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North Carolina

Long-time UNC driver 'Super Dave' passes

Posted October 10, 2011

— On Friday, the long-time bus driver for the UNC basketball team, David Harder, passed away at the age of 64.

Known to the team as Super Dave, Harder drove the Tar Heels basketball team for 27 years and was rewarded with a national championship ring after the 2005 season.

"I show it to people all the time," Harder told WRAL-TV's Debra Morgan in a 2009 interview. "If somebody says something about Carolina, I'll stick it up in their face and show it to them. Here's what I think of Carolina"

Watch: Debra Morgan profiles David Harder during 2009 Final Four in Detroit

Harder sat about 24 rows up at Carolina games and was even known to get on the floor and practice with the team. Harder became a father figure and friend to all the players over the years, and singled out Danny Green as one of the players he best bonded with.

"This is a shock for all of us and truly a sad day," UNC head basketball coach Roy Williams said. "Dave Harder was a part of the North Carolina basketball family and will always be thought of in that way. He was extremely dependable, trustworthy, and fantastic at what he did. We will truly miss him, but we will remember him every time the Carolina basketball team steps on that bus."

Harder picked the team up from and drove them to the airport on long trips and made the drive himself on the shorter ones, even checking the team into the hotel.

"I figure that's a little bit less that the coaches have to worry about," Harder said. "The players all know me so they don't worry about who they are riding with."

Harder's passing comes one week to the day before UNC is set to hold their season kick off event "Late Night with Roy."

Asked just two years ago how long he would continue to drive the team, Harder responded, "As long as I'm healthy and can do it safely, I'll stay there."

Harder drove for Coach America for 36 years after previously serving in the U.S. Army.

"He was our senior most full time driver and he will sorely be missed," said Thomas Slaughter, Coach America District Manager. "There's not a single driver that can just step into his shoes. The rapport that he built up and the relationships he made were unmatchable."

He is survived by his wife, two sons, five grandchildren and a great grandchild. Funeral services will be Tuesday afternoon.

25 Comments

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  • starbutterfly10252 Oct 12, 11:50 a.m.

    My Father, Fransco Garland was a co-worker of Dave's at Southern Coach/Coach USA. I grew up with Dave and heard all of their stories of road travels. He was a great man and he loved Carolina with all of his heart. He is dearly missed by all of his friends and family. Thank you all for your condolences.
    Sincerely
    Crystal Garland Weaver, AKA The girl who cried Disney World

  • karenlee84 Oct 11, 7:49 p.m.

    I'll miss you Dave! Working with you was always an inspiration and a delight. Thanks for being such a great friend. Our company will never be the same. Godspeed always!

  • lmartin152 Oct 10, 7:26 p.m.

    Sorry to hear of this. Thoughts and prayers to his family and friends, and to the entire UNC basketball program. Sounds like a wonderful man, with many great stories to share. He'll surely be missed by those that knew and loved him.

  • davidvanwagener Oct 10, 5:26 p.m.

    "Harder drove for Coach America for 36 years after previously serving in the U.S. Army.

    "He was our senior most full time driver and he will sorely be missed," said Thomas Slaughter, Coach America District Manager. "There's not a single driver that can just step into his shoes. The report that he built up and the relationships he made were unmatchable."

    Report, rapport, what's the difference?

    RIP and condolences to his family and the Carolina basketball program.

  • warcraft27513 Oct 10, 5:12 p.m.

    Condolences to Super Dave's family and friends.

    When I read the headline, I thought this was... View More

    — Posted by TruthBKnown Banned Again02

    Lol...so did I TBK.

    RIP Super Dave

  • warcraft27513 Oct 10, 5:11 p.m.

    Dave was a great man. Being an athlete at UNC (not currently, years ago), I also had the... View More

    — Posted by Raleigh Realist

    Why didnt you just say RIP Dave and keep the other BS to urself......

    — Posted by kickmeoutroy69

    You can't make it through your day without making a comment that is totally lacking in class, can you?

  • syracuse-slim Oct 10, 4:49 p.m.

    "The older that I get, 64 is too young". (Hokie 94)

    Ain't that the truth......

  • Hokies94 Oct 10, 4:28 p.m.

    The older that I get, 64 is too young. He was a true blue UNC person, and he sounded like a nice guy too based on all that I've read. God bless all of his family members and loved ones.

  • HopingForABetterWorld Oct 10, 4:22 p.m.

    Super Dave was the lead driver for our school field trip to Washington, DC every year. He is a great man. He was tremendously nice to us and the kids, had a good sense of humor, and took a little time to get to know us too. RIP Dave.

  • horne015 Oct 10, 3:46 p.m.

    Dave was a great man. Being an athlete at UNC (not currently, years ago), I also had the... View More

    — Posted by Raleigh Realist

    Why didnt you just say RIP Dave and keep the other BS to urself......

    — Posted by kickmeoutroy69

    Were you born immature or did it take years of practice? The man just lost his life and you will not stop runnning off at the mouth. Just shut it and let the other fans show repect to another human being.

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