Had Dean Smith been there to see it Wednesday, North Carolina coach Roy Williams said, he probably would have protested the thought that a national college basketball award award be named in his honor.
“He would leave the room,” Williams said of Smith, who was never one for the spotlight, or attention. “Leave the room and say, ‘Thank you, but I think I’ll get out of here.’”
Smith, who died Feb. 7 at age 83, was known for his humility perhaps as much as he was known for winning games – and above all, he might have been known best for his legacy off the court, for his relationships with players and for the social causes that moved him.
It’s the spirit of his legacy – one that goes beyond basketball – that inspired the Dean Smith Award, which UNC and the United States Basketball Writers Association announced Wednesday. The award will be presented annually to someone in college basketball – a player or coach, an official, an administrator – who embodies Smith’s legacy.
“The winner is going to have nothing to do with wins and losses, because Dean was about so much more than wins and losses,” said John Feinstein, the author and ...