Dean Smith

Dean Smith sadly passes away

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Dean SmithDean Smith, a revolutionary coach and a titan of American Basketball has passed away at the age of 83. The retired tactician is reported to have died peacefully while in his North Carolina home on Saturday night. The news was announced by North Carolina University, where Smith made such a monumental impact as a coach.

Through a four-decade career, Dean Smith won two national championships with North Carolina, the first of which came in 1982 with a certain Michael Jordan in the team. Indeed, Jordan has oft-cited Smith has an enormous influence on his career and the all-time great was quick to speak after news of his death.

“Other than my parents, no one had a bigger influence on my life than Coach Smith,” Jordan said in a statement. “He was more than a coach — he was my mentor, my teacher, my second father. Coach was always there for me whenever I needed him and I loved him for it. In teaching me the game of basketball, he taught me about life. My heart goes out to Linnea and their kids. We’ve lost a great man who had an incredible impact on his players, his staff and the entire UNC family.”

As a coach, Smith was known as a formidable tactical mind, while he was also known for running a clean program and having a high graduation rate (96.6%). Before finding success in college hoops, Smith’s place in Basketball history was already secure as he had coached the USA men’s team to the gold medal at the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games.

That and his 1982 championship secured Dean Smith a place in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1983 and he followed up with a second national championship in 1993. North Carolina’s current head coach, Roy Williams, worked under Smith as an assistant, and he spoke fondly of his mentor.

“I’d like to say on behalf of all our players and coaches, past and present, that Dean Smith was the perfect picture of what a college basketball coach should have been,” Williams said in a statement. “We love him and we will miss him.”

Our thoughts are with Mr. Smith’s family at this time.

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