16 years ago today we remember the day Dean Smith retired.

Smith retires

I’d like to welcome our newest contributor @A_E_M. He is a long time UNC Tar Heel fan and also writes for http://isportsweb.com/. We look forward to more insights from  @A_E_M. Enjoy!

If you have watched college basketball for as long as I have, you have to admit there have been a lot of great moments. Being a North Carolina fan, 1982 seems like last week still, while 1993 feels like last night and 2005 and 2009 like they happened this morning. However not all the memories are ones that make you smile. One in particular made most that bleed carolina blue very sad, and it happened 16 years today.

On October 9, 1997, on the campus of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, legendary coach Dean Smith told the college basketball world that his run as the head man of the UNC Basketball program was over. It was indeed one of those moments that can be classified as “where were you when this happened”. And, showing til the end how much of a classy person he was, Smith did it in a way that his long-time assistant, Bill Guthridge, would inherit a well-stocked team.

But do not be mistaken, while it is all true that, as Dickie V would always call him, “The Michelangelo of Basketball” was one of the best to ever coach the game, he was just as great, if not better, of a man. For all the titles and records he got on the court, he did just as much, if not more, off of it.

From the four corners to remembering everyone’s name, from dealing with a mistake to remembering it’s always about the team, whether on the court or off of it always remembering to do the right thing. He might not be coaching anymore, and might not be able to do as much as he could back then with his health not at its best, but the legacy that this legend leaves behind will never be forgotten.

So yes, it was a sad day in October way back then, as Coach Smith retired, and each year it is still sad to think about it. On the other hand, in some way, it is also a good day now, one that should be celebrated, as the end of an era came upon us, for a lot of us having been fortunate to witness it, and remembering what a great coach and man Dean Smith is!

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