A Coach’s Life

Jun 26

A Coach’s Life

I have been a North Carolina Tar Heel fan since the early 1990s. I fell in love with the purity and excitement of college hoops; what better team to follow than Michael Jordan’s alma mater. (My best friend Amy and I were some huge Jordan-era Bulls fans.) When I started cheering for the Heels, I had no idea that I was also lucky enough to be watching a coaching legend. When Dean Smith passed away earlier this year, I was so sad for his family and all of his former colleagues and players. Dean Smith was the epitome of generosity and class. When he died, his will dictated that each former letterman that played for him be given a $200 check with the intention of having a dinner out on their old coach. They just don’t make guys like that any more.

I first read this book about 15 years ago (a Christmas present from Amy!) Dean Smith tells his own tale with the help of John Kilgo and Sally Jenkins. He wrote the book after retiring in 1997. He was born in Kansas. His father was a coach and he played sports growing up. He made some key connections and the combination of that and his personality put him in the right place at the right time. Coach Smith tells the story of every team he had over his 36-year career at Carolina. He also interjected personal stories and important social stands that he took over the years. Overall, though, it is just a great basketball book. From practices to strategies to memorable games, if you are a UNC fan, this book is a must-read.

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