Love Beyond the Buzzer—Exploring Eric Montross's Family and Endearing Legacy

Jamie Lerner - Author

Dec. 19 2023, Updated 11:41 a.m. ET

The Gist:

  • NBA player Eric Montross, known for his UNC Chapel Hill legacy, passed away at 52, leaving a lasting impact on basketball and the community.

  • Survived by his wife, Laura, and two children, Andrew and Sarah, the Montross family demonstrated resilience and dedication throughout Eric's battle with cancer.

  • The family continues Eric's legacy through philanthropy, including initiatives like the Eric Montross Father’s Day Basketball Camp and contributions to the UNC Children’s Hospital. Andrew and Sarah, following their father's path, contribute to his enduring legacy at UNC.

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The NBA player, Eric Montross, left an incredible legacy behind when he passed away on Dec. 17, 2023, at just 52 years old. Many people today know him as a University of North Carolina Chapel Hill radio analyst for the Tar Heels during and after his career with the NBA.

Known for his tall stature, generosity, and passion for basketball, Eric was survived by his wife, Laura Montross, and their two kids. As the world mourns his loss to cancer, fans look to those who were close to him. So who is Eric’s wife and who are their kids?

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Eric Montross
Source: Getty Images

Eric Montross was married to his wife, Laura Montross, when he passed away.

Laura and Eric’s love story is definitely one for the ages. She stood by his side throughout his cancer diagnosis and journey, and despite the hardships that a battle with cancer can bring, she stayed strong, continuing their foundations and projects throughout. In Debra Zinn’s interior design blog, we learned that Laura and Eric actually met at UNC, which they graduated from in 1993.

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“I can honestly say she is the most authentic and genuine person I have ever met,” Debra wrote of Laura. “She is calm, full of common sense, and thoughtful … She is the first person I call when I have wonderful news or need a good cry. She is, as my dad used to say, ‘good people.’

"She does so much for her community, and very few people know about all the excellent work she does because she is so private and does it from her heart with no expectations. She is a native Southern girl with a soft Southern accent born in Lexington, North Carolina.”

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Debra explained that Laura moved all over with Eric due to his job—Boston, Dallas, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Detroit, Toronto, and of course, North Carolina. Together, Laura and Eric founded the Eric Montross Father’s Day Basketball Camp, which raises money for the UNC Children’s Hospital, in memory of Jason Clark.

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Like her husband, Laura advocates for and gives to as many charitable organizations as possible. She’s a founding co-chair of the Arts in Action program at Frank Porter Graham Elementary and is a co-founder of Raise a Racquet, which is an annual tennis fundraiser for the UNC Children’s Hospital. She’s also on the Board of Visitors at the Children’s Hospital and the Board of Directors at Be Loud! Sophie.

But Laura always puts her kids, Andrew and Sarah, first, such as in writing an adorable short “book” for them on Valentine’s Day.

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Eric and Laura Montross have two kids, Andrew and Sarah Montross.

While Eric’s legacy at UNC is strong, his kids have followed in his footsteps. Andrew Montross is the elder son, and like his father, he attended UNC and even played basketball and lacrosse for them. He’s now a client success specialist at Summit Group, LLC, and while in his UNC undergrad program, he wrote for the Daily Tar Heel. On Oct. 8, 2023, he proposed to his longtime girlfriend, Megan Bechtel, who’s already treated as part of the Montross family.

Sarah Montross also followed in her older brother’s footsteps, attending UNC and graduating in Dec. 2023. She played club beach volleyball, volunteered with the English teaching program, and has been interning at El Futuro to provide mental health support for Latinx clients. Andrew and Sarah seem to be close siblings who are proud of their father’s legacy and eager to carry it forward.

Our condolences go out to Eric’s friends, family, and fans.

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