“I am incredibly saddened to hear of the passing of Coach Dean Smith. We have lost a man who cannot be replaced. He was one of a kind and the sport of basketball lost one of its true pillars. Dean possessed one of the greatest basketball minds, and was a magnificent teacher and tactician. While building an elite program at North Carolina, he was clearly ahead of his time in dealing with social issues. However, his greatest gift was his unique ability to teach what it takes to become a good man. That was easy for him to do because he was a great man himself. All of his players benefited greatly from his basketball teachings, but even more from his ability to help mold men of integrity, honor and purpose. Those teachings, specifically, will live forever in those he touched. We offer our deepest sympathies – and gratitude for sharing his incredible life with us for so long – to Linnea, his children and the entire North Carolina family.”In his "Leading with the Heart," Coach K mentions what it was like coming up as a young coach in the shadow of Smith. Krzyzewski writes about his friendship with the late Coach Jim Valvano of North Carolina State and shares an anecdote about how he and Valvano played a gentle prank on Coach Dean Smith at a stodgy Atlantic Coast Conference.
("Leading with the Heart" is on the CNO's Professional Reading list.)
All three coaches shared a common trait for success: being "very passionate about what we did," in Coach K's words.
Smith (1931-2015) is remembered for his national championships, his leadership strategies and his stand for civil rights as early as the 1940s.
Navy Reads featured a commentary about Coach Smith and Coach Red Auerbach last year in "March Madness – Coach Reads."