Smith died at 83 on Feb. 7 at his North Carolina home. When Smith retired in 1997 after a 36-year coaching tenure at UNC, he was the winningest coach in college basketball history with 879 victories on his record. His first championship, and UNC’s second at the time, came in the 1981-1982 season when he led the Tar Heels, which had future NBA great Michael Jordan as part of its roster, to a win over Georgetown.
Besides his success on the court, Smith was known for running a program free of scandal, the high graduation rate (96.6%) of his players and his early support of desegregation and African-American civil rights.
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