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

Memphis, Penny land commitment from second five-star prospect, Precious Achiuwa

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The transformation is complete.

On Friday afternoon, Precious Achiuwa, a top 15 prospect in the Class of 2019, announced that he has committed to play his college basketball at Memphis, joining one of the best recruiting classes in the country and affirming that Penny Hardaway will enter the 2019-20 season with a preseason top 10 team.

Achiuwa, one of the top combo-forwards in the class and the kind of athlete that will make him an attractive player to NBA GMs, joins No. 1 player James Wiseman and fellow four-star prospects D.J. Jeffries, Lester Quinones, Boogie Ellis, Damion Baugh and Malcolm Dandridge in Penny’s first real recruiting class as Memphis head coach.

The Tigers also add Rayjon Tucker, arguably the nation’s top grad transfer and a potential NBA player in his own right.

As we wrote earlier this week, Penny is building an absolute monster in Memphis.

Grant Williams will remain in 2019 NBA Draft

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Grant Williams announced on Friday morning that he will be staying in the NBA draft after an All-American junior season with Tennessee.

Williams averaged 18.8 points, 7.5 boards, 3.2 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.1 steals this past season, helping lead Tennessee to a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament and on a run to the Sweet 16, where they lost in overtime to Purdue.

This is probably the right decision for him to make. While he is somewhat undersized and limited athletically, Williams is such a smart and savvy players. He really understands how to pass, he can defend multiple positions and, most importantly, he has a skill-set that should allow him to be able to contribute as a role player at the next level, particularly if his three-point stroke is as good as it has looked in postseason workouts.

Williams is slotted in at No. 19 to San Antonio in the most recent NBC Sports mock draft.

Tennessee will now have to play the waiting game with Jordan Bone, who is still undecided on his status. The Vols currently sit 22nd in the NBC Sports preseason top 25.

Clemson lands Texas Tech transfer Khavon Moore

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Clemson is adding a former top-50 recruit to its roster.

Texas Tech transfer Khavon Moore has pledged to coach Brad Brownell and the Tigers, he announced Thursday.

The 6-foot-7 Moore, a former four-star recruit, played just 2 minutes last season for the Red Raiders and saw his season shutdown amid medical concerns due to lingering issues from a broken leg he suffered in high school. The plan was for him to seek a medical hardship redshirt for last season, which could allow him to still have four years of eligibility remaining at Clemson after sitting out the upcoming season as a transfer.

The Tigers went 20-14 last season and missed the NCAA tournament for the seventh time in nine seasons under Brownell.

Texas Tech, meanwhile, continues to build a monster even with departures like former high-profile recruit.



Four-star forward Jalen Wilson asks out of Michigan letter of intent

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John Beilein isn’t the only loss Michigan sustained this week.

Jalen Wilson, a top-50 guard in 2019, has requested out of his National Letter of Intent with the Wolverines, he announced Thursday.

“Due to the sudden head coaching change, I have requested my release from The University of Michigan, and will re-open my recruitment,” he wrote on social media.

Beilein’s decision to leave Michigan for the NBA and the Cleveland Cavaliers shocked the college basketball world earlier this week, and there’s little surprise to see it shake the Wolverines’ recruiting class as the head coaching position remains vacant and Michigan conducting a search of its next coach.

Wilson, a 6-foot-8 forward, is now considering Kansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma State and Florida along with the Wolverines, according to 247Sports. The Texas native suddenly becomes one of the most desirable players left available ahead of the upcoming season.

Cole Bajema, a top-150 wing from Washington, is the lone remaining signee in Michigan’s 2019 class.

Nebraska adds former Tennessee forward Walker

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LINCOLN, Neb. — Former Tennessee forward Derrick Walker is transferring to Nebraska.

Nebraska announced Wednesday it has added Walker to its roster. Nebraska officials said Walker will sit out the 2019-20 season before playing for the Cornhuskers. He has two seasons of eligibility remaining.

Walker entered the NCAA transfer portal after averaging 0.8 points, 1.1 rebounds and 5.3 minutes for Tennessee this past season. The 6-foot-8 Walker averaged 1.9 points, 2.2 rebounds and 8.8 minutes as a freshman in the 2017-18 season.

Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg said in a statement, “Derrick is a physical player who gives us skill and versatility in the post.”