Dean Smith's memory fading, report says

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If there’s a depressing story for college hoops fans this week, it’s this report from the Fayetteville Observer: Dean Smith is suffering from memory loss.

The legendary North Carolina coach, 79, helped the school celebrate its 100th year of hoops earlier this year, but the celebration among the Carolina family was a bit muted because Smith wasn’t quite himself.

“That’s really the painful thing to absorb when you’re around him,” said Woody Durham, the radio voice of the Tar Heels since 1971. “Because his mind for so many years, not only in basketball but in remembering names and faces from everyday life, was like a steel trap. Now to see him losing that capability is truly sad.”

Those near the UNC program say Smith has good days and bad days. On the good days, he is his cheerful, unassuming self, friendly and engaging and surprising people with his memory of little details about their lives.

But on the bad days, they say, Smith has great difficulty even remembering people he has worked with and around for years.

Smith’s family is asking for privacy at this time. I’m sure more and more reports such as this will continue to trickle out. Smith’s been a part of far too many people’s lives for this not to have an impact.

“Unfortunately, we’re not young forever,” former player Eric Montross, who now works as a commentator on the Tar Heels’ radio broadcasts, told the paper. “We all have seen it on some level with our family members. It’s life and it’s getting older and it’s incredibly rough sometimes. And when you watch something like this happen, you feel firsthand how tough it really is.”

(H/T: Diamond Leung)

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