The 2012-13 season will be Eddie Biedenbach's 17th as head coach of the UNC Asheville men's basketball program. He is the longest-tenured coach in Big South Conference history and became the league's all-time winningest coach in both conference and overall games three years ago. Biedenbach has been named Big South Coach of the Year three different times and four times has led the Bulldog program to Big South regular-season titles.
The former N.C. State standout guided Asheville to a 24-10 record last year and 16-2 mark in Big South Conference play. The 16 wins tied a Big South record and the 24 victories established a new school record. In addition, he passed Bob Hartman as the program's all-time winningest coach when the Bulldogs defeated Radford on Jan. 2. Biedenbach has guided the Asheville program to 240 wins during his tenure. The Bulldogs advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year and nearly pulled one off the biggest upsets in tournament history when 16th-seeded Asheville led top-seeded Syracuse for a majority of the game before falling, 72-65.
The Bulldogs have finished in the top four in the final league standings 12 times under Eddie's leadership. Asheville has gone to the semifinals of the league tourney for six
The 2010-11 season was a special one for Asheville under Biedenbach. The Bulldogs finished with an overall record of 20-14 and claimed their second Big South Conference championship during his tenure. Asheville finished third in Big South Conference play with an 11-7 league mark and then won the league championship with three decisive victories, including a 60-47 upset victory of top-seeded Coastal Carolina on the Chanticleers home court.
Asheville made its second trip to the NCAA Tournament a memorable one. The Bulldogs knocked off Arkansas-Little Rock in the tournament's first round in overtime, 81-77.
Other highlights of the 2010-11 season included an opening night victory at Auburn, a win over mountain rival Western Carolina and coaching three players (John Williams, Matt Dickey and J.P. Primm) who scored their 1,000th career point during the season.
The 2009-10 season was another solid coaching job from the veteran leader. Asheville struggled in the first part and had a 3-12 record at the halfway point of the year. The Bulldogs rallied to go 12-4 in the second half of the season and finish in fourth place in the league standings for the second straight year. Asheville tied a school record for leagues wins with 11 and advanced to the semifinals of the league tournament for the fourth consecutive season.
In the 2008-09 season, Biedenbach's young team fooled everyone with its play. With four starters gone from the previous year plus the fact that 2008 Defensive Player of the Year Kenny George missed the season, the Bulldogs were a preseason pick to finish in ninth place in the league. Asheville proved the experts wrong in a big way. The Bulldogs had a 15-16 overall record and earned a fourth-place finish in league play with a 10-8 BSC mark. The Bulldogs advanced to the semifinals of the conference tournament for the third consecutive year before losing a close game to eventual champion Radford on its home floor. Asheville accomplished this with only one senior on its roster and four freshmen playing significant minutes throughout the year.
The 2007-08 season was a truly historic one for his program. Biedenbach guided Asheville to a then school-record 23 wins as the Bulldogs finished with a 23-10 overall record. He led his squad to a share of the Big South Conference regular-season title and top seed in the league tournament. The Bulldogs became the first school in league history to be selected to the National Invitation Tournament. In addition, Asheville was ranked in the College Insider Mid-Major poll for the first time in school history, rising to as high as 12th in early February. The Bulldogs also received a vote in the AP Top 25 for the first time ever. Biedenbach directed Asheville to the Big South title game for the fourth time in his career. In addition, the Bulldogs upset FBS school South Carolina, 61-58 and posted impressive non-conference wins over Buffalo and Western Carolina.
The 2006-07 season saw Biedenbach do another superb job making the Bulldogs a better team down the stretch. After struggling with injuries in the first part of the year, Asheville won its final three games of the regular season to move into fifth place in the final league standings. The Bulldogs then upset fourth-seeded Coastal Carolina on the Chanticleers' home court and advanced to the semifinals of the Big South Conference Tournament.
In the 2002-03 season, Biedenbach guided the Bulldogs to a Big South Conference championship. He did so despite playing the toughest non-conference schedule in school history and with a roster of five freshmen and two sophomores. Asheville recovered from a fifth-place finish in the Big South to pull out two overtime wins in the league tournament and then posted an 85-71 victory over Radford in the Big South title game. The program became the first in Big South history to record a NCAA basketball tournament victory when the Bulldogs outlasted Texas Southern 92-84 in overtime in the opening round game. Asheville's run would finally end against top-seeded Texas in the first round of the regional, 82-61 but not before the Bulldogs had made a gallant effort against the Final Four bound Longhorns.
In the 2001-02 season, the Bulldogs finished with a 13-15 overall record but tied for the Big South regular-season championship with a 10-4 mark. Biedenbach was rewarded for his work by being named as the league's coach of the year for the second time. Asheville recovered from a 1-10 start to go 12-5 the rest of the season.
The Bulldogs enjoyed another successful year under Biedenbach during the 2000-01 season. A young Asheville team finished with a 15-13 overall record and captured third place in the Big South with a 9-5 league mark. The Dogs earned impressive non-conference victories over mountain rivals Appalachian State and Western Carolina and upset Southern Conference regular season champ East Tennessee State on the road.
In the 1999-00 season, Biedenbach again helped Asheville overcome a tough start and a tough non-conference schedule. A young Bulldog team with seven newcomers started 0-9 and 1-11 facing a schedule that included the likes of Connecticut, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina State, Saint Louis, Missouri and Virginia Tech. However, Biedenbach would not let his young squad get down, and the Bulldogs kept working to get better. Asheville finished with a 7-7 mark in league play, good for a third-place tie. The Dogs earned some special wins throughout the season, including a 64-63 upset of defending champ Winthrop and an amazing victory over Coastal Carolina late in the season. Asheville trailed by 26 points before rallying for the victory. The comeback was the sixth-biggest in NCAA Division I history at the time. Biedenbach's charges were ready come tournament time as they knocked off fifth-seeded Liberty in the first round and then upset top-seed Radford 78-71 in the semifinals. The win advanced the Dogs to the championship game for the second time in three years. Asheville finished with an 11-19 record but went 10-8 over the last half of the season with four freshmen each playing more than 20 minutes per game.
