By Kaleb Page
March 30, 2015
In February, basketball lost a legend. A legend, who revolutionized the game in many ways, would never be able to grace the game with his knowledge and class again.
The legend I speak of is Dean Smith. The North Carolina Tar Heels basketball coach died at age 83 and left behind a tremendous legacy and coaching tree.
One of the things that was mentioned extensively following coach Smith’s passing was how his class and caring nature for his players was unmatched. The respect he got from everyone in the game can be shown as everyone he came in contact with refers to him simply as coach Smith.
For all that the players that came through and touched coach Smith along the way, he had one last way to show he thought of all of them.
Today (Thursday, March 26) a picture was posted by one of Smith’s former players showing a letter with a check attached to it. The letter was received by 180 former players and the check was for $200 ($36,000 total).
The letter explained that in Smith’s will once he made his will he made a trust that would give all of his past letter winners $200 to, as he put it, ‘enjoy dinner out.’
Since this story is still fresh it will probably be a bit before a lot is said further on this topic. I think the media did a great job with chronicling what a great person Smith was outside of basketball when he died in February. I think that a lot of times we forget that these prolific coaches are people just like you and I, and can do great things aside from winning games.
Dean Smith proves once again why good coaching is much more than just what you do in your time between the lines. It is about investing time in making those you are leading better people. I think coach Smith accomplished that many times over with the many players and coaches he came around. Whether it was MJ, James Worthy or even UNC coach Roy Williams, Smith made them better people.
Not many people in the coaching profession can say that.
Even though he is gone, I am sure coach smith is looking down on all those he affected and will continue to be affecting them in some way. A good coach never forgets his players.
Today further illustrated that point and further show the type of person Smith was to leave that behind for his players.
So to those 180 players there’s one final order from Coach Smith: ‘enjoy your dinner out.’