Legendary basketball coach Dean Smith never stopped giving back, even in death.
The former University of North Carolina coach, who died last month, willed his trust to give $200 to each letter winner who played under him, according to a Sports Illustrated report.
Serge Zwikker, one of Smith’s players from 1993-1997, told ESPN:
“My wife opened the letter and handed it to me. At first I didn’t know what it was, but when it hit me, it put a tear in my eye. Even after he passed, he was still all about his players.”
In Smith’s letter, he requested that each of his former players be sent a $200 check with the note, “enjoy a dinner out compliments of Coach Dean Smith.”
— Jim Dempsey (@ChestPassDemps) March 26, 2015
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.