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College Basketball

Smith, Coach K, Yow honored by Naismith

Posted June 29, 2011
Updated June 30, 2011

— Only on Tobacco Road could this scene unfold: Dean Smith slowly walked onto the stage, his arm held by Roy Williams, and sat next to Mike Krzyzewski. A few seats down was the sister of the late women's coach Kay Yow.

Smith, Krzyzewski and Yow — three Hall of Fame college basketball coaches who have combined for more than 2,500 victories at North Carolina, Duke and North Carolina State, respectively — were honored Wednesday night on "Basketball Day" in North Carolina.

Each point of the state's Triangle was represented and celebrated during a ceremony presented by the state's sports hall of fame, with each receiving Naismith Good Sportsmanship Awards for their contributions to the game by the Naismith International Basketball Foundation.

"You can't bring those three entities together and not have it be an incredible night," Krzyzewski said.

Krzyzewski enters his 37th season as a head coach with 900 wins — two shy of matching Bob Knight for the most by a Division I men's coach. Smith retired in 1997 as the record-holder with 879 wins. Yow, who died in 2009 after a two-decade fight with cancer, won 737 games during her career.

Duke's Mike Krzyzewski receives the Naismith Award Duke's Mike Krzyzewski receives the Naismith Award

"If anybody asked me who made ACC basketball, without a doubt, it's Coach Smith," said College of Charleston coach Bobby Cremins, a longtime rival of Smith's and Krzyzewski's from his time at Georgia Tech.

Then, he quipped: "I'm very proud of what I accomplished, and when I see what (Krzyzewski has) accomplished, I feel like a cockroach."

The 80-year-old Smith, who rarely appears publicly, didn't speak to the crowd and appeared on the stage for only about 10 minutes. Williams escorted him out and brought him to a seat between Krzyzewski and Charles Scott — the first black player in North Carolina history.

Duke's Mike Krzyzewski receives the Naismith Award Duke's Mike Krzyzewski receives the Naismith Award

As the crowd gave Smith a standing ovation, he beamed a smile and playfully bowed toward the audience to show his appreciation.

"I feel inadequate up here," said Williams, who spoke in place of Smith. "How do you represent Coach Smith?"

Smith led North Carolina to national championships in 1982 and 1993, took the Tar Heels to 11 Final Fours, won the ACC tournament 13 times and led the U.S. to the gold medal at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal.

"Lou Gehrig might have been the luckiest person in the world," Scott said. "But we who played for Coach Smith ... we are the luckiest people in the world."

Krzyzewski, passed Smith, his longtime rival, on the wins list in December. In more than three decades at Duke, he has taken the Blue Devils to 11 Final Fours — one shy of John Wooden's record — and won four national championships in a span of 20 years.

"What an amazing thing for us to recognize three giants in the history of the sport of college basketball," said Duke assistant coach Steve Wojciechowski, who presented Krzyzewski. "I think it's so fitting that we are talking about (not only) how much they won, but more importantly the way in which they won. All three coaches, they won with class, they won with integrity and no matter where they went ... everyone they touched wound up better for it."

Yow was remembered for her graceful fight against breast cancer, her gold medal-winning performance for the U.S. at the Seoul Olympics in 1988 and the Wolfpack's inspirational postseason run in 2007. That team, fueled by Yow's return from cancer treatments, upset undefeated and No. 1 Duke to reach the ACC championship game and advanced to the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament.

NCSU AD Debbie Yow receives Naismith Award in honor of sister Kay Yow NCSU AD Debbie Yow receives Naismith Award in honor of sister Kay Yow

"I'm still dealing with the fact that she isn't here," said her sister, N.C. State athletic director Debbie Yow. "She would be so proud ... (because) winning the right way did matter to Kay."

A moment of silence was held for former N.C. State men's player Lorenzo Charles. The hero of the Wolfpack's improbable run to the 1983 national championship was killed earlier this week in a bus accident.

62 Comments

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  • duke1man2002 Jun 30, 9:07 p.m.

