'He was a very humble man': Dean Smith remembered

Posted February 19, 2015
Updated February 23, 2015

— Family, friends, faculty, former players, students and others gathered at the Dean Smith Center on Sunday to remember former UNC basketball coach Dean Smith.

Smith, who led the Tar Heels to two national titles and 879 wins in a 36-year career as head basketball coach, died Feb. 7. He was 83 years old.

Former UNC players, close friends and coaching colleagues shared memories of Smith. UNC Chancellor Carol Folt and Woody Durham, former Tar Heel sports announcer, moderated the event. Video tributes and special performances by Carolina musical groups and the UNC-Chapel Hill Band were also held.

"The Carolina family knew him as a great teacher," Folt said. "He was a great American and a true Tar Heel."

Former UNC player Mickey Bell got up to the microphone, looked at the crowd and and said Dean "would hate this."

"He did not like to be the center of attention. He was a very humble man," Bell said. "Yet, if anyone deserved a celebration, it was Coach Smith."

His friends and former player talked in length about Smith's values, such as loyalty and lessons that went beyond the game. 

"We are all so honored to have been in his presence for so many years," said former UNC basketball player Brad Daughtry. "To be around a man of true and remarkable integrity."

"I have four kids of my own and the things that I preach to them, the things that I tell them are the things he taught us," said former UNC player Antawn Jamison. 

UNC head coach Roy Williams spoke about how positive Smith was. At the end of his remarks he raised his hand, pointed towards the sky and said,"let's raise our hand and point and thank him for the assist."

The afternoon began with a replay of "Dean Smith: Coaching Legend," WRAL's salute to Smith's life and legacy. The memorial service immediately followed and was scheduled to last about three hours.


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  • Montel Burnette Feb 23, 2015
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    Nah, us true Duke fans have more class than that. We know there's more to life than the Duke-unc rivalry.

  • Angie Cox Feb 23, 2015
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    by the way WRAL - I watched the whole 2.5 hours - great job for a man who deserved this! I have always loved WRAL but my love is more deep now. RIP Dean! you are loved by many.

  • Angie Cox Feb 23, 2015
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    wow, you must be a Duke fan. how heartless. He was a legend. he had a family who cared from him. so sad you would say that

  • Tom Smith Feb 23, 2015
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    a basketball coach died of old age...... who cares!?!