dean-smith

Dean Smith, the North Carolina head coach whom roamed the sidelines for over forty seasons, won two national titles and helped integrate the school and the Atlantic Coast Conference during the civil rights era, died Saturday “peacefully” accordingly to a family statement. He was 83.

When he left the bench in 1997, Smith served as the winningest head coach in the history of men’s college basketball at 879. Smith, who was famously accredited with the tag of “the only man who ever held Michael Jordan under 20 points,” was an innovator on and off the court, creating the Four Corners offense and brought sweeping change to the NCAA when he offered a scholarship to Charlie Scott in 1967.

“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.”

Smith coached some of the game’s greatest stars in Jordan, James Worthy, Scott, Phil Ford, Rasheed Wallace, Jerry Stackhouse, Vince Carter, J.R. Reid, Brad Daugherty, Sam Perkins and Antwan Jamison. His coaching tree is even more impressive with both Larry Brown & Roy Williams joining him in the Naismith Hall of Fame. He only had one losing season, his first and finish his career with 13 Atlantic Coast Conference tournament championships, 11 Final Four appearances, five national title games, and NCAA championships in 1982 and 1993. North Carolina won at least 20 games in each of his final 27 seasons, and made 23 consecutive appearances in the NCAA tournament.

Smith is survived by his wife Linnea & five children.

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