Former North Carolina men’s basketball coach Dean Smith has been remembered throughout this week for his myriad contributions to the sport, race relations in college sports and in North Carolina, as well for how he treated people — including on the golf course.
Donald Kurtz wrote to the New York Times this week, relaying a story of how Smith treated the caddies who worked for his group during a golf round in New York.
I once played golf in a fivesome with Dean Smith at Quaker Ridge in Scarsdale, N.Y. Afterward, we repaired to the lounge. All of us, except Coach Smith. He remained outside talking to our caddies.
He finally came inside, and I went outside. One of the caddies told me Smith was going to send them sneakers. “He took down all our sizes,” the caddie said.
That action typified what made Smith great as a person at least as much as his .776 winning percentage as a coach at North Carolina. His winning percentage at Quaker Ridge that day was 1.000.
A simple gesture that went a long way.
Rest in peace, Mr. Smith.