Eric Montross Dies at 52: A Legacy of Resilience, Kindness, and Sporting Greatness


Eric Montross, an esteemed figure in the basketball world, passed away on December 17th, leaving a legacy of courage, grace, and profound impact. Surrounded by his loved ones at his Chapel Hill residence, Eric concluded his brave battle against cancer, a fight he faced with his characteristic determination and grace. His family expresses immense gratitude for the overwhelming outpouring of love and support throughout his challenging journey.

In March, Eric received the daunting diagnosis of cancer, a journey he navigated with unwavering strength. The Montross family acknowledges the invaluable support from countless individuals and the medical fraternity, especially the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, who stood beside him with unwavering dedication. Known for his exceptional kindness, Eric’s life touched many, and his legacy of generosity will endure in the hearts of all those he influenced.

Eric Montross, Beloved Basketball Icon:

Eric Montross left an indelible mark as a Tar Heel basketball player from 1990 to 1994. During his first and second years, he commenced his journey alongside Coach Dean Smith, sharing the court with the current Carolina head coach, Hubert Davis. Notably, Eric served as the starting center during the Tar Heels’ triumphant NCAA championship win in 1993, earning accolades such as first-team All-ACC, John Wooden All-America team membership, and recognition in the NCAA East Region and Final Four all-tournament teams.

Transitioning to the NBA, Eric Montross enjoyed a distinguished nine-season career, notably as a first-round draft pick for the Boston Celtics. Beyond the courts, Eric contributed significantly to the Tar Heel Sports Network for 18 seasons as an analyst, offering his insights and passion for the game. His role as the senior significant gifts director at the Rams Club reflected his commitment to securing scholarships for student-athletes.

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The loss of Eric Montross deeply saddens the Carolina Athletics community and the wider University fraternity. Eric was a beacon of positivity and goodwill, recognized not only for his sporting prowess but also for his unwavering faith, exemplary fatherhood, and dedication to philanthropy. His infectious spirit and love for Chapel Hill made him a cherished ambassador for the University.

Through his association with the Lineberger Center since college, Eric Montross solidified his commitment to fighting cancer, a cause he championed throughout his life. His impact resonated far beyond the basketball court, touching the lives of countless individuals.

Carolina Athletics mourns the loss of Eric Montross, acknowledging his multifaceted contributions and the profound connections he fostered within the community. His legacy as an athlete, philanthropist, and compassionate soul remains immeasurable. The University extends heartfelt condolences to Laura, his children, family members, colleagues, and friends who shared in Eric’s warmth and generosity.

In commemorating Eric Montross, we celebrate a life of purpose, resilience, and an unwavering commitment to making a difference. His memory will forever endure in the hearts of those fortunate enough to be touched by his enduring kindness and spirit.


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