From the DiRT…

A Lion never roars after a kill…


The American Dream is a national ethos, it is a set of ideals that include the pursuit of happiness, life and liberty.  It is said that life should be better, richer and fuller for everyone with the opportunity for each according to ability or achievement, regardless of social class or circumstances of birth.

If life is a dream, as some suggest, intertwined with beauty and desperation, then could the passing of Dean Smith be a curtain call on the deeply held beliefs of what the American Dream means to some of us?  In no way am I saying that it is dead or dying, but you would have to concede that it is not the same as it was 50 years ago – hell not even 10 or 15 years ago, and maybe 9/11 changed all of that.  But the passing of Dean Smith might represent more than just an Old Lion – he may just symbolize what we might have lost.  Or maybe he reminds us, of all that is good within and to pursue what makes us happiest.

If you make every game a life and death proposition, you’re going to have problems.  For one thing, you’ll be dead a lot. – Dean Smith

We tend to judge our sports heroes by championships – the ring being the thing – and less by the character they posses or the man they are.  Chuck Barkley, famously decried he is not a role model, in a paid advertisement for Nike.  What do we aspire to be? What do we demonstrate to our sons and daughters about the beauty of competition?  Do we say that Dean Smith is less of a coach because of all that talent he had, he could only win 2 national titles – only appear in 11 Final Four’s – only get 897 wins; that took Bobby Knight until 2007 to surpass, Coach K until 2011? Do we revere championships, or do we praise the man?

Always have your players go and pick up the guy who draws the charge. – Dean Smith


I have known many fans of Carolina Basketball and regardless if they were front-runners or actual dyed-in-the-wool Tar Heels – you could never resent them or North Carolina, as long as Dean Smith was the coach.  It was what he stood for – what he believed in and how he meant what he said, even if he never said what he was thinking, that provided respect.  He graduated 96% of his players – he ran a clean program and believed you had an obligation to do what was right.  He said, “You should never be proud of doing what’s right.  You should just do what’s right.”  in 1958 he walked the talk by bringing a black member of his church, to a restaurant.  Dean Smith had a relationship with management and both were served.  At the time, he was just, Assistant Coach Dean Smith, but his act was the beginning of desegregation in Chapel Hill.

I would never recruit a player who yells at his teammates, disrespected his high school coach, or scores 33 points a game and his team goes 10-10. – Dean Smith

It says here we have the right to the “Pursuit of Happiness”, nowhere does it say we have the right to be happy.  Meaning if we do things the right way and pursue what makes us happy then we enjoy that freedom.  Coach Smith loved to coach.  He loved to teach.  He turned down a chance to run against Jessie Helms for Congress because that was not a pursuit that made him happiest.  He once said that no one would elect him if they knew how liberal he really was – but the point is that, Dean Smith did what he loved and pursued what made him happy.

I think the real free person in society is one that’s disciplined.  It’s the one that can choose; that is the free one. – Dean Smith

The players that played for him lived a better, a richer life and sought their own pursuits.  Should we still measure the success of a man by rings, or by how many men’s lives were touched by a steward, that guided them towards their own individual happiness?  Michael Jordan has called Dean Smith a second father – many more in the next few days will express their feelings for the man, and that should speak louder than any dust-collecting ring.  Are we to still judge and believe that the only talented people in this world win trophies or rest on our TV’s or movie screens?  Is there not some bartender in Kansas that is just as talented as Tom Cruise?  Or that Leonardo DiCaprio is a no talent hack, who couldn’t hold Nicholas Cage’s jock because he has a Golden Statue and Leo does not?  Hell, Whoopi Goldberg has an Oscar and Brad Johnson has as many Superbowls as Peyton Manning.

Everyone on the bench stands for the man coming out of the game. – Dean Smith

When we talk of doing things the right way, we could remember Dean Smith.  When we think of what we stand for and how to better our lives, we could think of Dean Smith’s example.  So what we’re really discussing is more than a dream, it is legacy.  A legacy fulfilled every night Dean Smith went to sleep, comfortable with his choices and was thankful if he had a chance to make a difference in someone’s life.  It is that example we should celebrate.  We should celebrate the life of Dean Smith and emulate his impact.  Dean Smith lived his life like an elegant work of Art and we should all pursue that.



The coach’s job is to be part servant in helping each player reach his goals within the team concept.