High Point University's former head coach Jerry Steele, who had deep ties to Triad basketball, has died.

Steele was a co-captain of Wake Forest's 1961 ACC championship team under the Deacon's legendary coach Bones McKinney.

After college Steele took over a struggling Guilford College program. His 1969-70 team won 29 consecutive games and finished fourth in the country in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.   

He briefly led the American Basketball Association's Carolina Cougars team before taking over High Point in 1972. He'd spend 31 years as head coach, during which the Panthers made the move from the NAIA to Division 1 and the Big South Conference.

Steele, a native of Elkin, is in the sports halls of fame of Wake Forest, Guilford, and High Point University.

He's High Point's winningest coach. One of Steele's former players at High Point is another well-known coach, Tubby Smith. Smith won an NCAA championship as head coach of the University of Kentucky in 1998 and is the current head coach at High Point.

Jerry Steele died Sunday. He was 82.

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