Dean Smith was selected for induction in the inaugural class of the ACC Hall of Fame with 90.9 percent of the media vote.
Dean Edwards Smith
North Carolina assistant coach, 1958–61
North Carolina head coach, 1961–97
Legendary coach was one of best of all-time. Innovator created Four Corners offense, the run-and-jump defense, the huddle before free throws and the tired signal. Emphasized team play, and directed scorers to point to the passer. Was 8-time ACC Coach of the Year and a 4-time National Coach of the Year. Won 13 ACC titles and 17 regular-season titles. One of three coaches to win titles in Olympics (1976), NCAA tournament (1982, 1993) and NIT (1971). Reached 11 Final Fours. Made NCAA tournament 23 consecutive years and 27 of his last 31 seasons. Teams in top 15 in final poll for 28 of last 31 seasons.
879 — Victories, against 254 losses (a 77.6 winning percentage), the most all-time victories at the time of his retirement in 1997
March 11, 1967
No. 4-ranked North Carolina 82, Duke 73; Greensboro Coliseum; ACC tournament final
Smith’s team had swept two regular-season meetings from the defending ACC champion Blue Devils and won the regular-season title. But his Tar Heels had to beat Duke a third time to give him his first ACC title and his first NCAA tournament berth in his sixth season as head coach. UNC advanced to the first of two consecutive trips to what is now called the Final Four. Tournament MVP Larry Miller scored 32 points to lead the victory in the first ACC tournament played away from Reynolds Coliseum.
March 2, 1974
No. 4 North Carolina 96, Duke 92, OT; Carmichael Auditorium, Chapel Hill
In the most memorable of many amazing UNC comebacks under Smith, the Tar Heels rallied from an eight-point deficit in the final 17 seconds — in the days before the 3-point field goal — thanks to a couple of Blue Devils turnovers and four points and a steal from Bobby Jones. Trailing by 2 with three seconds left, freshman Walter Davis took a long half-court inbounds pass from Mitch Kupchak and banked in a 35-foot jumper to send the game into overtime.
March 29, 1982
No. 1-ranked North Carolina 63, No. 6 Georgetown 62; Superdome, New Orleans; NCAA final
After coming up short in three previous title shots in an NCAA final, “The Shot” gave Smith his first NCAA championship. Smith told point guard Jimmy Black to draw the Hoyas’ zone defense to one side of the court and try to get the ball inside to James Worthy. Black couldn’t get it to Worthy, but Smith had designed the play so that if that happened, Black could swing the ball to an open man on the far side of the court. Black found that open man, freshman Michael Jordan. Jordan quickly caught and put up the shot without hesitation, swishing in a 16-foot jumper. Once Worthy caught an errant pass from the Hoyas’ Fred Brown, Smith finally had broken through. Worthy scored 28 points to earn MVP honors.
Final 32 seconds:
April 5, 1993
No. 4-ranked North Carolina 77, No. 3 Michigan 71; Superdome, New Orleans; NCAA final
Donald Williams seemingly couldn’t miss from 3-point range, making 5 of 7 attempts, and the Wolverines couldn’t call time out in the final minute. Fab Five star Chris Webber did despite not having one left, allowing Williams, the Most Outstanding Player, to hit a pair of free throws to put away Smith’s second NCAA title. Smith had his talented team play with discipline and focus, even when Michigan took a 67–63 lead with 4:30 left. UNC scored nine consecutive points to lead 72–67 with 1:03 left.
“What’s more impressive to me about Dean than his record is how good he is as a teacher of basketball. I’ve always said he’s a better teacher of basketball than anyone else. I couldn’t begin to teach players the things Dean has taught them. I’ve admired him because there’s more to him than just wins.”
Legendary UCLA coach John Wooden