List of head coaches on Dean Smith’s coaching tree is an impressive one


Sunday morning the University of North Carolina announced that legendary head coach Dean Smith passed away Saturday night at the age of 83. During his time as a head coach Smith won 879 games, two national titles, an Olympic gold medal (1976), 13 ACC titles, 17 ACC regular season titles and helped shepherd many players not only into professional basketball but also in other arenas in life.

And to limit discussions about Smith’s impact to basketball would be unfair to him, as he also fought hard for social justice. Charles Scott, who told Smith during his recruitment that he preferred to be called “Charles” as opposed to the commonly used “Charlie,” became the ACC’s first African-American scholarship athlete in the mid-1960’s. Smith also participated in sit-ins, and protests over other issues such as the Vietnam War and the use of the death penalty.

To play for a person of Smith’s influence certainly benefitted his players, who went on to enjoy success not only in basketball but in other avenues of life as well. Below are those who went on to become head coaches in basketball, with many others moving on into assistant coaching and administrative roles. And this doesn’t include those, such as Gregg Popovich, who have been impacted by those who played for Smith.

While it likely wasn’t a goal of his, Dean Smith ended up planting one of the greatest coaching trees in all of sports.

MORE: Reactions to Dean Smith’s passing | Dean Smith’s ten greatest players at UNC

Active head coaches who played/worked for Dean Smith

  • Larry Brown (SMU): Brown’s amassed an impressive list of achievements at both the collegiate and professional levels, winning a national title at Kansas in 1988 and an NBA title with the Detroit Pistons in 2004. Currently the head coach at SMU, Brown won 1,327 games as a pro head coach (NBA and ABA) and has won more than 71 percent of his games as a college head coach. Brown played at UNC from 1960-63.
  • Roy Williams (North Carolina): The UNC alumnus returned home to Chapel Hill in 2003 after taking over for Brown at Kansas in 1988 and returning that program to national prominence. Like his mentor, Williams has two national titles to his credit, and he’s won just over 79 percent of his games as a college head coach. Williams has won two ACC titles and six ACC regular season titles at North Carolina, and like Brown, he’s a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
  • Scott Cherry (High Point): Cherry was a senior captain on Smith’s second national title team (1993), and as an assistant he was a member of Jim Larrañaga’s staff on the George Mason team that reached the Final Four in 2006. Cherry took over as head coach at High Point in 2009, winning the Big South North Division title in 2013 and 2014 and the overall conference regular-season title in 2014.
  • Butch Estes (Barry University): Estes made the move to Barry from Palm Beach State College in 2013, and he’s won nearly 500 games during a head coaching career that has spanned just over three decades. Estes played freshman basketball at North Carolina, and he served as a student manager under Smith.
  • Jeff Lebo (East Carolina): Lebo, who played for Smith from 1985-89, has been a Division I head coach at four different schools (Tennessee Tech, Chattanooga, Auburn and ECU) and has a career record of 294-230. Lebo led his last team at Tennessee Tech (2001-02) to the quarterfinals of the Postseason NIT.
  • King Rice (Monmouth): Rice recently moved into the head coaching ranks, taking over at Monmouth in 2011. Rice, who played for Smith from 1987-91, served as an assistant at Oregon, Illinois State, Providence and Vanderbilt from 1992-2011. Among his assistants is another former Tar Heel in Brian Reese, who was a teammate of Rice’s at UNC and ultimately won a national title in 1993.
  • Tony Shaver (William & Mary): Shaver walked onto the North Carolina basketball team in 1972 and was a member of the program for four seasons, with players such as Walter Davis, Phil Ford and Mitch Kupchak among his teammates. In 2003, Shaver made the move from Hampden-Sydney to William & Mary, and he’s led the Tribe to three CAA tournament title game appearances.

