Dean Smith

I was 21 years old the first time I talked to Dean Smith. It was like talking with royalty. I was almost 40 the last time I talked with Dean Smith. He remembered our first conversation.

Here’s something I wrote about Dean Smith five years ago. More to come, of course.

4 Responses to Dean Smith

  1. Dave says:

    Joe, thanks for the re-post. I hadn’t read it when you wrote it. But, you forgot the original “Larry Legend”–Larry Miller.

  2. Daniel says:

    Thanks for this re-post. I also had not read it.

    I always get mad when folks mention his two “tainted” national championships like they don’t count or something. The fact of the matter is that his teams were ahead in both of the games where the mistakes by the other team happened. Even if those mistakes don’t happen, there’s no guarantee that UNC doesn’t win anyway. And maybe, just maybe, Smith has prepared his team in such a way that the other team was frazzled enough that it caused those mistakes.

    In the ’93 championship game against Michigan, Smith had noticed that Michigan was only using two players, the inbounds passer and the point guard, to bring the ball up court. About five minutes into the second half after a UNC turnover, he surprised Michigan and had two guys cover the point guard. They couldn’t get the ball in and were forced to call a timeout, a timeout they sorely needed later in the game.

    • In watching a lot of close basketball games over the years, close games almost ALWAYS come down to who makes a mistake and who plays solid during the last minute. Turnovers, bad shots, fouls, missed defensive assignments, missed free throws tend to decide the game. Since they happen at the end of the game, rather than the first quarter, these mistakes are magnified X 100. So, it shouldn’t be surprising that these two games ended with the key last minute play being a bad turnover and a huge mental mistake. Those mistakes are haunting, but that’s how close games are decided. I’m sure Carolina had their share of mistakes at the end of the games they lost too.

  3. Marc Schneider says:

    When I was in grad school, I had a friend who had attended UNC and would use to say-half-jokingly-that Carolina should “dump Dean Smith.” This was before Jordan and Carolina had lost a number of times in the final four or NC game. (A couple of years before, they lost to Al McGuire’s last Marquette team). But, as far as I’m concerned, his wins are meaningless. If all college coaches (in any sport) approached the game as Smith did, I would still be a fan of college sports. As it is, I largely have contempt for college athletics.

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