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Fanfare for an Uncommon Man
Alexander Wolff
December 22, 1997
He become the winningest college basketball coach of all time and capped an exemplary career with a graceful retirement. For all of that we honor North Carolina's Dean Smith
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December 22, 1997

Fanfare For An Uncommon Man

He become the winningest college basketball coach of all time and capped an exemplary career with a graceful retirement. For all of that we honor North Carolina's Dean Smith

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Last spring I was enrolled in an advanced placement American history course. My mom [Chapel Hill psychiatrist Linnea Smith] and dad weren't going to let me go down to Winston-Salem [for the record-breaking game] unless I brought my homework with me. It became this big deal in the newspaper: Coach Smith's daughter was reading her history book before the game.

Everybody was teasing me about it at school. It's not that I was bored, just that this was a Thursday night, a school night, and that was the rule before a game. Even that game.

CHARLIE SHAFFER:
When I got back to Atlanta the night he broke the record, watching his press conference on the news, I heard him say, "I want to recognize all the assistants who coached with me and all the players who played for me. I don't have time to name them all, but I could do it." Which I don't doubt. And then he said, "They all share in this moment, if indeed it is a moment." I thought, You've broken the alltime record. You can at least call it a moment.

REVEREND ROBERT SEYMOUR:

When I retired, he and others chided me for leaving. But I told them I'd rather leave when people want me to stay than have them dance in the streets when I left. And I think that was part of his thinking.

My phone rang in January. It was Dean. He said, "Bob, before each practice I give my team some brief words of wisdom. Today is Martin Luther King's birthday. Can you give me something he said?" I thought for a moment and said, "When evil men plot, good men plan."

MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:
He had a style that no one's ever going to copy. To be that smart, that psychologically aware, that good with X's and O's—with that system, and to always take the high road—that just isn't going to happen again.

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