NC lawmakers honor Tar Heel legend Dean Smith

Dean Smith - File photo

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Legislators in both North Carolina’s House and the Senate honored the life and legacy of the late Dean Smith Wednesday.

The former men’s basketball coach at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was honored by a resolution remembering him as a great coach and great man who cared about students, his community and social justice.

“We recognized him for the remarkable person he was. We didn’t just admire him. We loved him,” said Rep. Verla Insko (D-Orange).

Lawmakers spoke of their own personal experiences or memories about Dean Smith.

Rep. Edward Hanes (D-Forsyth) recalled trying out for to join the Tar Heels basketball team.

He remembers one particular play.

He looked at me and he said, ‘Hmm, that’s good.’ And I thought I would faint on the court of the Smith Center right there because Dean Smith had validated for me that I did something good,” Hanes said.

His widow, Linnea Smith, and daughter were in attendance.

“I’m feeling even more overwhelmed because I didn’t realize not only were they going to present the formal resolution, but the representatives that stood up and spoke about their personal experiences,” said Linnea Smith.

Dean Smith coach died in February at age 83. He spent 36 seasons with the Tar Heels and led them to two national championships.

Rep. Graig Meyer of Orange County praised Smith for his efforts at integration in Chapel Hill. And Rep. Ed Hanes of Winston-Salem recalled his encounters with Smith while playing on UNC’s junior varsity basketball team.

Hanes said he didn’t quite the team.

But there were a couple other players who did make the team.

Their names? Jerry Stackhouse and Rasheed Wallace.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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