Friday, March 27, 2015
DEAN SMITH'S ACT OF KINDNESS
Once as neat and clean as their pristine white home basketball uniforms, UNC's reputation
recently got soiled by an academic scandal that turned the Carolina blue sky over Chapel
Hill into a big, black cloud.
Leave it to Dean Smith to make it a sunny day for Tar Heel Nation once again, even in
death. Yes, the former coaching legend may be a God after all.
Just hours before the school's game against Wisconsin in the NCAA tournament, it
was discovered that Smith willed $200 to every letter winner that played for him
during his 36 years of coaching at UNC. Yes, every single one of them from Tommy
Kearns, a self- made millionaire to self-made billionaire, Michael Jordan received
a $200 check. And every player from every tax-bracket below them got one, too.
This random act of kindness by Smith embodied everything he was all about: thoughtful,
caring, loyal, generous, but most of all, class. His class and style was a big reason why
the University of North Carolina had the reputation it did. No, he didn't build UNC, but
he helped make it a place nearly every high school senior in the country wanted to
For more than three decades, Smith was the face of the university and the most
powerful man on campus. He was the beacon of the school, the guiding light all Tar
Heels followed and looked up to.
That light dimmed after Smith retired and the scent of big money intoxicated the
athletic program, causing it to make a slew of bad choices and decisions. The
stain caused by an ensuing scandal may take some time to rinse away, but Smith
may have truly started the cleansing process with his act of generosity and kindness.
In a world polluted with greed and people often asking, "what about me?", Smith's
selfless and thoughtful act provides another one of life's lessons he often gave to
his players: It truly is better to give than receive.
Dean Smith has made everyone who attended and graduated from the University of
North Carolina truly proud to be a Tar Heel once again. The skies over Chapel Hill
are Carolina blue today, a ray of sunshine beams through the ivory-clouds from above.
Thank you, Dean Smith. Thank you.