By now most basketball fans have heard that legendary UNC coach Dean Smith passed away
last night at the age of 83.
Throughout the day today former North Carolina players have been interviewed on television to share some of their experiences with Coach Smith.
Every single one of them mentioned their off court relationship with their coach and how loyal they were to each other.
Several years ago former UNC player David Chadwick interviewed Coach Smith and asked him why it seemed that he valued loyalty over success.
I loved to win and hated to lose. Yet for years I struggled with something internally. We would play poorly and win and I’d feel great. We’d play well and lose and I’d feel terrible. That didn’t make sense to me.
If two of your children were playing tennis against each other, would you really care who won? Is winning all that important in the scheme of things? No. That’s why I have ultimately placed compassion above competition. I want to win but caring for people is much more important to me. I finally concluded that success is not defined by winning or losing but in doing the best you can, where you are, with what you have.
Coach Smith was a teacher, an innovator, a winner, and a champion. But he will long be remembered as much for his loyalty and compassion and friendship as anything else. That would be a great goal for the rest of us too!