|Born||February 28, 1931|
|Place of birth||Emporia, Kansas|
|Overall||879-254 (.776), 2nd most wins of all-time|
|Gold Medal Men's Basketball (1976 Summer Olympics)
Regional Championships - Final Four (1967, 1968, 1969, 1972, 1977, 1981, 1982, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1997)
ACC Tournament Championships
(1967, 1968, 1969, 1972, 1975, 1977, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1989, 1991, 1994, 1997)
ACC Regular Season Championships
(1967, 1968, 1969, 1971, 1972, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1993, 1995)
NIT Championship (1971)
|National Coach of the Year
(1977, 1979, 1982, 1993)
ACC Coach of the Year
(1967, 1968, 1969, 1971, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1988, 1993)
North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame
Kansas Sports Hall of Fame
National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame
(2006) - inaugural class
Basketball Hall of Fame
FIBA Hall of Fame
(2007) - inaugural class
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|Air Force (asst.)
North Carolina (asst.)
Olympic Men's Basketball
|Basketball Hall of Fame, 1983|
|College Basketball Hall of Fame, 2006|
Dean Edwards Smith (born February 28, 1931) is a retired American head coach of men's college basketball. Originally from Emporia, Kansas, Smith has been called a “coaching legend” by the Basketball Hall of Fame. Smith is best known for his successful coaching tenure at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for 36 years. Smith coached from 1961 to 1997 and retired as the NCAA Division I men's basketball coach with the most wins ever with 879 wins. This record was later surpassed by Bob Knight in 2007. Smith has the 9th highest winning percentage of any men’s college basketball coach at 77.6. During his time as head coach of North Carolina, the team won two national titles and appeared in 11 Final Fours.
Smith is also known for running a clean program and having a high graduation rate for his players with 96.6% players going on to graduate. While at North Carolina, Smith helped promote desegregation by recruiting the University’s first African American scholarship basketball player Charlie Scott and pushing for equal treatment for African Americans by local businesses. Smith coached and worked with numerous individuals at North Carolina who went on to achieve notable success in basketball, as either players or coaches or both. Smith retired as head coach from North Carolina in 1997 saying that he was not able to give the team the same level of enthusiasm that he had given it for years. Since retirement, Smith has used his influence to help out in various charitable ventures and political activities.
Smith was born in Emporia, Kansas, on February 28, 1931. Both of his parents were public school teachers. Smith's father, Alfred, coached the Emporia High Spartans basketball team to the 1934 state title in Kansas. This 1934 team was notable for having the first African-American basketball player in Kansas tournament history. While at Topeka High School, Smith lettered in basketball all four years and was named all-state in basketball as a senior. Smith's interest in sports was not limited only to basketball. Smith also played quarterback for his high school football team and catcher for the high school baseball team.
After graduating from high school, Smith attended the University of Kansas on an academic scholarship where he majored in mathematics and joined Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. While at Kansas, Smith continued his interest in sports by playing varsity basketball, varsity baseball, and freshman football. During his time on the varsity basketball team, Kansas won the national championship in 1952 and were NCAA tournament finalists in 1953. Smith's basketball coach during his time at Kansas was the legendary Forrest "Phog" Allen, who had been coached in college by the inventor of basketball James Naismith. After graduation, Smith served as assistant coach at Kansas in the 1953–54 season. After leaving Kansas, Smith watched with disappointment as the University of Kansas team that he had helped coach lost to UNC in the 1957 national championship game in triple overtime.
Smith next served a stint in the United States Air Force in Germany, later working as a head coach of United States Air Force Academy's baseball and golf teams. Yet, Smith's big break would come in the United States. In 1958, North Carolina coach Frank McGuire asked Smith to join his staff as an assistant coach. Smith served under McGuire for three years until 1961, when McGuire was forced to resign by Chancellor William Aycock in the wake of recruiting scandals. Aycock asked Smith, then 30 years old, to become the new head coach to replace McGuire beginning in fall 1961. Believing that McGuire had compromised UNC's image while building a basketball powerhouse, Aycock told Smith that wins and losses didn't matter as much as running a clean program and representing the university well.
