CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Dean Smith is still giving to his North Carolina players – even after his death.
Tim Breedlove, the Charlotte-based trustee of the trust that bears the late coach’s name, said Thursday that letters were sent earlier this month to each of the players who lettered for Smith’s Tar Heel teams – about 180 in all.
The letter says Smith directed that following his death, each letterman was to be sent a $200 check with the message “enjoy a dinner out compliments of Coach Dean Smith.”
The checks were attached to the letters.
The Hall of Fame coach died Feb. 7 at age 83, and a memorial service two weeks later at the campus arena that bears his name drew about 10,000 people with lines snaking around the building more than an hour before fans could enter. It drew a list of attendees that included current UNC coach and Smith disciple Roy Williams, and former players Phil Ford, Brad Daugherty and Antawn Jamison.
Upon Smith’s death, tributes flowed in from across college basketball: pregame moments of silence were held at venues where the Tar Heels weren’t even playing. Miami coach Jim Larranaga wore a Carolina blue-shaded tie to honor him, and North Carolina ran Smith’s famed “Four Corners” offense – and eventually scoring out of it – to open a game against Georgia Tech.
Smith spent 36 seasons with the Tar Heels and led them to national championships in 1982 and 1993 before retiring in 1997 as the winningest men’s coach in Division I history with 897 career victories – a mark that has since been surpassed by Bob Knight and longtime rival Mike Krzyzewski.
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