A legendary figure in sports passed away on Saturday night.
Dean Smith, who coached at the University of North Carolina for 36 seasons, died in his sleep this weekend. Smith was not only a successful basketball coach who finished with an astounding .776 winning percentage, but he also was a good man who touched the lives of all those he encountered.
Smith coached the legendary Michael Jordan, the greatest player to ever pick up a basketball.
“Other than my parents, no one had a bigger influence on my life than Coach Smith,” Jordan said in a statement. “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.”
James Worthy, former Los Angeles Lakers forward, a three-time NBA champion, seven-time All-Star, and a man who played alongside Jordan at UNC under Smith and won an NCAA championship, sent out a strong tweet over the weekend that summed up what kind of man Smith really was.
“There are so many things I could say about Coach Dean Smith but simply put, he is the greatest man I’ve ever known,” Worthy wrote.
There are so many things I could say about Coach Dean Smith but simply put, he is the greatest man I’ve ever known. pic.twitter.com/tWaE2LPYpK
— James Worthy (@JamesWorthy42) February 8, 2015