Smith's first season in 1961 as coach of North Carolina did not open smoothly. The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) had canceled the Dixie Classic, an annual basketball tournament in North Carolina, due to a national point shaving scandal that included four N.C. State players (Don Gallagher, Stan Niewierowski, Anton Muehlbauer, and Terry Litchfield) and one North Carolina player (Lou Brown). As a result of the scandal, both N.C. State and North Carolina de-emphasized basketball by cutting their regular-season schedules. In Smith's first season from 1961–62, North Carolina played only 17 games and went 8-9. As it turned out, this would be the only losing season he would ever suffer. In 1965, he was famously hanged in effigy on the university campus following a disappointing loss to Wake Forest. After that game, his team ended up winning nine of the last eleven games. After a slow beginning, Smith turned the program into a consistent success. After the 1966 season, Smith would never finish lower than third in the ACC. His first major successes came in the late 1960s, when his teams won three consecutive regular-season and ACC tournament championships, and went to three straight Final Fours. It took Smith seven trips to the Final Four before winning his first national title, and then it took him nine more years to return, and two more to get another national championship.
Dean Smith's first national championship occurred in 1982, when the team was composed of future NBA players such as Michael Jordan, James Worthy and Sam Perkins. After winning the NCAA Tournament, North Carolina had a record of 32-2. Upon reaching the Final Four, the other teams that advanced with North Carolina were Georgetown, Houston and Louisville. In the semi-finals, North Carolina defeated Houston 68-63 in New Orleans while Georgetown defeated Louisville with the score of 50-46.
The 1982 NCAA Division 1 Championship Game was between the Georgetown Hoyas, led by Patrick Ewing, versus the North Carolina Tar Heels, led by Worthy, Perkins and a young Jordan. The game was evenly matched throughout. However, with 17 seconds left in the clock, and the Tar Heels behind by 1 point, Jordan made the game-winning shot, 63-62. On Georgetown's ensuing possession Hoya guard Fred Brown mistakenly passed the ball to Worthy. Worthy attempted to dribble out the clock, but was fouled with two seconds remaining. Despite missing both free throws, Georgetown had no timeouts left. The Hoyas missed a halfcourt shot and lost the game.
In 1993, fielding players such as George Lynch, Eric Montross, Brian Reese, Donald Williams and Derrick Phelps, the team started out with an 8-0 record and was ranked #5 in the country before losing to #6 ranked Michigan on a last-second shot. Wins over Duke, Wake Forest and Florida State during the final games of the season placed the Tar Heels as the top seed in the ACC tournament. The tournament was eventually won by Georgia Tech, which faced North Carolina without the injured Derrick Phelps in the final match. Starting at the national tournament, North Carolina defeated East Carolina, Rhode Island and Cincinnati while playing in the regionals. After defeating Kansas in the semi-finals, North Carolina was set to play Michigan in New Orleans. Stacked with Chris Webber and the rest of the Fab Five, the Michigan squad could not defeat North Carolina again as they did earlier in the season.
Smith announced his retirement on October 9, 1997. He had said that if he ever felt he could not give his team the same enthusiasm he had given it for years, he would retire. His announcement was a shock to the basketball community and fans, as he had given little warning that he was considering retirement. Smith had been the only coach many North Carolina fans had ever known. Bill Guthridge, his assistant for 30 years, succeeded him as head coach.
Even in retirement, some believe that Smith still has a large influence on the current North Carolina basketball program. For example, in 2003 Smith talked to Roy Williams regarding his decision about whether or not to replace a struggling Matt Doherty as head coach. Williams had previously declined the head coaching position three years earlier when Guthridge retired.
Smith-coached teams varied in style, depending on the players Smith had available. But they generally featured a fast-break style, a half-court offense that emphasized the passing game, and an aggressive trapping defense that produced turnovers and easy baskets. His teams always shot the ball well. From 1970 until his retirement, North Carolina shot over 50% from the floor all but four years.
