Photo by Briana Brough
Pete Brennan at the Chapel Hill Community Center on South Estes Drive in 2010.
We are sad to report that Pete Brennan died today of cancer at the age of 75. Our thoughts are with his friends and family members.
“I lost a very good friend,” Tar Heel legend Lennie Rosenbluth said this afternoon. “Pete and I were more than teammates. All the members of our ’57 team were more like brothers. I went to visit Pete in the hospital his last week and I told him, ‘Pete, you’re not going to be forgotten.’”
Brennan is No. 3 all-time in Carolina history in double-doubles, behind only Billy Cunningham and Doug Moe.
“Nowhere on that list is Tyler Hansbrough, Michael Jordan, Perkins, Worthy, Jamison. That alone is impressive,” said Rosenbluth. “He was a great ball player for Carolina. People forget, and Pete shouldn’t be forgotten for the things he did.”
We were lucky enough to spend some time with the Tar Heel legend a couple of years ago – here’s the story we ran in our May/June 2010 issue.
That Championship Season
Pete was a standout small forward on Carolina's perfect 1956-57 national championship team with a 14.7-point scoring average and 10.4 rebound average.
On UNC's 2009-2010 Season
"Every team has these years; the level of competition is so fierce. When I was playing there were 50 good teams, today there are 250 good teams. It's exciting."
Life After UNC
First-round draft pick of the New York Knicks, where he played for two seasons and made $11,000 per year, including bonuses. Following a six-year stint in the Marines, Brennan worked in textiles for 35 years before getting into residential real estate.
Single; has four grown children and a teenage daughter who lives in upstate New York.
On Being Pete Brennan
"If you're in Chapel Hill, and you were part of the basketball program, you just hear nice things. In Durham, I don't hear nice things."
"When you win something like that at a young age, it bonds you for the rest of your life."
What the Hall of Fame Says
"One of the major heroes of the successive triple-overtime victories in the '57 NCAA Final Four." (www.ncshof.org)
Returned to Chapel Hill in February as a broker at Morris Commercial. "I love Chapel Hill. This is where I'll spend the rest of my life," he says. CHM