Former head coaches who played for Smith at North Carolina

  • Billy Cunningham (Philadelphia 76ers)
  • Matt Doherty (Notre Dame, North Carolina, Florida Atlantic, SMU)
  • Eddie Fogler (Wichita State, Vanderbilt, South Carolina)
  • George Karl (Montana Golden Nuggets (CAB), Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, Albany Patroons (CBA; twice), Real Madrid (twice), Seattle Supersonics, Milwaukee Bucks, Denver Nuggets)
  • John Kuester (Detroit Pistons)
  • Doug Moe (San Antonio Spurs, Denver Nuggets, Philadelphia 76ers)
  • Buzz Peterson (Appalachian State (twice), Tulsa, Tennessee, Coastal Carolina, UNCW)

Executives/Administrators who played for Smith at North Carolina

  • Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany
  • Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan
  • Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak
  • Former Pacers/Knicks executive Donnie Walsh

Louisville challenges NCAA over recruiting allegations

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville has refuted NCAA allegations against its men’s basketball program in the wake of a federal corruption scandal, requesting that the highest-level violation be reclassified.

The university also is challenging that former coach Rick Pitino failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance in his program.

Louisville filed a 104-page response last week to the Notice Of Allegations sent to the school in May. The document stated that college sports’ governing body seeks to ignore wire fraud convictions against several people involved in the scheme – including a former Adidas executive – by suggesting they were representing its athletic interests. Louisville’s contract with the apparel maker was a standard sponsorship agreement rather than a promotional deal, the response added.

“This argument is as novel as it is wrong,” the school wrote in its response. “Even if an institution has some responsibility for the conduct of its suppliers, that responsibility plainly does not extend to acts of fraud perpetrated against the institution itself.”

Louisville also seeks to have several second-tier violations reclassified even lower. The NCAA has until Nov. 15 to respond with the school responding 15 days after before a decision is made whether the case will proceed through the traditional Committee on Infractions or Independent Accountability Review Process (IARP).

The NCAA’s Notice of Allegations states that Louisville committed a Level I violation, considered the most severe, with an improper recruiting offer and extra benefits along with several lesser violations. Those lesser violations also include Pitino failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance.

The NCAA notice completed a two-year investigation following a federal corruption probe of college basketball announced in September 2017. Louisville acknowledged its involvement in the federal investigation related to the recruitment of former player Brian Bowen II. Pitino, who’s now coaching Iona, was not named in the federal complaint and has consistently denied authorizing or having knowledge of a payment to a recruit’s family.

Louisville has previously indicated it would accept responsibility for violations it committed but would contest allegations it believed were not supported by facts. The school also noted corrective measures taken in the scandal’s immediate aftermath, such as suspending and then firing Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich.

Louisville also dismissed the NCAA’s contention that former Adidas executive James Gatto and amateur league director Merl Code represented the school while funneling illegal payments to recruits at several schools.

“The enforcement staff’s remaining allegations lack factual support and overread the relevant Bylaws,” the response stated, “and rest on the erroneous contention that the conspirators were representatives of the University’s athletics interests.

“For these reasons and others set forth, the panel should reject the enforcement staff’s dramatically overbroad theory, and classify this case as involving a Level II-Mitigated violation.”

Bubbles brewing with season on horizon

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INDIANAPOLIS — With the coronavirus pandemic already forcing changes for college basketball, a bubble may be brewing in Indianapolis.

Indiana Sports Corp. released a 16-page proposal Friday that calls for turning the city convention center’s exhibition halls and meeting rooms into basketball courts and locker rooms. There would be expansive safety measures and daily COVID-19 testing.

The all-inclusive price starts at $90,000 per team and would cover 20 hotel rooms per traveling party, testing, daily food vouchers ranging from $30-$50 and the cost of game officials. Sports Corp. President Ryan Vaughn said the price depends on what offerings teams or leagues choose.

“The interest has been high,” Vaughn said. “I think as conferences figure out what conference and non-conference schedules are going to look like, we’re we’re a very good option for folks. I would tell you we’ve had conversations with the power six conferences, mid-majors, it’s really kind of all over the Division I spectrum.”

Small wonder: The NCAA this week announced teams could start ramping up workouts Monday, with preseason practices set to begin Oct. 14. Season openers, however, were pushed back to Nov. 25 amid wide-ranging uncertainty about campus safety and team travel in the pandemic.

There is already scrambling going on and some of the marquee early-season tournaments have already been impacted.