Smith is credited with creating or popularizing the following basketball techniques: The "tired signal," in which a player would use a hand signal (originally a raised fist) to indicate that he needed to come out for a rest, huddling at the free throw line before a foul shot, encouraging players who scored a basket to point a finger at the teammate who passed them the ball, in honor of the passer's selflessness. Instituting a variety of defensive sets in one game, having the point guard call out the defense set for the team, and creating a number of defensive sets, including the point zone, the run-and-jump, and double-teaming the screen-and-roll.
But strategically, Smith is most associated with his implementation of the four corners offense, a strategy for stalling with a lead near the end of the game. Smith's teams executed the four corners set so effectively that in 1985, the NCAA instituted a shot clock to speed up play and minimize ball-control offense. Although fellow Kansas alum John McClendon actually invented the four corners offense, Smith is better known for utilizing it in games. Smith is also the author of Basketball: Multiple Offense and Defense, which is the best-selling technical basketball book in history.
Smith also instituted the practice of starting all his team's seniors on the last home game of the season ("Senior Day") as a way of honoring the contributions of the subs as well as the stars. In one season when the team included six seniors, he opted to put all six on the floor at the beginning of the game – drawing a technical foul – rather than leave one of them out.
During the 1993 run for the national title, Coach Smith used a method that was introduced to him. At a conference in Switzerland, Smith was presented a tape of a lecturer who used doctored images to achieve his goal of losing weight. The photo showed him of what he will look like if he was thin, which gave him motivation to reach that goal. Using this tactic in mind, Smith took a picture of the scoreboard from the 1982 Championship and modified it to say 1993 and erased the name Georgetown and left it blank. He proceeded to place copies of the photo in all of the lockers so the players can look at it and achieve the goal that Smith wanted.
Among the accomplishments of Smith:
Smith received a number of personal honors during his coaching career. He was named the National Coach of the Year four times (1977, 1979, 1982, 1993) and ACC Coach of the Year eight times (1967, 1968, 1969, 1971, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1988, 1993). Smith was also inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame on May 2, 1983, two years after being enshrined in the North Carolina Hall of Fame.
Smith was the first recipient of the Mentor Award for Lifetime Achievement, given by the University of North Carolina Committee on Teaching Awards for "a broader range of teaching beyond the classroom." He has also been awarded honorary doctorates by Eastern University and Catawba College.
The basketball arena at North Carolina, the Dean Smith Center, was named for Smith. It is also widely referred to as the "Dean Dome". In 1997, upon his retirement, Smith was named Sportsman of the Year by the magazine Sports Illustrated. ESPN named Smith one of the five all-time greatest American coaches of any sport. In 1998 he won the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, presented at the annual ESPY Awards hosted by ESPN.
On November 17, 2006, Smith was recognized for his impact on college basketball as a member of the founding class of the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. He was one of five, along with Oscar Robertson, Bill Russell, John Wooden and Dr. James Naismith, selected to represent the inaugural class. In 2007, he was enshrined in the FIBA Hall of Fame.
Smith is one of the most prominent Democrats in North Carolina politics. Politically, he is best known for promoting desegregation, a reflection of his roots in Kansas. In 1964, Smith joined a local pastor and a black North Carolina theology student to integrate The Pines, a Chapel Hill restaurant. He also integrated the Tar Heels basketball team by recruiting Charlie Scott as the university's first black scholarship athlete. In 1965, Smith helped Howard Lee, a black graduate student at North Carolina, purchase a home in an all-white neighborhood. He opposed the Vietnam War and, in the early 1980s, famously recorded radio spots to promote a freeze on nuclear weapons. He has been a prominent opponent of the death penalty. In 1998, he appeared at a clemency hearing for a death-row inmate and pointed at then-Governor Jim Hunt: "You're a murderer. And I'm a murderer. The death penalty makes us all murderers." As head coach, he periodically held North Carolina basketball practices in North Carolina prisons.
