The sports world lost a great figure today. Dean Smith, the legendary coach of the North Carolina Tar Heels, died at age 83 last night, surrounded by loved ones. Called “a second father” by Michael Jordan, Dean Smith was remembered for his positive influence on and off the court. Smith was a strategic pioneer, but he was also known as a man who strove to improve the lives of everyone he coached and came into contact with. He was known to mentor former players well after their last college game. He was on the front lines of integrating college basketball at a time when the country was still struggling to acknowledge the importance of civil rights. He won two national titles, and since his retirement in 1997 he remained in the college basketball world as analyst and purveyor of wisdom.
To a man who touched the lives of so many…rest in peace.