It was made apparent yesterday that former and legendary UNC basketball coach Dean Smith, who passed away recently, left $200 for all of his former players from UNC.
Each of his players received a letter in the mail that they had been left $200 from their former coach with the notation, “Dinner Out.”
I was in awe after I saw this.
First, it just goes to show what a stand up guy, genuine, and caring coach Dean Smith was. To my knowledge I’ve never seen anything like this before, but I’m sure it will inspire more coaches, athletes, etc. to do the same act of kindness.
Coach Smith’s unconditional respect and love for his players brought back memories for myself for sure. I recently posted about the “comradery” I miss the most instead of playing my sport, hockey.
Sometimes people who didn’t play or were never necessarily a part of a team growing up don’t realize the special bond that could be formed and grown between teammates and their coaches. It doesn’t apply to all teams and coaches, but the memorable special ones – it could have a huge impact on your life.
Sometimes without knowing along the way and over the years a mentor, teacher, or coach may not even realize how he may have truly inspired and touched his players, and vice versa for that matter.
What Dean Smith did exemplifies just that. He and his players obviously had a unique and special bond that perhaps Smith and some of his guys didn’t come to fully appreciate until years down the road, but at the end of the day – they did.
I’m sure a follow up story will come out soon, but if I was one of those players I know the first thing I would do. I’d get right on my phone and make some phone calls to reach out to a group of guys, who to this day mean the world to me, and set up a little reunion.
Even if I hadn’t seen some guys in over a decade – the memories and appreciation for one another would still be present, and our laughs and conversations would feel like we were just with one another yesterday suiting up for a game or practice.
It’s the little things between coaches and their players that simply mean the world to each other and create lifelong relationships that were worth every minute of each other’s time.