The Maui Invitational will be moved from Hawaii to Asheville, North Carolina, with dates still to be determined and organizers clear that everyone involved “will be in a bubble environment that limits their movement and interaction outside the venue.” The Batttle 4 Atlantis has been canceled. The Cancun Challenge will be held in Melbourne, Florida, not Mexico.

More changes almost certainly will be coming, including what to do with the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

“I think we’re past the guesswork on whether we play 20 conference games or more than that,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said Friday. “We’re trying to get everybody set like in terms of MTEs (multi-team events), figuring out when to play the ACC-Big Ten challenge.”

Painter, who was part of the NCAA committee that recommended how to start the season, noted part of the uncertainty stems from differing protocols imposed by campus, city and state officials.

In Indianapolis, Vaughn believes the convention center, nearby hotels, restaurants and downtown businesses, many within walking distance of the venue, could safely accommodate up to 24 teams. The 745,000-square foot facility would feature six basketball courts and two competition courts.

Anyone entering the convention center would undergo saliva-based rapid response testing, which would be sent to a third-party lab for results. Others venues could be added, too, potentially with more fans, if the case numbers decline.

If there is a taker, the event also could serve as a dry run for the 2021 Final Four, also slated for Indy.

“It’s not going to hurt,” Vaughn said. “I can tell you all the planning we’re doing right now is the same for a Final Four that’s been scheduled here for any other year. But it would be nice to have this experience under our belt to see if it can be done.”

Maui Invitational moving to North Carolina during pandemic

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ASHEVILLE, N.C. — The Maui Invitational is moving to the mainland during the coronavirus pandemic.

One of the premier preseason tournaments on the college basketball schedule, the Maui Invitational will be played at the Harrah’s Cherokee Center in downtown Asheville, North Carolina.

Dates for the tournament announced Friday have yet to be finalized. The NCAA announced Wednesday that the college basketball season will begin Nov. 25.

This year’s Maui Invitational field includes Alabama, Davidson, Indiana, North Carolina, Providence, Stanford, Texas and UNLV.

All teams, staff, officials, and personnel will be in a bubble environment that limits their movement and interaction outside the venue.

Burton eligible at Texas Tech after 2 seasons at Wichita State

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LUBBOCK, Texas — Junior guard Jamarius Burton has been granted a waiver from the NCAA that makes him eligible to play this season for Texas Tech after starting 52 games the past two seasons for Wichita State.

Texas Tech coach Chris Beard announced the waiver Thursday, which came five months after Burton signed with the Big 12 team.

Burton has two seasons of eligibility remaining, as well as a redshirt season he could utilize. He averaged 10.3 points and 3.4 assists per game as a sophomore at Wichita State, where he played 67 games overall.

Burton is from Charlotte. He helped lead Independence High School to a 31-1 record and the North Carolina Class 4A state championship as a senior there.

NCAA season set to open day before Thanksgiving

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The NCAA men’s and women’s basketball season will begin on Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving.

The Division I Council voted Wednesday to push the start date back from the originally scheduled Nov. 10 as one of several precautions against the spread of coronavirus.

The later start date coincides with the decision most schools made to send students home from Thanksgiving until January out of concern about a potential late-fall and early-winter flareup of COVID-19. Closed campuses could serve as a quasi bubble for players and provide a window for non-conference games.

The maximum number of regular-season games has been reduced from 31 to 27. The minimum number of games for consideration for the NCAA Tournament was cut from 25 to 13.

Teams can start preseason practices Oct. 14 but will be allowed to work out 12 hours per week beginning Monday.

No scrimmages against other teams or exhibitions are allowed.

In other action, the council voted to extend the recruiting dead period for all sports through Dec. 31. In-person recruiting is not allowed during a dead period, though phone calls and other correspondence are allowed.

The men’s and women’s basketball oversight committees had jointly recommended a start date of Nov. 21, which would have allowed for games to be played on the weekend before Thanksgiving. The council opted not to do that to avoid a conflict with regular-season football games.

The council is scheduled to meet again Oct. 13-14 and could delay the start date and change other pieces of the basketball framework if circumstances surrounding the virus warrant.