    This should be a great story to speak about but AS USUAL there are some TARHOLES on here blabbing on about how Coach K curses!!! All 3 of these immortals are special and I guarantee that Dean used a curse word or 2 back in the day and lord knows he "OWNED" the refs!!!! Espcially Lenny Wirtz!!!!! But if it makes you CERTAIN tarholes happy to say what you say then more power to you!!! I personally think it is awesome that Dean ,Kay & K are all honored for their coaching and leadership over the years!!!! Just remeber tarholes, K=4 & Dean=2!!!!( NCAA TITLES THAT IS)!!!!!!!!!!!!! 900 wins and counting, 13 ACC tourney Titles, 11 Final Fours,5 straight Final Fours(88,89,90,91,92), 7 in 9 years(86,88,89,90,91,92,94) & 9 in 15 years. ONLY ACC coach to win back-to-back NCAA Titles!!! See I wouldn't have even gone into the numbers but you CERTAIN tarholes just had to blab off at the spout!!!
    GO DUKE GO!!!
    Congrats again, Dean, Kay & K!!!!!!!!!!! You all are special!!!!!

  • asjdiw Jun 30, 7:47 p.m.

    I am a Duke grad. Coach K started when I was a senior. I rooted for Russia when they played UNC. With age comes wisdom. Dean is a great coach. No argument. So sorry he appears to have dementia. All three coaches epitomize the winning ethos. Too bad the ACC doesn't have more like these fine coaches. We should be proud they coach/coached in the ACC.
    Let's go Duke!

  • GunnyGoesArrrgh Jun 30, 7:41 p.m.

    I guess we bloggers could really learn a lesson from their behaviour last night! Was proud to... View More

    — Posted by redistrumps

    Agreed, Bev. If the coaches and players can "play nice", we should be able to as well.

  • GunnyGoesArrrgh Jun 30, 7:36 p.m.

    Well I had the opportunity to go so I did with my lovely wife. Walked in and it was a who's who... View More

    — Posted by GhostofSmitty

    Well, smithy, you are one lucky SO B!(censors). Man, talk about a fantasy for someone who loves... View More

    — Posted by GunnyGoesArrrgh

    Yes, worst than me in some ways. Try to talk to her during a Tar Heel game and you might get... View More

    — Posted by GhostofSmitty

    Well, smitty, you must have a very happy marriage. I think it's great that your wife shares your love of sports. Imagine if you cheered for different teams! Luckily, that's not the case.

  • grasshopperrtp2 Jun 30, 6:14 p.m.

    I thank all three coaches for making the ACC the greatest basketball conference in America today.

  • Hokies94 Jun 30, 4:49 p.m.

    Well I had the opportunity to go so I did with my lovely wife. Walked in and it was a who's who... View More

    — Posted by GhostofSmitty

    Nice article. Like JGunn stated you are maybe lucky, but you're in the right circles. I can only imagine being in the presence of all of the great coaches, and people. I loved watching the video, and I only saw Coach K 15 minutes or so ago. I wrote an earlier one that Roy did a totally great job, as did Coach K.

  • Hokies94 Jun 30, 4:27 p.m.

    "Sauced."

    Thanks for displaying the depth of your intelligence. A true lady you are. ... View More

    — Posted by forautumn

    Good for you. I certainly didn't appreciate the cheap shot from jrj6950. He's like some of the ignorant people that think they know something about another person, and have never met them. I have given Coach K many accolades since I have been on here since 07. There are many on here that can attest to this fact too.

  • Hokies94 Jun 30, 4:21 p.m.

    When I commented earlier, I didn't have the time to hear all speakers. Coach K did a tremendous job. Never had one note. All from the cuff and the heart. It was great to hear these people talk about basketball in the tri-angle/ACC.

  • forautumn Jun 30, 3:35 p.m.

    "Sauced."

    Thanks for displaying the depth of your intelligence. A true lady you are.

  • BeastOnTheHill Jun 30, 3:03 p.m.

    New question for UNC entrance exam.
    The below information can be used to answer questions 1-4View More

    — Posted by mrwufabc

    I wonder lil childish Wu, How many different threads are you going to post this stupitity in? and, Do you think it's funny or witty?

    all it does is show how very very young you are, or act.

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