If you know me personally, no I haven’t converted to a Tar Heel of Chapel Hill fame. I still love the NC State Wolfpack. My husband is a UNC Chapel Hill fan and my sister and her whole family love the Tar Heels. (Although, I do have a niece that has been seen at NC State games. There is always hope.) In November, I read that Dean Smith, the former coach of the Tar Heels in Chapel Hills with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He was not able to attend because of failing health but family, Roy Williams (current UNC basketball coach) and Bill Gutheridge (former UNC basketball coach) accepted the award for him.
Here is a link to the Raleigh News and Observer article that highlights the ceremony and tells a lot about Dean Smith as a coach.
Even though I am not a Tar Heel fan, I do believe Dean Smith put North Carolina on the map as far as college basketball was concerned. Yes, they won lots of games but there was never anything showy about Dean. He always seemed to be the perfect gentlemen whether winning or losing. He emphasized education and when his players traveled they always wore shirts and ties and were very presentable.
Personally, he used to almost kill me when the Tar Heels were beating State by a large margin and he would call probably one or two timeouts during the last minute or two of the game. Everyone said he was preparing his team for the next game. Maybe so but for me it was absolute torture. Also, I was told that when State played the national championship game against Houston in 1983, that Dean was at the game and was wearing a red blazer to show his support for State.
My favorite memory of Dean Smith was when the ACC tournament was being played in Charlotte in the late 90’s. My husband was a field engineer for a copier company and their copiers were at the arena in Charlotte. An engineer had to be at the games to make the copies during half time and to fix a copier should it fail. My husband was able to go to every game at the tournament and on Saturday, when he returned he told me he had talked to Dean Smith. I was very surprised and he told me that being a Tar Heel fan he was standing in the tunnel to the dressing room of the Tar Heels when they were playing on Saturday. As they came back through the tunnel, my husband yelled out to Dean. He stopped turned around and came back and told Dale his strategy for the second half of the game and what had worked during the first half of the game. I told Dale he must have thought he was press and he said no way because the color of the press tag was a bright orange and Dale’s was a softer grey color.
For whatever reason, I will never know, but I do appreciate Dean taking the time to talk to Dale as I am sure it is one of his favorite memories. Sadly we don’t watch ACC basketball anymore. I lost my passion for it when Jimmy V passed away and slowly we evolved from watching it.
I miss the ACC of old when it included teams from South Carolina, Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia. It was such an intense fun and exciting series to watch. Sadly, I guess for the sake of profit and prestige it isn’t that way anymore. Our children and grandchildren will never experience a good ole ACC tournament “Barn Burner” game.
Yes, I do miss the good old days and I didn’t understand my parents and grandparents talking about them when I was younger. There have been many theories that when people talk about the good old days they are sifting through memories and only thinking of the good parts. That probably is true but when I think of the old ACC and all the experiences that were so exciting, I realize that sometimes you remember those days just because they were GOOD OLD DAYS.
Thanks for the memories Dean Smith, Jimmy V, Coach K, Bobby Cremmins and Lefty Driesell and I miss you bunches..