Local News

UNC Students Respect Coach's Decision; Look to the Future

Posted October 9, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— For many people, the shock is just starting to set in. For the first time since 1958, Dean Smith won't be pacing along the sidelines during Tar Heel basketball games.

In the building that bears his name, Coach Smith today called it a career. The 66-year-old coach told a packed house he always promised to walk away when he lost the thrill he feels his team requires.

In an incredible show of support and tribute, many of Dean Smith's former players were on hand for his announcement. But it's the students who never actually met Coach Smith who are reeling from that announcement.

A lot of students were sad and disappointed to learn their coach would be stepping down. But after watching Dean Smith speak, they were touched. Now, students like Jason Pittman just want to wish him well.

That respect turned tears into smiles and wringing hands into clapping hands as Erika Hamilton and her fellow students pay tribute to the man they call "Dean."

But, as life returned to normal on Franklin Street, students like Laterrian Wallace turned optimistic about the future of Carolina basketball.

Students say they have a tremendous amount of respect for Dean Smith. They respect his decision, but he will be missed... and never forgotten.