The passing of former North Carolina coach Dean Smith was noted on the board the other day, but I had seen nothing here that underlined what a powerful figure he was, including in his contributions to both civil rights and the evolution of the game itself.
I found this wonderful appreciation of Smith at CBS Sports, an easy and pleasurable read with lots of links and a great interview of him and John Thompson, and thought I'd share it. Note that Smith's coaching tree pretty much takes in everyone, going back to Phog Allen and the game's inventor, James Naismith. Even more than John Wooden--who himself called Smith the greatest coach ever--Smith may well be the single most towering figure in the history of the sport. The appreciations of him by the likes of Michael Jordan and Duke's Coach K are pretty touching: