UNC announced this morning that legendary Tar Heel coach Dean Smith died Saturday night peacefully, surrounded by his family.
“Coach Dean Smith passed away peacefully the evening of February 7 at his home in Chapel Hill, and surrounded by his wife and five children,” the family said in a statement issued by North Carolina. “We are grateful for all the thoughts and prayers, and appreciate the continued respect for our privacy as arrangements are made available to the public. Thank you.”
During his over 40-year coaching career, Smith won two national championships, appeared in 11 Final Fours and claimed 17 regular-season conference titles. He also played an integral part in desegregating college basketball and was responsible for bring Carolina’s first black basketball player, Charlie Scott, onto the team leading the way for future Chapel Hill legends like Michael Jordan, James Worthy, Sam Perkins, Jerry Stackhouse, Vince Carter, Antawn Jamison, and many more.
After the announcement, an outpouring of condolences, respect, and tributes came from every corner of the sports world, which is a testament to the incredible impact Dean Smith had on the sport, people and the world.
Statement from Hornets Chairman Michael Jordan on the Passing of Dean Smith pic.twitter.com/KC3tpvDu65
— Charlotte Hornets (@hornets) February 8, 2015
There are so many things I could say about Coach Dean Smith but simply put, he is the greatest man I've ever known. pic.twitter.com/tWaE2LPYpK
— James Worthy (@JamesWorthy42) February 8, 2015
Dean Smith an educator and great coach will not be forgotten. He taught player more than just bball skills RIP
— Phil Jackson (@PhilJackson11) February 8, 2015
R.I.P. Dean Smith! You were the greatest! Legends never die…. You will forever be in our hearts and memories!
— Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson) February 8, 2015
— Dick Vitale (@DickieV) February 8, 2015
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) February 8, 2015
Mike Krzyzewski on Dean Smith's passing: "We have lost a man who cannot be replaced." pic.twitter.com/tZbINfnrlE
— Laura Keeley (@laurakeeley) February 8, 2015
Obama on Dean Smith: "Last night, America lost not just a coaching legend but a gentleman and a citizen." pic.twitter.com/iNh6AOY8X0
— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) February 8, 2015
I'm saddened by the news of Dean Smith's passing. What a tremendous coach, leader and teacher. Most importantly, a wonderful human being. ????
— grant hill (@realgranthill33) February 8, 2015
Just a sad day for basketball to lose one of the great coaches of all-time in Dean Smith.
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) February 8, 2015
Sending my prayers and deepest sympathies to Dean Smith's family. May we celebrate the gift we all were given with his life.
— Pat Summitt (@patsummitt) February 8, 2015
Thank you. pic.twitter.com/VJUfZy4Egw
— Jordan (@Jumpman23) February 8, 2015
RIP to the legendary Coach Dean Smith. Thankful for all the things you stood for and believed in #CarolinaWay
— Harrison Barnes (@hbarnes) February 8, 2015
Hate waking up to bad news. Sad day in Tar Heel family. RIP Coach Dean Smith.
— Wayne Ellington (@WayneElli22) February 8, 2015
An originator of forming the game and helped change the world to give athletes like myself the opportunity to play at a great program
— Danny Green (@DGreen_14) February 8, 2015
— Jerry Stackhouse (@jerrystackhouse) February 8, 2015
— Jahlil Okafor (@JahlilOkafor) February 8, 2015
Prayers to the family of the great Dean Smith. An iconic figure in the game of basketball. #RipDeanSmith
— Jay Williams (@RealJayWilliams) February 8, 2015
We lost a great man in passing of Coach Smith last night. No one has impacted our game more and with total class. Great coach but better man
— Bill Self (@CoachBillSelf) February 8, 2015
— Sean May (@BigMay42) February 8, 2015