Legendary UNC Chapel Hill basketball coach, Dean Smith, died at age 83 on Saturday night, February 7.
With two national championships, 11 Final Four appearances and 879 wins, Smith will go down as one of the best coaches the game has ever seen.
Many would agree that Coach Smith built the basketball program at UNC, much like Coach Mike Krzyzews- ki has done at Duke. Smith coached 36 seasons at North Carolina, 1961-1997, and retired as the winningest coach in college basketball history. He has since been passed and moved to fourth on that list.
Smith‘s coaching can be traced back to the inventor of basketball, James Naismith. Smith played under Nai- smith’s apprentice, Phog Allen, at the University of Kansas.
Some of Smith’s accomplishments in his illustrious career include two national titles, 17 regular season ACC titles, and 13 ACC tourna- ment titles. He was eight time ACC coach of the year and head coach of gold medal winning olympic team.
He also molded many of the games greatest players including many players
that went on to achieve great NBA fame. The long list of players he coached includes Michael Jordan, James Worthy, Phil Ford, Charlie Scott, Vince Carter, Jerry Stackhouse and Rasheed Wallace.
One major change Smith brought to the game was the shot clock. His “four corners” offense that he used to burn time off the clock and protect a lead led to the development of the shot clock to counter this play.
As great of a coach as he was, it is said that he was an even better person. Above all else, he wanted to teach his players how to become a good man. His goal was to mold his players into men of honor, respect, integrity and purpose.
Smith was an integral part in desegregating the South. As an assistant coach to Frank McGuire , Smith took an African American student to a segregated restraunt and de- manded to be served, he gave the first scholarship to an African American athlete in the South. For these efforts Smith was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2008 by President Barack Obama.
Dean Smith will not only be rememebered as a Hall of Fame basketball coach. He will be remembered for his fight for civil rights, his molding of men, and his love for the game.