For 36 years, he coached college basketball at the University of North Carolina. He was a conference champion 17 times, went to the NCAA tournament 27 times, 11 Final Fours, and 2 championships in 1982 and 1993. And ever year, he was known for casting the praise all on his players.
So, it’s easy to assume that even in death, Coach Smith would find a way to be classy and honor his players. Well, he did.
According to an ESPN article, Smith directed his trust in his will to give $200 to every letterman who played for him for a “dinner on him.” That’s for all 36 seasons as head coach at the school.
“We never expected anything like this,” said Jeb Barlow, who lettered at UNC from 1980-1982. “But it doesn’t surprise me that this was done.”
Said Serge Zwikker, who played for Smith from 1993-1997: “My wife opened the letter and handed it to me. At first I didn’t know what it was, but when it hit me, it put a tear in my eye. Even after he passed, he was still all about his players.”
This was revealed by a Twitter user (see below) who uploaded a photo of a letter and check from Smith’s trust delivered to Dante Calabria, who played for Smith in the mid-1990s.
— Jim Dempsey (@ChestPassDemps) March 26, 2015
(Featured image via Hugh Morton)