When I saw the news on Twitter last Sunday about the passing of Dean Smith, my feeling of sadness was immediately followed by an urge to text JB and ask him to write something up for Notably Worthless. But after a brief moment, I realized it would mean more coming from me.
You see, I am not a lifelong Dean Smith fan. In fact, having been raised a Wolfpack fan, I was actually quite unimpressed with Dean Smith. But after he retired, the passage of time1 helped soften my hardened heart against Coach Smith. I was able to ignore the idol-worshiping noise a bit and finally absorb all of the stories that truly defined the man.
Sometimes talent, luck, hard work, and timing conspire to bring great fortune to a man. And other times, as in the case of Coach Smith, talent, luck, hard work, and timing conspire to bring great fortune to humanity. For a time, Dean Smith was measured by the players he produced and the wins he amassed. But that time has long since passed. Today, and for many generations to come, we remember Coach Smith for the men he served, the men he saved, and the men he sent out into the world better than he found them.
- And perhaps my own maturation. ↩