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October 9, 1997
On October 9, 1997, Dean Smith stunned the sports world by stepping down as coach of the North Carolina Tar Heels after 36 seasons. This package offers a look back at The Washington Post's coverage of the retirement, its impact on college basketball and reaction at the university.
Heels Off Dean's List After 36 Years
As practice begins at two of the nation's top programs, there is a different feeling in the air for Duke and North Carolina. The Tar Heels are without Dean Smith, and the impact is being felt at both schools.
The End of an Era at North Carolina
Dean Smith (pictured), the dean of college basketball, ended one of the most successful careers in the history of the game on Oct. 9 with his retirement as North Carolina's basketball coach. Smith's 36-year run included two national championships, 11 Final Four appearances and a record 879 career victories. At a news conference, he cited a lack of enthusiasm for the game as his primary reason for stepping down. Longtime assistant Bill Guthridge will replace Smith as the Tar Heels' coach.
Guthridge Gets a Five-Year Contract
Moral Tone Led to Great Success
The outpouring of well wishes for Dean Smith has been incredible, with calls and comments from President Clinton and Michael Jordan. But as Post columnist Michael Wilbon
(pictured) writes, there are many more people with much lower profiles that owe the legendary coach a debt of gratitude.
Copyright 1997 WashingtonPost.com
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