December 25, 1997 |
Think of the length of Dean Smith's Christmas card list. Then imagine that he actually calls many of those people regularly, not just dropping an annual hello at the holidays. "He tends to stay in touch," said Middle Tennessee State Coach Randy Wiel, who was a North Carolina player and assistant coach under Smith. "He calls me every Tuesday. That means he calls somebody else every Monday."
March 16, 1997
Roy Williams, Kansas coach and former assistant coach at North Carolina: "If you watch every move I make in the office, every move I make on the court, during practice and during games, that's directly related to something coach Smith taught me. Everybody thinks I'm being humble, but that's not being humble, it's being truthful. He has been the total influence on me as to how to run a basketball program." * P.J.
March 7, 1987 |
They have all had similar thoughts, but it was Bill Foster, the former Duke coach, who said it best for all of them. Several years ago, after reading yet another paean of praise to North Carolina Coach Dean Smith, Foster shook his head and said, "Funny, I always thought it was Naismith who invented basketball, not Dean Smith." An exaggeration? Not by much. Twenty-six years into his reign, Dean Smith is revered and reviled. But if you talk ACC basketball, you start by talking about him.
October 12, 1997 |
For at least the past eight years, maybe as many as 10, Dean Smith began each autumn by telling Bill Guthridge, his assistant of now 31 years, to get ready to take over the North Carolina basketball program because it was time to retire. And every year, Guthridge and the other assistants turned a deaf ear because they were certain Smith would become reinvigorated as October turned into November and a new season approached. But not this time. Dean Smith has retired. You almost choke on the words.
August 28, 1993 |
North Carolina Coach Mack Brown, on whether the success of North Carolina's basketball program is a plus or minus for his football program: "It's both. The minus is that we're overshadowed sometimes, and this is the time of year when people make cute remarks about how much bigger basketball is here. "The plus is that the basketball team helps us when they win a national championship. Every kid we want to recruit for football watched that Final Four last season. That helps us.
February 18, 1987 |
Dean Smith won his 600th game as a college basketball coach on Feb. 11. No big deal. Three days later, Dean Smith won his 601st game as a college basketball coach, when North Carolina beat Maryland. No big deal . . . again. Dean Smith wins and wins and wins. During the past seven seasons, his teams have averaged 28 victories. Lefty Driesell, who won more than 500 games in 26 seasons, never won 28 games in a season. Not once. Smith has won that many five of the last six seasons.