“You should never be proud of doing what’s right. You should just do what’s right.” Dean Smith
Even though I am not a UNC Tar Heel fan, I was saddened last week when hearing about the passing of Dean Smith. He was the legendary coach of the UNC Tar Heels and passed away at the age of 83. His winning teams did put North Carolina on the map as being truly successful in college basketball.
Many of Dean Smith’s former players commented so favorably about him after his passing and I do remember what gentlemen I thought his players were even when they were beating my beloved NC State Wolfpack. I also remember that when NC State played for the national championship that Dean Smith attended the game wearing a red sport coat. He was a part of the old school Atlantic Coast Conference before Notre Dame, Syracuse, and Pitt became a part of the conference. The games were so exciting because it was a regional conference and most of us were very familiar with the opposing teams of Maryland, Clemson or Virginia.
On a personal note, I will always remember when Mr. D was working at the ACC basketball tournament in Charlotte several years ago and Dean Smith came out of the tunnel and Mr. D cheered him on. Dean stopped and talked to Mr. D for a couple of minutes about his game strategy. I know that is something that will always be very special for Mr. D and it shows what a kind unassuming person Dean Smith was.
I could quote many of Dean Smith’s fellow coaches or many of the players that he coached. However, when I saw the quote below from Coach K of the Duke Blue Devil’s which have always been arch rivals of the Tar Heels, I thought that truly expresses what so many peoples thoughts were concerning Dean Smith.
“He had a style that no one’s ever going to copy, ” said Krzyzewski. “To be that smart, that psychologically aware, that good with X’s and O’s-with that system, and to always take the high road-that just isn’t going to happen again.”
By the way, when Coach K attended Dean Smith’s funeral last week, he wore a Carolina Blue tie. We will miss Dean Smith but never forget the legacy of college basketball he created for our state. I miss the Atlantic Coast Conference of old and I don’t watch college basketball much anymore. As we age so many things change and no matter what happens there are things we miss from the Good Old Days and I must say the wonderful old ACC tournament that created so much excitement in our state is missed so much.
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