Lee Rose, former Charlotte basketball coach, dies at 85

Published 11:41 pm Tuesday, April 5, 2022

By Steve Reed

AP Sports Writer

CHARLOTTE — Lee Rose, who led Purdue and Charlotte to the men’s Final Four, has died. He was 85.

UNC Charlotte said Rose died Tuesday in Charlotte. The school did not provide a cause of death.

Rose led the 49ers to the 1976 NIT championship game and to the school’s only Final Four in 1977. He went 72-18 in three years at Charlotte before taking over at Purdue. He spent just two seasons with the Boilermakers, going 50-18 and going to the Final Four in 1979.

After that, he spent the next six years at South Florida amassing a 106-69 record, although the Bulls never made the NCAA Tournament.

Rose moved from a 27-year collegiate coaching into the NBA as an assistant coach with San Antonio, New Jersey, Milwaukee and the Charlotte Hornets and Bobcats.

Through it all, Rose remained a fan of the Charlotte 49ers program, regularly attending home basketball games at Halton Arena after retiring. He was elected to the Charlotte 49ers Athletics Hall of Fame in 2020 as a member of its inaugural class. “I am deeply honored to be named to the Inaugural Class for the (49ers) Athletic Hall of Fame,” Rose said at the time. “The team was known as the ‘Mean Green’ and came from being an unknown to the national stage.”

He is survived by his wife, Eleanor, their sons Mike and Mark and four grandchildren.