CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) – The United States Basketball Writers Association recognized former UNC men’s basketball coach Dean Smith on Wednesday by announcing a new award in his honor.
The Dean Smith Award will be presented annually by the USBWA to an individual in college basketball who embodies the spirit and values Smith represented throughout his legacy.
“We are proud to honor the legacy of Coach Smith,” said USBWA President Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports. “Dean Smith was not simply a coach who won, but a coach who educated outside the gymnasium, who demonstrated a concern for his players beyond their athletic ability, who had an active voice on social issues and was and agent for positive change.”
Smith died in February at the age of 83. He led the Tar Heels to two national championships in his 36 seasons with the team. He also won an Olympic gold medal in 1976 and was inducted into basketball’s Hall of Fame more than a decade before he retired from coaching.
In 2013, President Obama awarded Smith the nation’s highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
“The USBWA has a long history of supporting college basketball and honoring the men and women who make our game great, so I am thrilled that the USBWA would honor Coach Smith’s legacy with this award, said Roy Williams, UNC men’s head basketball coach. “The award will be especially meaningful because its criteria go beyond winning games in selecting people in college basketball who have made a significant impact on their communities.”
The USBWA was founded in 1956 and is made up of journalists who cover college basketball.