University of North Carolina hired Carlisle-native Jeff Lebo to join its Men’s Basketball program as an assistant coach. Lebo joins his son who currently plays for UNC; Creighton is a rising sophomore.
The 28-year college coaching veteran played his college basketball for the Tar Heels. Since then, he’s spent 20 years as a head coach at Auburn (six seasons), Chattanooga (two seasons), ECU (eight seasons) and Tennessee Tech (four seasons). Lebo has racked up 327 career wins as a head coach.
“Walking through that tunnel as a player I always felt the eyes of the former players on me every day. There is that need to carry on the torch that was left for me and set a standard for those players who come after us,” Lebo said. “Not just as a basketball player, but you wear that University of North Carolina on your jersey everywhere you go, and it will be the greatest thing not just now but for the rest of their lives.”
He was a captain for UNC in 1989, when the Tar Heels won the ACC Tournament title against Duke. New UNC Head Coach Hubert Davis was a freshman on that ’89 team.
“It was exciting for me to hear from Hubert when he got the job,” Lebo said. “I’m so happy for him and happy for Carolina Basketball, because other than maybe Coach Williams, we got a guy who loves Carolina as much as anyone in the whole world and is someone who is ready to take us to the next level.”
In his career, the Carlisle product scored 1,567 points, had 580 assists, shot 42.8 percent from three-point range and 83.9 percent from the free throw line. Lebo is currently second in UNC history (Davis is first) in career three-point percentage, fifth in career free throw percentage and seventh in three-point field goals (211) and 10th in assists.
“I played with Hubert, I’ve been coaching a long time, and the chance to come back to Chapel Hill and coach with Hubert, and have my son, Creighton, playing here as a walk-on, is a dream come true for me,” Lebo said.
The 54-year old joins three other Tar Heel alumni on the newly overhauled staff. Legendary coach Roy Williams announced his retirement during the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, prompting the school to hire Davis as UNC’s new head coach. Williams coached the Tar Heels from 2003-21. Dean Smith was the head coach when Lebo played at UNC.
“I love the interaction with the players and the competitiveness that coaching college basketball brings each day, whether it’s playing, coaching, winning and also recruiting,” Lebo adds. “College basketball is undergoing massive changes, but one thing I can bring to Hubert’s staff is I have been away from UNC for a while, and I can bring a different perspective on things I experienced in 20 years as a head coach.”
Lebo and his wife, Melissa, also have two daughters, Addison and Mills.