Legendary basketball coach, Dean Smith, passed away in February at the age of 83, and what a legacy he left behind. Smith coached the North Carolina Tar Heels from 1961-1997, and was arguably one of the greatest coaches of an era, he coached the likes of Michael Jordan and James Worley.
If you’re a basketball fan, you know who Dean Smith was. And whether you pull for the SEC, ACC, or any other conference, or school – you had to pull for Coach Smith just as long as the Tar Heels weren’t playing your team.
Smith was admired by his players and fans, alike. His accolades are too many to mention; he won championships, of course. But, he was also inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, and he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Smith coached the 1976 U. S, Olympic basketball team to a gold medal.
It is what he has done posthumously for which he may be long-remembered. In his will, Coach Dean Smith left each of his former 184 players a $200 check. Each player has received a letter from Smith’s attorneys expressing the coach’s desire that the recipient “enjoy a dinner out compliments of Coach Dean Smith”. How cool is that?
The enclosed checks also included the notation, “Dinner out”.
Coach Smith, as are so many coaches, was more than a coach to his players. In paying tribute to his former coach, Michael Jordan said, “He was more than a coach – he was my mentor, my teacher, my second father.”
When Smith retired in 1997, he was the winningest coach in college basketball with 879 victories.
And the NCAA won’t have to worry their heads over this one – Coach Smith bequeathed the $200 checks to his former players.
What a mighty fine man.