NEW INFO: Wolfpack Legend Dies In I-40 Bus Crash

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Raleigh police say they don't know why the charter bus driven by Lorenzo Charles crashed earlier this week, killing the North Carolina State University basketball star, and they're looking for witnesses to help.

Police filed a report Wednesday about the wreck, which occurred Monday afternoon on Interstate 40. Police say the bus ran off the road for an unknown reason, traveled through a grass shoulder, across an on-ramp and into a wooded area. The report says the bus then struck several trees and went back across the road before stopping.

Police spokesman Jim Sughrue says officers remain interested in obtaining information from any witnesses.

Charles is remembered for his game-winning dunk in the 1983 NCAA championship game, in which the Wolfpack defeated Houston.



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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Former North Carolina State basketball star Lorenzo Charles, the muscular forward whose last-second dunk gave the underdog Wolfpack the 1983 national collegiate championship, was killed Monday when a bus he was driving crashed, a company official said Monday.

Elite Coach general manager Brad Jackson said Charles, 47, worked for the company and was driving one of its buses on Interstate 40.

Raleigh police spokesman Jim Sughrue said no passengers were aboard.

Charles secured his spot in N.C. State lore 28 years ago in the final moments of the Wolfpack's matchup with Houston in the national championship game.

He grabbed Dereck Whittenburg's 30-foot shot and dunked it at the buzzer to give N.C. State a 54-52 win and its second national title, sending coach Jim Valvano spilling onto the court, scrambling for someone to hug in what has become one of the lasting images of the NCAA tournament.

"It's still kind of amazing to me that ... people are still talking about it," Charles said in an excerpt from his comments about the championship game on his N.C. State Web page. "I remember when (it) first happened, I figured I would have my 15 minutes of fame and that would be it. Here we are and it is still a conversational piece. I don't really think that was the only great Final Four finish that has been played since then, but for some reason people just single out that game and talk about it. Maybe because it was such a David and Goliath thing."

N.C. State entered the NCAA tournament with a 17-10 record, having beaten Virginia to win the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament and an automatic berth into the national field. Charles would hit two free throws with 23 seconds left in the West Regional finals against the Cavaliers to give the Wolfpack a 63-62 victory and the spot in the Final Four.

The famous win against Houston is also memorable because of personable coach Jim Valvano's emotional burst onto the court afterward, running around almost in disbelief at his team's improbable run to the championship.

Charles finished his college career two years later with 1,535 total points - 15th on the school's scoring list - and his .575 shooting percentage in 1985 remains a school record for seniors. He played one season in the NBA, averaging 3.4 points in 36 games with the Atlanta Hawks in 1985-86, and played internationally and in the Continental Basketball Association until 1999.


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  • by Pack Man Location: Knightdale on Jul 1, 2011 at 07:46 AM
    I remember Lorenzo Charles getting that game winner as the Wolfpack won the 1983 championship. Lorenzo was a true class act of an individual. RIP Lorenzo Charles! You will be missed by the entire Wolfpack nation.
  • by Tommygunn Location: Oak City on Jun 28, 2011 at 04:07 PM
    Derrick Whittenburg’s words at the post game interview: “It was a great pass!!!” “That play was designed for Lorenzo Charles & I told him to be ready for it!” :)I can still visualize that dunk to this day. It was just an unbelievable moment for ACC sports. You will always been remembered Lorenzo Charles!
  • by Remember on Jun 28, 2011 at 10:43 AM
    I remember this game also! What an exciting time. I was 13 and watched the game w/my Dad. Loved to watch Jimmy V's excitement and to see him sink that shot! RIP
  • by Caton Wolfpacker Location: Craven County on Jun 28, 2011 at 09:26 AM
    A legend, how true. I remember the game like it was yesterday. Our family was gathered in the living room watching this game on the edge of our seats, as we had grown accustomed over that last couple of weeks. I had just told my mother that I felt bad for Lorennzo because he had not had that great of a night. My then future roommate at NCSU was at his home watching the game, but in another room in his house was using what we eighties folks know was a cassette recorder, taping the game over the Wolfpack Sports Network. Our announcer was Wally Ausley. We played the end, Wally's version, before every game in the 1984 season so much that I memorized what he said. It went like this: "Whittenburg, grab back, takes about a 35 footer, SLAM! STUFF BACK! STATE! LORENZO CHARLES! STATE! LORENZO CHARLES! THE CINDERELLA TEAM HAS DONE IT! THE GLASS SLIPPER FITS! AND THE WOLFPACK HAS WON THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP!! To this day and even as I write this, I still get excited when I step back in time to that moment of pure joy!! To the legend, RIP Lorenzo! As Coach V had encouraged us all, you never gave up!!
    • reply
      by 83 champs forever! on Jun 28, 2011 at 11:06 AM in reply to Caton Wolfpacker
      @ Caton Wolfpacker. Man that was great analysis, just beautiful. None of us will ever forget those 2 big hands making that dunk! I was a 13 year old kid , it is my favorite sports moment ever and it always will be. I know Jimmy V welcomed Lorenzo Charles to heaven with a big ol' pack hug!!
      • reply
        by 13 too! on Jun 28, 2011 at 01:03 PM in reply to 83 champs forever!
        Like you, I was a 13 year old in Raleigh at the time of the championship game. I remember falling asleep, and waking up to my parents yelling so loud I thought the house was on fire. It was the cardiac pack winning the national championship! Rest in Peace Lorenzo Charles!
  • by Pirateman on Jun 28, 2011 at 06:56 AM
    He was a very likeable guy. This is a sad day for all NC.
  • by UNC fan on Jun 28, 2011 at 06:38 AM
    I am very sorry to hear about this. Even though UNC and NCSU are rivals we are still one state and one conference. I will never forget his memorable shot against Houston that night, it was awesome. My condolences to the Wolfpack family.
  • by RIP Location: Greenville on Jun 28, 2011 at 06:32 AM
    It's nice to see all schools coming together to remember a great college player.... Lorenzo Charles.
  • by Anonymous on Jun 28, 2011 at 05:51 AM
    I remember watching this game with my dad, he was a die hard Carolina fan, and I pulled for anybody but Carolina. After the final shot he told me to get out of his house. It is a moment I will never forget, just like the last game we watched right before he died, DUKE beating UNC. I hope Coach V is calling some winning plays for his MVP up in heaven. RIP Lorenzo Charles
  • by Duke Fan Location: ENC on Jun 28, 2011 at 04:06 AM
    Jimmy V has his MVP with him now... I am sure they are sitting around talking about old times and reliving that very moment in 1983. RIP Charles!
  • by Tommygunn Location: Oak City on Jun 28, 2011 at 02:19 AM
    Being a die hard Tarheels fan all of my life, I can only say that I also became a Wolf Pack fan during their playoff run that year. I can still see that winning shot in my mind just like it was yesterday, along with Jimmy V's run onto the floor. It was truly one of the most exciting sports moments that I can remember for ACC sports. I think I was just excited as any wolf pack fan that night! Man, what an awesome moment that was! It's Amazing just to think about how many people that were touched or influenced by this man on that night. Thoughts & prayers to his family & all that have known him...
    • reply
      by anon on Jun 28, 2011 at 05:38 AM in reply to Tommygunn
      same here.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Jun 28, 2011 at 11:56 AM in reply to anon
        AND HERE
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