In the 1998-99 season, Asheville finished with a deceiving 11-18 overall record. The Bulldogs faced another difficult non-conference schedule with road games at Purdue, St. John's, Virginia Tech, Auburn, Clemson, Michigan State and Texas Christian. All of those teams participated in postseason play with the exception of Va. Tech. Four made it to the "Sweet 16", while Auburn and Michigan State were number one seeds during that season's NCAA Tournament. After beginning the year 1-11, Asheville rallied with a 10-7 record in the second half of the season and advanced to the semifinals of the Big South Conference Tournament for the fourth straight season.
The 1997-98 season showed Asheville was able to handle the role of favorite as it claimed the program's first ever outright regular-season crown. The Bulldogs finished the regular season with a Division I school-best 19-9 record and another school-record 11-1 in league play. The Dogs had the fifth-longest winning streak in the nation in January at nine games. Asheville also recorded its first unbeaten season at home in 12 years with a 12-0 mark.
The 1996-97 season, Biedenbach's first at Asheville, saw the Bulldogs finish with an amazing 18-10 overall record, considering their schedule. The Bulldogs played nine of their first 10 games on the road and 17 games away from Asheville during the season. Biedenbach's first team proved to be giant killers. The Bulldogs earned road wins over SEC champion South Carolina and Big West power New Mexico State. In addition, Asheville knocked off Southern Conference juggernaut Marshall at home. During the middle of the season, the Bulldogs produced a school-record 11-game winning streak, the third longest in the country at the time. Not bad for a team picked to finish sixth or seventh place in preseason polls and magazines.
Biedenbach became UNC Asheville's fifth head coach in May 1996 when he replaced Randy Wiel.
He arrived in Asheville after serving as an assistant to Les Robinson at N.C. State for three years. While at N.C. State, the Wolfpack win total improved every year, and his coaching strongly influenced the development of center Todd Fuller. Fuller was a first-team All-ACC performer in 1996 and a first-round NBA draft pick by the Golden State Warriors.
While playing for N.C. State during the mid-60s, Biedenbach was a three-year starter for legendary coaches Everett Case, Press Maravich and Norm Sloan, earning All-ACC honors twice. He helped lead the Wolfpack to three ACC Championship game appearances and one league title. After his junior year, Biedenbach was drafted by the St. Louis Hawks of the NBA. He came back for his senior year and despite a painful back injury, led the Wolfpack to the ACC Championship game and was named N.C. State's Most Valuable Player. Eddie was drafted by three different teams in two sports after his senior year - the Los Angeles Lakers (NBA), the New Jersey Nets (ABA) and the Dallas Cowboys (NFL).
In 2003, he was voted as the N.C. State Player of the Decade for the 1960s.
Following his college career, Biedenbach played one season in the NBA for the Lakers and the Phoenix Suns.
He began a nine-year coaching career at N.C. State as an assistant under Sloan. Biedenbach recruited such standouts as David Thompson, Tommy Burleson and Monte Towe, who helped make those Wolfpack teams among the greatest ever to play in the Atlantic Coast Conference. N.C. State won the 1974 national championship and three ACC titles while Biedenbach worked there. Thompson was the national player of the year in 1974 and 1975 and ACC Player of the Year three times. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in the spring of 1996, with Biedenbach in attendance. Biedenbach also recruited Wolfpack greats Derrick Whittenburg, Thurl Bailey and Sidney Lowe, who helped N.C. State win another national title in 1983.
His first head coaching job was at Davidson College for three seasons (1978-81) and he helped turn the Wildcat program around. In the 1980-81 season, Biedenbach guided Davidson to a first-place finish in the Southern Conference, the program's best performance in 10 years. While Biedenbach was rebuilding the Wildcats' program one of his first hires was a young coach fresh out of college - Rick Barnes. The current head man at the University of Texas and former ACC Coach of the Year at Clemson speaks very highly of Biedenbach.
"I can't imagine a better person at UNC Asheville than Eddie Biedenbach. He has the experience of being a great player in the ACC, the experiences of being an assistant coach who helped build a national championship team at N.C. State plus the experience of being a head coach," Barnes stated. "I will always be indebted to Eddie Biedenbach for giving me my first shot in the coaching profession."
Also on Biedenbach's staff at Davidson during his tenure were current Wake Forest head coach Jeff Bzdelik and Davidson head coach Bob McKillop.
From Davidson, Biedenbach moved to Georgia as an assistant coach on Hugh Durham's staff for eight years. His first season at Georgia (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.
A native of Pittsburgh, Biedenbach was a two-sport standout at Edgewood High School. He lettered in basketball for three seasons, helping lead his school to two league championships, and was an all-state performer. Biedenbach lettered in football for two seasons and played quarterback and linebacker. In the fall of 1998, Eddie was inducted into the East Boros, (Pa.) Hall of Fame.
Eddie is a member of the USA Today Top 25 voting panel. He is an active member of the National Basketball Coaches Association and is a member of that organization's congress.
Biedenbach is a major contributor to the Asheville Rotary Club.He and his wife Barbara, an N.C. State graduate and former Wolfpack cheerleader, have two daughters, Tracy and Amy, plus six grandchildren.