It’s crazy to understand just how much one man can impact so much. Dean Smith came to North Carolina in 1958 to work as an assistant coach under Frank McGuire. Once McGuire resigned in 1961, Smith took the reigns and transformed the University of North Carolina’s basketball program into one that was synonomous with winning games as it was with representing the community the right way.
Coach Smith was a direct descendant from the inventor of the game Dr James Naismith himself and served as an innovator in his own right. It was only after he incorporated the Four Corners offense through his star point guard Phil Ford that the shot clock was introduced to the game. Coach Smith was the first to install the player’s huddle immediately after commiting a foul in order to set the defense up after the opposing player shot his free throws. These things are fixtures to the game today and serve as just a couple of examples that Dean had a hand in when it came to the evolution of basketball.
Considered widely by many as one of the greatest coaches of all time, Smith left North Carolina as a hall of famer with 879 wins, two national championships, 11 final four appearances, 13 ACC tournament titles, 17 ACC regular season titles and 35 consecutive winning seasons. However, perhaps Dean Smith’s most impressove statistic of all was the fact that 96.6% of the players that came to school and played for him, graduated with a degree from the University of North Carolina.
Coach Smith has done so much for the University and the North Carolina basketball program. His Tar Heel legacy will forever remain cemented in time and will always be present in those he coached and taught. Join the KIH Staff in wishing the great Coach Smith a Happy 82nd Birthday. Here’s to hoping we can celebrate many more Coach.