On February 28, 1931, legendary college basketball coach Dean Smith exists in Emporia, Kansas. Smith retired in 1997 with 879 wins, producing him probably the most productive coach in college basketball history.
A talented high college and school athlete, Smith attended the University of Kansas on an academic scholarship. He was an associate of the Jayhawks group that won the 1952 national basketball championship under famed coach Forrest “Phog” Allen. After graduation, Smith served in the U.S. Air Force and later coached the Air Force baseball and golf teams. In 1958, he was hired being an assistant basketball coach at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill and 3 years later became the top coach.
Under Smith, the Tar Heels won two national championship titles, in 1982 and 1993, and managed to get to the Final Four playoffs 11 instances. During his 36 years of heading up UNC’s basketball program, he coached such future NBA stars as Michael Jordan, who described Smith as another father, James Worthy, Rick Fox, Vince Carter and Rasheed Wallace. Smith was named a forward thinking coach who popularized such techniques because the 4 corners defense, the fatigue signal and the foul-line huddle. His teams won at the very least 20 games for 27 consecutive seasons and completed between the best three teams in the A.C.C. for 33 years running. Just as impressively, greater than 97% of his players left UNC with a qualification.
At the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, Smith coached Team USA to a gold medal. In 1986, UNC opened an enormous new arena, the Dean Smith Center, also named the Dean Dome. Smith announced his retirement in October 1997. With 879 wins under his belt, he was probably the most productive men’s college basketball coach ever sold. Smith’s record was broken when University of Indiana coach Bobby Knight won his 880th game on January 1, 2007.