Monday, February 9, 2015

Remembering Dean Smith

In memory of Dean Smith, who passed away February 7, 2015, may your skies always be Carolina Blue.


If you make every game a life and death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot. - Dean Smith

What to do with a mistake - recognize it, admit it, learn from it, forget it.
- Dean Smith


Dean Smith was a legend, not only at UNC, or in the ACC, he was a basketball icon.  He was not only a master of the game, but a caring leader, well loved by his players. 

“All of that is credited to him,” Michael Jordan once said of his career. “It never would have happened without Coach Smith.”

“I can’t put his impact on me into words,” Phil Ford said of Smith. “I don’t know where I’d be without him in my life. He’s been such an influence on me, and a friend and a brother and a father figure…Before I chose North Carolina, I felt that Coach Smith would be there for me my entire life. I was right.”

"Coach Smith was one of the most influential people in my life, and his passing brings me great sadness. However, he was a great man and someone I loved and respected greatly, and I celebrate the fact that I knew him and had him in my life for as long as I did." Mitch Kupchak, Lakers General Manager and former UNC player.

Not only was he loved by his players, he was admired and respected by the coaches he faced on the court.

Mike Krzyzewski on Dean Smith's passing: "We have lost a man who cannot be replaced." Coach K went on to say "...his greatest gift was his unique ability to teach what it takes to become a good man. That was easy for him to do because he was a great man himself."

Over the years I probably watched hundreds or even thousands of hours of basketball, listening to it on the radio when the game was not televised. I shouted for joy when they won and fell silent when they lost.  Most years there were more wins than losses, and I clearly remember the 1982 championship game.  I was seated on the floor in front of the TV with a rolled up newspaper in my hands.  I alternated between barely breathing and shouting the house down.  When the final buzzer sounded, shredded paper rained down around me.

Another game that stands out is the 1974 game between Duke and Carolina.  UNC was 8 points down with 17 seconds left on the clock, and they won the game.  Here is a clip of that fantastic finish.




If you can't see the video, click here.

Although I don't follow college basketball like I used to, I am still a Carolina fan at heart, and this is, by far, the Tarheels' greatest loss.


Read more about Dean Smith, the man and the coach.




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4 comments:

  1. I never have been much of a UNC fan (though way more than Duke), but I am a massive fan of the history of most sports. Dean Smith's legacy and place in the history of basketball is definitely secure. He was quite an incredible coach.

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    1. In the ACC, I always pulled for Carolina, In NCAA play, it was Carolina first, then any ACC team. Within the ACC, I ranked the teams, for example I'd pull for Virginia over Wake Forest, Duke over Clemson, State over Maryland, Maryland over Wake Forest...you get the picture. Strange, though because Wake is in my home town.

      Dean was quite the coach, leader, friend, father figure and gentleman. He will be greatly missed.

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  2. What a nice tribute, especially the last words...."Although I don't follow college basketball like I used to, I am still a Carolina fan at heart, and this is, by far, the Tarheels' greatest loss." I also loved the last quote by Coach Smith. That's a keeper and one that should be looked at as a reminder on a regular basis.

    I don't know much about college basketball as I'm more of football fan. But that said, we've been watching it more often since football is over and I'm learning to appreciate. It's amazing how close some of the games have been!

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    1. Thank you Sara. I grew up on ACC basketball, and UNC was always my favorite. See my response to P.J. for who I pulled for depending on who was playing. Some great players came out of UNC under Dean Smith's leadership, and they all credit him for their success.

      I understand the ins and outs of basketball, but know next to nothing about football, which was why the Super Bowl was "outside my comfort zone."

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