Inducted – 2005
The man credited with uncovering, recruiting and signing possibly the greatest basketball player of all-time, William Wallace Guthridge of Parsons was an assistant coach for two of the most successful head coaches in college basketball history, Tex Winter and Dean Smith. Guthridge was born and raised in the southeast Kansas community of Parsons, was a three-sport star at Parsons High School and played basketball for the legendary Harold Johnson. Guthridge attended Kansas State where he played three seasons for head coach Tex Winter as the Wildcats won three conference championships. After two seasons as a high school coach, Guthridge worked as Winter’s assistant at Kansas State from 1962-67. Guthridge was then hired as an assistant coach at North Carolina and spent the next three decades working for Kansas native Dean Smith. He was an assistant coach on the 1976 U.S. Olympic team. One of the players he recruited in 1980 was a little-known guard from Wilmington, N.C., named Michael Jordan. Guthridge was named Smith’s successor in 1997 and was the Tar Heels’ head coach for three seasons, posting an 80-28 record and reaching the Final Four two times. He was just the second person in history to lead his team to a pair of Final Four berths in his first three seasons as a head coach. Guthridge was involved in more Final Fours than anyone in history – one as a player at K-State, on as an assistant at KSU; 10 as an assistant at North Carolina and two as the head coach at UNC. Born July 27, 1937 – Parsons, Kansas. Graduated Parsons High School, 1955; Kansas State University, 1960; MS – Kansas State University.