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Statement from ACC Commissioner John Swofford on the passing of Dean Smith:
“We’ve known for a while this day would come, but it still hits hard.
Sometimes we are blessed to be around certain people in our lives. For me, one of those people was Dean Smith. For 21 years I had the privilege of working with him.
He personified excellence day-in and day-out, year-in and year-out. The remarkable number of wins is well chronicled, but most importantly those wins came while teaching and living the right values. He won, his players graduated and he played by the rules. He was first and foremost a teacher, and his players were always the most important part of his agenda.
His impact on the University of North Carolina, the Atlantic Coast Conference, college basketball and the sport itself, is immeasurable. His leadership off the court in areas such as race relations and education were less chronicled, but just as important.
Sometimes the word legend is used with too little thought. In this instance, it almost seems inadequate. He was basketball royalty, and we have lost one of the greats in Dean Smith.”