RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -North Carolina State hired Detroit Pistons assistant Sidney Lowe as its head basketball coach Saturday, bringing the former Wolfpack player back to the school he led to a national championship under Jim Valvano.

The 46-year-old Lowe replaces Herb Sendek, who announced last month he was leaving for Arizona State after 10 seasons in Raleigh. Lowe, who was introduced during a news conference that included university supporters, former teammates from the 1983 title team and current players, called it a “great opportunity.”

“This is definitely a dream come true for me,” said Lowe, dressed in a black suit and red N.C. State tie.

Lowe said he plans to start on July 1. Larry Harris, who was an assistant coach under Sendek, will remain at N.C. State under Lowe and lead the program in the interim.

Lowe was the point guard on the Wolfpack’s 1983 national championship team under Valvano and ranks second among the school’s assist leaders and third in steals.

Lowe, who has never coached in college, played four seasons in the NBA before moving on to coaching, rising to become the head coach at Minnesota and Memphis. He has a career record of 79-228 and resigned at Memphis after the team’s 0-8 start in to the 2002-03 season.

Lowe does not hold an undergraduate degree, which N.C. State has said it will require of its next coach. Lowe said Saturday that he is three courses short of completing coursework for a degree in business administration at St. Pauls College in Lawrenceville, Va.

The hiring ends a lengthy search for N.C. State. The Wolfpack’s top two targets – Texas’ Rick Barnes and Memphis’ John Calipari – reportedly turned down offers of about $2 million a year to replace Sendek, who went 191-132 here.

Last week, two more men linked to the job – former UCLA coach and TV analyst Steve Lavin, and West Virginia coach John Beilein – issued statements saying they would remain in their current positions.

AP-ES-05-06-06 1901EDT