(Chapel Hill, N.C.—Feb. 8, 2015) – Former University of North Carolina head men’s basketball coach Dean Smith died Saturday evening in Chapel Hill. He was 83 years old. UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol L. Folt released the following statement:
Statement from Chancellor Carol L. Folt:
“Our Carolina community is deeply saddened by the passing of Dean Smith. Coach Smith was an extraordinary man who cared deeply about people. Known worldwide as a legendary basketball coach, our University, the Chapel Hill community, and the countless students, faculty, staff and people across North Carolina and beyond will remember him as a great teacher and remarkable pioneer in promoting equality and civil rights. For Coach Smith, his players, coaches and staff were family. He was a trusted mentor whose care for his players went beyond the basketball court and continued after they left Carolina. He will be remembered as a great American and true Tar Heel.”
Statement from Dr. Lowry Caudill, Chair, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Board of Trustees
“As the Carolina family grieves the magnitude of Coach Dean Smith’s loss, we can take comfort in considering the profound positive impact his words and deeds had across North Carolina and our nation. Coach Smith was always so much more than a brilliant basketball strategist. He was a father figure to his players, a loyal friend to his associates, a compassionate humanitarian who championed equality, and a strong advocate for the importance of education. He cared about others more than himself. He will forever be remembered as a giant in the history of our great University. We are grateful to his wife, Linnea, and his family for sharing him with all of us for so many years.”
Statement from Bubba Cunningham, Director of Athletics:
“Dean Smith was a legendary Hall of Fame coach who will long be remembered as an innovator in the game of basketball and a pioneer for social justice. His legacy will always be a part of the University of North Carolina and will continue to inspire students for generations to come.”
Statement from Men’s Basketball Coach Roy Williams:
“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.”
Communications and Public Affairs contact: Karen Moon, (919) 962-8595, firstname.lastname@example.org