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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