Former University of North Carolina head basketball coach Dean Smith, considered by all to be one of the greatest basketball coaches the world has ever seen, died last night. He was 83 years old.
According to a statement released by his family, Smith died peacefully at his home last night with his wife and five children at his side. Smith had been showing signs of dementia as far back as 2007.
Dean Smith is one of the most successful college basketball coaches of all-time. Smith coached the North Carolina Tar Heels from 1961-1997, compiling an 879-254 overall record. Over that time his teams won two national championships (in 1982 and 1993) and reached 11 Final Fours. Smith coached some of the game’s greatest players, including NBA Hall of Famers Michael Jordan, James Worthy, and Bob McAdoo.
Smith was the first coach in North Carolina and one of the first coaches in the South to offer collegiate scholarships to black athletes. In 1967, Charlie Scott became the first black scholarship athlete at North Carolina.
Smith was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013.