Dean Smith To His Former Players: Dinner’s On Me!

Dean Smith, North Carolina Tar Heels’ iconic basketball coach, surprised all of his former players with $200 to go have dinner on him, according to NBC Sports. During the execution of his will, Smith, who died on February 7, had a letter and a check sent to all of the former Tar Heel players.

As reported by Fox 8, Smith’s legendary career included two national championships, 13 ACC titles, 11 Final Four appearances, and Dean even coached the U.S. Olympic Team in 1976. Dean’s first national title came in 1982, where the world was introduced to Michael Jordan and his second in 1993, on a team led by Eric Montross. Under Smith, the Tar Heels was always perennial conference power predicted to finish in the top part of the conference every single year until he retired in 1997.

According to the Huffington Post, Smith coached over 180 different players. The loyalty most of his players feel for Dean Smith will definitely have dinner just as their coach would want.

Dean Smith Loyalty

However, Serge Zwikker, who played for Smith from 1993 to 1997, said he would not be able to honor his coach’s final request. Zwikker, who was not surprised by Smith’s generosity, instead wanted to do something to honor his former coach.

“I don’t think I can cash this. If anything, I will donate it to a good cause.”

Dean Smith’s career was one that was always focused on his players. The newly released documentary film about the coach, Dean Smith, highlights that aspect of Dean’s love for his players, according to the New York Times. That focus on his players is evidenced by the one thing missing from the documentary – Smith talking about himself. It is up to his players and other coaches, like Mike Krzyzewski, to tell you about Dean Smith.

“He was so humble that it wasn’t easy to find sound bites from him …”

Ross Greenburg, who produced the documentary, was talking about Smith’s humble nature while he worked on the film. That humble nature was also something he tried to pass on to his players as shown when he would not let Sports Illustrated use Michael Jordan as a cover simply because he was a freshman at the time.

As well as being a basketball coach, Smith was also a social activist. Dean recruited the first black player, Charlie Scott, to ever play at North Carolina. He spoke out against the death penalty after he retired. He even held practices in prisons. Smith even advised his players after they left, especially on financial matters, to make certain that they would be successful in all that they do.

Now, even after his death, Dean Smith is still teaching his players about being better people.

[Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images]

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