The family of Eric Montross (Laura, Sarah, Andrew and Megan) is announcing that he passed away on Sunday, December 17, surrounded by loved ones at his home in Chapel Hill. Eric was diagnosed with cancer in March 2023, and his family is grateful for the tremendous support and the truly overwhelming love expressed by so many people as he battled with his signature determination and grace.
They also thank the many members of the medical community—and particularly those at UNC Lineberger Cancer Center—who matched his fight with equal passion. To know Eric was to be his friend, and the family knows that the ripples from the generous, thoughtful way that he lived his life will continue in the lives of the many people he touched with his deep and sincere kindness.
The family asks for privacy during this difficult period.
Montross played for head coach Dean Smith and the Tar Heels from 1990-94, including his freshman and sophomore seasons as a teammate of current UNC head coach Hubert Davis. He was the starting center in 1993, when the Tar Heels won the NCAA championship.
He was named first-team All-ACC in 1993, was a member of the John Wooden All-America team as a senior and earned NCAA East Region and Final Four all-tournament honors in leading Carolina to the 1993 national championship.
A first-round draft pick by the Boston Celtics, Eric played nine seasons in the NBA. He was the analyst on the Tar Heel Sports Network for 18 seasons until he stepped away from the microphone this season. He also was senior major gifts director at the Rams Club.
Carolina Athletics Statement:
“Carolina Athletics, the Tar Heel basketball family and the entire University community are profoundly saddened and stunned by the loss of Eric Montross, one of our most beloved former student-athletes, at far too young an age. Eric was a great player and accomplished student, but the impacts he made on our community went way beyond the basketball court. He was a man of faith, a tremendous father, husband and son, and one of the most recognizable ambassadors of the University and Chapel Hill.
“He helped the Rams Club secure scholarships for student-athletes, and as color analyst for the Tar Heel Sports Network he brought perspective, heart and humor to UNC fans near and far. Eric also became an ardent supporter of the Lineberger Center while in college and remained a leader in the fight against cancer throughout his life.
“We extend our deepest condolences to Laura, his children and entire family, and his colleagues and friends. The number of people who loved Eric and were touched by him is immeasurable.”
UNC Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz Statement:
“I am deeply saddened by the loss of my good friend and Tar Heel legend Eric Montross. He was an incredible friend, a passionate leader and an inspiring advocate for our campus. His impact extended well beyond the court with his tireless support of the UNC Children’s Hospital and his annual Father’s Day basketball camp. We have lost a great Tar Heel, and Eric will be truly missed. Please keep Laura, Sarah, Andrew and Megan in your thoughts and prayers.”