Lee Rose Article

Legendary Charlotte men's basketball coach Lee Rose at the 1977 Final Four.

Lee Rose, the legendary Charlotte men's basketball coach who led the team to the Final Four in 1976-1977, passed away on Tuesday, April 5, at 85. Rose was at the helm during the most prosperous time in program history. 

Career accomplishments:

Rose brought the 49ers into an era of winning with an overall 72-18 record over his three years. Rose took the program to new heights by putting the 49ers on the map with appearances in the 1976 National Invitation Tournament (NIT) finals and the 1977 Final Four. 

Rose racked up a long list of accomplishments during his time with Charlotte. In his first season, the team went 24-6 with a run to the NIT title game, defeating San Francisco, Oregon and NC State. Charlotte came up short in the championship with a loss to the Kentucky Wildcats. 

He was named the 1977 Sporting News National Coach of the Year after the 49ers finished 28-5 while winning the inaugural Sun Belt Championship. En route to the Final Four, Charlotte defeated some of the nation's best, including No. 17 Central Michigan, No. 5 Syracuse and No. 1 Michigan. 

The 49ers followed the historic run in 1978 by posting a 20-7 record while going 9-1 in Sun Belt play to claim the regular-season title. Charlotte had a .800 winning percentage and averaged 24 wins over three seasons. Rose also coached Boston Celtic great Cedric Maxwell during his tenure. 

Hall of Famer:

Rose's election to the Charlotte 49ers Athletics Hall of Fame in 2020 was well deserved. He went in as a member of the inaugural class for his contributions to the program. With the induction of Rose, his name will live on as a pioneer of the Charlotte men's basketball team. 

At the time, Rose was deeply honored to be inducted and shared his thoughts on the honor. 

"I am deeply honored to be named to the Inaugural Class for the [49ers] Athletic Hall of Fame," said Rose. "The team was known as the 'Mean Green' and came from being an unknown to the national stage."

Legacy:

Rose coached in the college ranks for 27 years. He became an assistant coach in the NBA with multiple stops in San Antonio, New Jersey, Milwaukee and Charlotte with the Hornets and Bobcats. 

Rose leaves behind his wife Eleanor and two sons, Mike and Mark. He had four grandchildren, Lee, Kristi, James and Zan.

The Coach Lee Rose Foundation will continue his great legacy. The foundation has the mission of helping underserved kids through sports, with athletic coaching, training, facilities, equipment and academic scholarships.

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