While coach, he was recruited by some in the Democratic Party to run for the United States Senate against incumbent Jesse Helms. He declined. But in retirement, he has continued to speak out on issues such as the war in Iraq, death penalty and gay rights. Although a staunch Democrat, Smith did support one of his former players, Republican Richard Vinroot, for governor of North Carolina in 2000. In 2006, Smith became the spokesperson for Devout Democrats, an inter-faith, grassroots political action committee designed to convince religious Americans to vote for Democrats. Smith was featured in an ad that is running in newspapers across North Carolina and was featured in an Associated Press article. On October 13, 2008, he endorsed Senator Barack Obama's candidacy for President of the United States.
One hallmark of Smith's tenure as coach was the concept of the "Carolina Family," the idea that anyone associated with the program was entitled to the support of others. Many of his former players and coaching staff became successful basketball coaches and executives, including:
|North Carolina Tar Heels (ACC) (1961–1997)|
|1966-1967||North Carolina||26-6||12-2||1st||NCAA Final Four|
|1967-1968||North Carolina||28-4||12-2||1st||NCAA Runner Up|
|1968-1969||North Carolina||27-5||12-2||1st||NCAA Final Four|
|1969-1970||North Carolina||25-3||14-0||1st||NIT 1st Round|
|1970-1971||North Carolina||26-6||11-3||1st||NIT Championship|
|1971-1972||North Carolina||26-5||9-3||1st||NCAA Final Four|
|1972-1973||North Carolina||25-8||8-4||2nd||NIT 3rd Place|
|1973-1974||North Carolina||22-6||9-3||T-2nd||NIT 1st Round|
|1974-1975||North Carolina||23-8||8-4||T-2nd||NCAA 2nd Round|
|1975-1976||North Carolina||25-4||11-1||1st||NCAA 1st Round|
|1976-1977||North Carolina||28-5||9-3||1st||NCAA Runner Up|
|1977-1978||North Carolina||23-8||9-3||1st||NCAA 1st Round|
|1978-1979||North Carolina||23-9||9-3||1st||NCAA 2nd Round|
|1979-1980||North Carolina||21-8||9-5||T-2nd||NCAA 2nd Round|
|1980-1981||North Carolina||29-8||10-4||2nd||NCAA Runner Up|
|1981-1982||North Carolina||32-2||12-2||T-1st||NCAA National Championship|
|1982-1983||North Carolina||28-8||12-2||T-1st||NCAA Elite 8|
|1983-1984||North Carolina||28-3||14-0||1st||NCAASweet 16|
|1984-1985||North Carolina||27-9||9-5||T-1st||NCAA Elite 8|
|1985-1986||North Carolina||28-6||10-4||3rd||NCAA Sweet 16|
|1986-1987||North Carolina||32-4||14-0||1st||NCAA Elite 8|
|1987-1988||North Carolina||27-7||11-3||1st||NCAA Elite 8|
|1988-1989||North Carolina||29-8||9-5||T-2nd||NCAA Sweet 16|
|1989-1990||North Carolina||21-13||8-6||T-3rd||NCAA Sweet 16|
|1990-1991||North Carolina||29-6||10-4||2nd||NCAA Final 4|
|1991-1992||North Carolina||23-10||9-7||3rd||NCAA Sweet 16|
|1992-1993||North Carolina||34-4||14-2||1st||NCAA National Championship|
|1993-1994||North Carolina||28-7||11-5||2nd||NCAA 2nd Round|
|1994-1995||North Carolina||28-6||12-4||T-1st||NCAA Final Four|
|1995-1996||North Carolina||21-11||10-6||3rd||NCAA 2nd Round|
|1996-1997||North Carolina||28-7||11-5||2nd||NCAA Final Four|
National Champion Conference Regular Season Champion Conference Tournament Champion
|Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year
Mark McGwire & Sammy Sosa