One of the legendary coaches in college basketball now has an award named in his honor. On Wednesday the United States Basketball Writers Association and the University of North Carolina announced the creation of the “Dean Smith Award.”
The prize, if you will, will be handed out annually going forward to someone in college basketball “who embodies the spirit and values represented by Smith.” Male and female, players, coaches, non-coaches — anyone at any level of recognized college basketball is eligible to win the award.
Smith died at 83 on Feb. 7 after battling dementia in the waning years of his life. He won three national titles with UNC and won 879 games from 1961-1997. He was also a huge proponent of social change, and in fact recruited the first African-American basketball player, Charlie Scott, to the ACC.
In 2013, Smith was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. At the time of his retiremenet, he owned the most wins in men’s Division I basketball history. He coached notable players such as Michael Jordan, James Worthy, Phil Ford, Vince Carter, Jerry Stackhouse and Sam Perkins.