In 1961 a thirty-year-old, soft-spoken coach took over a basketball program that had been rocked by accusations and internal concerns regarding recruiting violations and the image of the team. Today that coach has won nearly 80 percent of his games, finished first in the Atlantic Coast Conference 17 times, won 12 ACC Tournament titles, one Olympic gold medal, an NIT trophy, and two NCAA championships. Among the athletes he has put on the court are players named Jordan, Stackhouse, Worthy, Perkins, and Wallace - ...
In 1961 a thirty-year-old, soft-spoken coach took over a basketball program that had been rocked by accusations and internal concerns regarding recruiting violations and the image of the team. Today that coach has won nearly 80 percent of his games, finished first in the Atlantic Coast Conference 17 times, won 12 ACC Tournament titles, one Olympic gold medal, an NIT trophy, and two NCAA championships. Among the athletes he has put on the court are players named Jordan, Stackhouse, Worthy, Perkins, and Wallace - no fewer than 24 NBA first-round draft choices. And the Dean Smith story - a story of competition, compassion, and basketball genius - is a saga unfolding today: a legend of American sports. This beautiful volume, illustrated with full-color photographs, is a basketball odyssey of three decades, from Dean Edwards Smith's first coaching job at the Air Force Academy (with the golf team) to his most recent and 22nd consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament. In between are lean years and great years, bitter defeats, stunning victories, and vintage Carolina comebacks as Smith took over the badly shaken Tar Heel program from the legendary Frank McGuire. The Dean's List will conjure up vivid memories for college hoop fans - such moments as the Tar Heels' injury-riddled run to the 1977 national title game and heartbreaking loss to Marquette, the fervent battles with archrival Duke, and the incredible NCAA championship victories over Georgetown in 1982 and Michigan in 1993. And here too are the contests waged outside the public eye - recruiting struggles for such players as Tom McMillen, David Thompson, and Phil Ford, as well as the racially charged controversy that surrounded North Carolina's first black scholarship athlete, Charlie Scott. Away from the court, we see the tough and tender personal qualities that have allowed Dean Smith to run a program beyond reproach and graduate 97 percent of his players.
Dean Smith may be the most respected and successful college basketball coach in the country. Since the early sixties, his teams have won two national championships, challenged for a half-dozen others, and racked up Atlantic Coast Conference championships annually. All this without a hint of scandal and with rosters of players who went on to graduate and become successful in a variety of nonsports endeavors. This celebration of the Smith era is just that--readers won't find a discouraging word amid the dozens of testimonials from former players such as Michael Jordan (who supplies a moving introduction), Charlie Scott, Billy Cunningham, George Karl, and Mitch Kupchak. Sandwiched among the more than 200 black-and-white photos is a history of the era, from Smith's rocky start in the early sixties, through the period of UCLA's dominance of the game, to his last 20 years of unparalleled success. There are plenty of exciting accounts of key games, and Chansky, who markets North Carolina basketball products, does an excellent job in providing a dramatic context for the action. One doesn't have to be a Tar Heel fan to enjoy this engaging account of college sports as they "should" be played. Expect a strong publicity effort and the marketability of the Jordan intro to stimulate interest.
ART CHANSKY is an author and sportswriter who has covered basketball on Tobacco Road for more than 30 years. By day, he is a sports marketing executive who developed an all-sports competition between Duke and Carolina called the Carlyle Cup. After graduating from UNC, he wrote for the Atlanta Constitution and was Sports Editor of the Durham Morning Herald for seven years. He has written The Dean’s List and Dean’s Domain on North Carolina basketball and Dean Smith. He lives with his family on the “Duke side” of Chapel Hill.