Legendary UNC basketball coach Dean Smith died late Saturday night. He was 83.
Smith is known for building the basketball program at the University of North Carolina to what it has become today. He coached Hall of Fame players Michael Jordan, James Worthy, Bob McAdoo. Under his leadership two national championships, UNC won 13 Atlantic Coast Conference tournament titles and the U.S. Olympic team won the gold medal in 1976.
For his service to UNC and to the country, he was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013. His wife accepted the honor on his behalf because he was battling health issues that caused memory loss. For this reason, Smith kept a low profile in recent years.
Said Roy Williams on Smith’s passing:
It’s such a great loss for North Carolina — our state, the University, of course the Tar Heel basketball program, but really the entire basketball world,” said current Tar Heels coach Roy Williams, who spent 10 years as an assistant under Smith. “We lost one of our greatest ambassadors for college basketball for the way in which a program should be run. We lost a man of the highest integrity who did so many things off the court to help make the world a better place to live in.
The family is asking for privacy as they deal with their loss and make arrangements.