Former North Carolina head coach Dean Smith passed away at the age of 83 this weekend. Reactions came in all over for the loss of Smith, who retired as Division I men’s college basketball’s all-time winningest head coach in 1997.
North Carolina head coach Roy Williams released a statement on the passing of Smith.
“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. 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.
“He set the standard for loyalty and concern for every one of his players, not just the games won or lost.
“He was the greatest there ever was on the court but far, far better off the court with people. His concern for people will be the legacy I will remember most.
“He was a mentor to so many people; he was my mentor. He gave me a chance but, more importantly, he shared with me his knowledge, which is the greatest gift you can give someone.
“I’m 64 years old and everything I do with our basketball program and the way I deal with the University is driven by my desire to make Coach Smith proud. When I came back to Carolina, the driving force was to make him proud and I still think that today.
“I’d like to say on behalf of all our players and coaches, past and present, that Dean Smith was the perfect picture of what a college basketball coach should have been. We love him and we will miss him.”
Michael Jordan, who said at his induction into the Hall of Fame,”There’s no way you guys would have got a chance to see Michael Jordan play without Dean Smith,” released the following statement:
“Other than my parents, no one had a bigger influence on my life than Coach Smith. He was more than a coach — he was my mentor, my teacher, my second father. Coach was always there for me whenever I needed him and I loved him for it. In teaching me the game of basketball, he taught me about life. My heart goes out to Linnea and their kids. We’ve lost a great man who had an incredible impact on his players, his staff and the entire UNC family.”
Others also made their feelings on Smith felt on Twitter on Sunday morning.
Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau also spoke about Coach Smith’s life and impact on Sunday.