When the legacy of former North Carolina head coach Dean Smith comes to mind, fans mention the characteristics: genuine, disciplined, winner and selfless. Smith’s most recent act of selflessness came from beyond the grave and as a flat out astonishment to all. In a world where so many are consumed by money, Smith showed his little regard for currency, by leaving every single one of his North Carolina lettermen a check of $200 from his will. The gesture was so each of his player’s could enjoy one last night out on Smith’s behalf. This kind act reflects his approach to coaching and shows just how thankful he was for each and every one of his athletes, a testament to the strength of the player-coach relationships he procured in Chapel Hill.
Keep in mind, Smith coached the Tar Heels for 36 seasons creating one of the nation’s strongest basketball traditions so to say the least he had a lot of letter winners. The report is that Smith sent these checks to roughly 160 athletes over the course of his coaching career and hoped to give his former players an opportunity to”enjoy a dinner out compliments of Coach Dean Smith.”
As the never-ending bad news floods the sports world, its people like Smith that breathed fresh air into our ever-changing surroundings. Smith played a pivotal role in developing what modern coaching is and I, for one, will be forever grateful. Although some may disregard his action, Smith’s decision to grant money to his former players is just another example in a long list of reasons why his legacy has held up for so long.
*Section Photo credit to Associated Press; Featured Photo (above) credit to CNN