Dean Smith Q&A (w/audio)

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- With his all-time NCAA Division I win record about to be broken by Bobby Knight, retired North Carolina coach Dean Smith spoke to reporters on Friday from the Smith Center. Read and listen to what he had to say ...

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Part I (14:02)
Part II (14:09)

On Bobby Knight nearing his record -

I'm going to cry about that. No, really… as it turned out, Eddie [Fogler], Roy [Williams] and Bill [Guthridge] talked about that before it happened. I don't think you should ever have coaches' total records. Bob is well-deserving, but it's something you do for your team. When we were over in Winston-Salem (after the 1997 NCAA second-round game in which he broke the record), I had no idea. I just went over and shook the Colorado coach's hand. All the players were so excited. Well, if they're excited, that's why were in this field. I'm sure it's the same for Bob Knight. It's never one of his goals, and it certainly wasn't one of mine.

Coach Knight and I go back so far, he's the coach at Army and Larry Brown is my assistant. We're in Pittsburgh and Coach Knight gave Larry and I a ride to Allentown to save money. He started talking and we've known each other for a number of years. I know him well. I'm happy for him. He's done a great job every place he's been. West Point, I know how tough that is. Then he went to Indiana and accomplished what he did there.

He can coach and teach. We're always happy for anyone in the coaching profession that does well. And we sure have one here in Chapel Hill, and it's not me.

He certainly knows the game and works hard at it. He's very big in the home recruiting. At one place… I was there first and he got him. He's sensational in the home.

On Williams approaching his 500th win -

I'm glad you brought that up… Coach Williams' percentage is fantastic.

Is there one trait that all great coaches share?

I don't know where we get great coaches; I guess they go by (wins and losses). Bob Spear at the Air Force Academy, whom I assisted, was a tremendous coach. Of course it's always great teams. Don't say the coach won this. I think in the coaching profession everybody has their own way of doing things.

On Knight's players he coached in the 1976 Olympics -

I'd be delighted to talk about that… Fortunately we got Scott May and Quinn Buckner. They hung around with our Walter Davis, Mitch Kupchak and Phil Ford. So consequently Scott was here a lot in Chapel Hill. I never dreamed he'd have a son come along that Phil Ford could recruit here.

Quinn and Phil were co-captains. I had individual meetings with (the players). With Scott, I didn't have to offer – he asked – ‘Well Coach, should I shoot more?' Coach Knight had given him the ‘green light.' And I thought he should have a ‘caution light.'

(Prior) to the '84 Olympics – as soon as our season was over – I called Bob and I said. ‘I don't want [Michael] Jordan and [Sam] Perkins to come if you're not happy with them, so let me know now.' And he said, ‘Oh no, they're on the team.' So I was happy about that, too.'

On whether he misses coaching -

The reason I quit coaching was I wasn't upset with it, I just got sick of going into homes and they'd say 'Will you coach my son four years?' I said 'I don't know when I'll retire, but I do I will name one of my assistants.' But still there was always that 'When are you going to retire?' and I thought I was hurting the recruiting process. I thought it'd be a good time [to retire].

On whether UNC should honor Frank McGuire -

I certainly have said that for a number of years. We stayed very close even when he went to South Carolina and after he retired [we stayed] very close. He brought excitement to Chapel Hill. Basketball wasn't that big until Frank McGuire arrived. Players respected him and it'd be nice to do it for the players. If he was alive, he'd say 'No big deal to me, but do it for the players.'


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