CHAPELL HILL, NC ( Associated Press) — Lenny Rosenbluth, who led North Carolina to its first basketball NCAA title in 1957 with victories over Wilt Chamberlain and Kansas in the championship game, died Saturday. He was 89 years old.
The school announced Rosenbluth’s death but gave no reason. Rosenbluth and his wife, Diane, had moved to the Chapel Hill area a decade earlier, and he has been a regular at UNC’s home games ever since.
Born and raised in the Bronx, Rosenbluth joined coach Frank McGuire and the Tar Heels in 1955 and was an All-Atlantic Coast Conference honoree in each of his three seasons. His number 10 is one of only eight jerseys retired by UNC along with Phil Ford, Michael Jordan, Anton Jamieson, Tyler Hansbrough, Jack Cobb, George Glamack and James Worth.
He averaged 28.0 points per game in 1957 – still the school record – and beat Chamberlain for the Helms Foundation College Basketball Player of the Year award.
That ’57 Tar Heels team led 32–0, capping their run with Chamberlain’s triple-overtime win over the Jayhawks. Rosenbluth scored 20 points in the championship game but was out late in regulation.
An inspiration to the Jewish community, he has been inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and Museum in Israel.
Rosenbluth graduated in 1957, played briefly in the NBA, then became a high school teacher and basketball coach.