Chapel Hill, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - Former North Carolina men's basketball coach Bill Guthridge died Tuesday night at the age of 77.

The university confirmed his death on Wednesday.

Guthridge served 30 years as an assistant to the legendary Dean Smith and took over when Smith retired in 1997. He coached the program for three seasons before retiring in 2000.

"Bill Guthridge was a gentlemen coach, but a fierce competitor, and an incredibly loyal member of Dean Smith's staff for three decades," UNC athletic director Bubba Cunningham said in a statement.

"When it was his turn as head coach, he immediately won an ACC championship and took two teams to the Final Four (1998 and 2000). I learned very quickly when I came to Chapel Hill how beloved and respected he was by people all across this community. His loss is deeply felt by our university and the basketball world. Our condolences go out to his family and friends."

Guthridge was the consensus National Coach of the Year in 1998 after leading the Tar Heels to a 34-4 record. North Carolina lost to Utah in the Final Four.

The Tar Heels were upset by Weber State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament the following year, but returned to the Final Four in Guthridge's final season before losing to Florida.

Guthridge compiled an 80-28 record after replacing Smith and coached the likes of Vince Carter and Antawn Jamison.