Dean Smith, former UNC basketball coach, dies at 83

Posted at 10:15 AM, Feb 08, 2015
and last updated 2015-02-08 17:22:41-05

Dean Smith, one of college basketball’s great coaches, has died at 83.

Smith coached The University of North Carolina Tar Heels for 36 seasons from 1961 to 1997. He won national championships in 1982 and 1993, made the Final Four 11 times and coached the gold-winning 1976 U.S. Olympic basketball team.

Dean retired with a record of 879-254, at the time the most wins in college basketball, UNC said on its website. He coached Michael Jordan during his 1981 to 1984 college career.

“Coach Dean Smith passed away peacefully the evening of February 7 at his home in Chapel Hill, and surrounded by his wife and five children,” Smith’s family said in a statement. “We are grateful for all the thoughts and prayers, and appreciate the continued respect for our privacy as arrangements are made available to the public. Thank you.”

Smith was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States, in 2013.

Gavin Stern is a national digital producer for the Scripps National Desk.