Yesterday afternoon, WNCN reported that Dean Smith is fighting a tough battle with memory loss. The local news outlet sat down with current North Carolina Tar Heels head basketball coach Roy Williams in an interview about Smith’s memory loss.
In the summer of 2010, just three years ago, Smith’s family announced that Coach Smith had been diagnosed with a progressive neurocognitive disorder that would continually effect his memory.
Coach Williams told the news outlet stories about how great Smith’s memory was. He recalled a story of running into Coach Smith at an airport. Years later he would run into Coach Smith again and tell him about how he met him at that airport and Coach Smith would respond in agreement recalling their encounter.
“He will still have some good moments, but it’s a very cruel disease. The memory loss is cruel because we are talking about the guy who had the best memory of anyone I have known in my entire life,” Williams said.
Now the memory loss issues are beginning to affect everything including Smith’s friendship with Williams. For Smith’s birthday, they meet at Coach Williams’ office to eat cake and ice cream. This year, Smith had issues remember certain personnel.
When asked about if Smith struggled with remember who he was, Coach Williams responded, “Sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn’t.”
Smith was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom this year and will receive the award later this year in November at a formal ceremony.