NIT History". National Invitational Tournament. Archived from the original on May 10, 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-14.
- Free, Bill (1999-02-20). "This Overtime Lasts 25 Years :: The 1974 team left it all out on the floor". Maryland Athletics. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on 2008-09-12. Retrieved 2008-09-25.
- "Bernard L. "Ben" Carnevale". Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 2009-08-31. Retrieved 2009-12-13.
- "Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame Inductees". Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2009-12-13.
- "Frank J. McGuire". Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 2009-09-03. Retrieved 2009-12-13.
- "NCAA Coaching Records" (PDF). NCAA. 2009. pp. 158–159 Stating Coach of the year awards. Retrieved 2009-12-01.
- "2009–10 Atlantic Coast Conference Men's Basketball Media Guide". Atlantic Coast Conference. 2008. p. 82. Retrieved 2009-12-01.
- "Dean Smith (2007 Class)". Fédération Internationale de Basketball. 2007-06-18. Archived from the original on 2009-02-09. Retrieved 2009-12-14.
- "Roy Williams". Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 2009-09-09. Retrieved 2009-12-13.