Eddie Biedenbach, the winningest coach in UNC Asheville and Big South Conference history, brings a wealth of experience to Buzz Peterson’s staff after guiding UNCA to 256 victories and three NCAA Tournament appearances over 17 seasons.
“We’re very pleased that Eddie and Barbara will be part of the UNCW family,” said Peterson. “I’ve known Eddie for a long time and have always had tremendous respect for the job he’s done through the years. He’s an outstanding x’s and o’s coach and has a lot of personal integrity.
“I was looking for someone with head coaching experience and Eddie’s track record speaks for itself. He’s taken UNCA to the NCAA Tournament and established a very successful program there. Eddie will bring a wealth of knowledge to our program.”
Biedenbach went 29-51 in three seasons as the head coach at Davidson and finished 256-258 in 17 seasons at UNCA for a career mark of 285-309. In his 20 years as a head coach, Biedenbach's players posted a sparkling graduation rate of 98 percent.
He began his career as an assistant coach at his alma mater, N.C. State, before accepting the head coaching post and working three seasons at Davidson from 1978-81. He then served as an aide at Georgia for eight years and returned to the Wolfpack staff in 1993-94.
After a three-year stay in Raleigh, Biedenbach got the call from UNCA and the rest is history. He made the Bulldogs perennial contenders in the Big South and garnered the national spotlight with a trio of NCAA berths over the last decade.
Biedenbach guided UNCA to NCAA Tournament appearances in 2003, 2011 and 2012, establishing one of the Big South’s most successful programs over the last 17 seasons. He piloted the Bulldogs to BSC regular season titles in 1997, 1998, 2008 and 2002, and coached UNCA to top four finishes in the league 13 times in 17 seasons.
Overall, Biedenbach, 67, ranks as the BSC’s all-time winningest coach for conference wins (156) and tournament victories (20).
The three-time BSC Coach-of-the-Year provided several memorable moments for UNCA fans when he was hired in May of 1996. Biedenbach immediately made an impact with the Bulldog program as UNCA won the 1997 and 1998 Big South regular season championships, the program’s first BSC regular-season titles.
The Bulldogs captured the 2002 regular season championship before winning the tournament title in 2003 and advancing to the NCAA Tournament for the first time. UNCA made a successful NCAA Tournament debut by knocking off Texas Southern in an opening-round game in Dayton, Ohio. The 92-84 win was the first NCAA Tournament victory for a team from the Big South Conference.
In 2008, UNCA won the Big South Conference regular season crown and advanced to the league’s championship game before falling to Winthrop. The Bulldogs were invited to participate in the Postseason NIT, becoming the first Big South team to play in the event.
UNCA won back-to-back Big South Tournaments in 2011 and 2012. The Bulldogs claimed the 2011 title as the No. 3 seed in the tournament, upsetting Coastal Carolina on the Chanticleers’ home-court. The Bulldogs advanced to the NCAA’s “First Four,” where they slipped past Arkansas-Little-Rock in the NCAA opener.
In 2012, the Bulldogs won the regular-season title and tournament championship for the first time in school history. UNCA set a school-record for wins (24) and league victories (16). Biedenbach’s club advanced to the NCAA Tournament as a No. 16-seed and nearly upset top-seeded Syracuse before falling, 72-65 in Pittsburgh.
Biedenbach served as an assistant coach on Hugh Durham's staff at Georgia for eight years. His first season in Athens (1981-82) saw the Bulldogs reach the SEC championship game for the first time and advance to the NIT. The following year, Georgia reached the Final Four for the first time, upsetting defending national champion North Carolina in the process. The Bulldogs went to postseason play five more times while Biedenbach was on the Georgia staff.
Biedenbach’s first head coaching job was at Davidson. In 1980-81, he guided the Wildcats to a first-place finish in the Southern Conference, the program's best performance in 10 years. Three current head coaches – Rick Barnes (Texas), Jeff Bzdelik (Wake Forest) and Bob McKillop (Davidson) - were on Biedenbach’s staff during his tenure at Davidson.
Biedenbach spent nine years alongside N.C. State coaching legend Norm Sloan, recruiting such standouts as David Thompson, Tommy Burleson and Monte Towe, who making those Wolfpack teams among the greatest ever to play in the Atlantic Coast Conference. N.C. State won three ACC titles and the 1974 NCAA Championship during Biedenbach’s time on the staff.
Thompson was the National Player-of-the-Year in 1974 and 1975 and ACC Player-of-the-Year three times. Thompson was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in the spring of 1996 and Biedenbach was there. Biedenbach also recruited Wolfpack greats Derrick Whittenburg, Thurl Bailey and Sidney Lowe, who helped N.C. State win another national title in 1983
As a player, Biedenbach starred at N.C. State in the mid-60s and was a three-year starter for luminaries Everett Case, Press Maravich and Sloan, collecting First-Team All-ACC honors twice. Dubbed "The Pittsburgh Pickpocket" for his defensive prowess, he led the Wolfpack to the ACC Championship game following his senior year and was named N.C. State's Most Valuable Player. In 2003, he was voted as the N.C. State Player of the Decade for the 1960s.
Biedenbach was selected by the St. Louis Hawks in the ninth round of the 1967 NBA Draft following his junior year and the L.A. Lakers in the fourth round of the 1968 NBA Draft after his senior season. Biedenbach was drafted by three different teams in two sports after his senior year – the Lakers (NBA), New Jersey Nets (ABA) and Dallas Cowboys (NFL). He played for the Phoenix Suns briefly before embarking on his collegiate coaching career.
Biedenbach was a two-sport standout at Edgewood High School in Pittsburgh and graduated in 1963. He lettered in basketball for three seasons and led his school to two league championships as an all-state performer. Biedenbach lettered in football two seasons and played quarterback and linebacker. In the fall of 1998, Eddie was inducted into the East Boros, (Pa.) Hall of Fame.
Biedenbach and Peterson both have two commonalities. They each have Asheville ties – Biedenbach as a collegiate coach and Peterson as a prep standout – and each has an NCAA championship ring. Peterson played on North Carolina’s 1982 championship club and Biedenbach served as an assistant coach for N.C. State’s 1974 titlist.
Biedenbach and his wife Barbara, an N.C. State graduate and former Wolfpack cheerleader, have two daughters, Tracy and Amy, plus six grandchildren.