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Dean Smith Unplugged
Alexander Wolff
December 22, 1997
Though we didn't hear from him in the previous pages, Dean Smith does have something to say. He recently sat down with SI senior writer ALEXANDER WOLFF to share his reflections on nearly half a century in college sports. Paraphrasing Churchill and quoting Kierkegaard, Smith reminisced about a certain Chicago Bull and the long-ago NCAA final at which he cheered furiously against the Tar Heels. He mused about the current overemphasis on winning and about his careerlong struggle to keep victory in perspective. And he sounded off on what's wrong with college sports and how to fix it. Here are highlights from that conversation.
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December 22, 1997

Dean Smith Unplugged

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I don't mean to be holier-than-thou. I gamble on the golf course. I do enjoy the occasional beer, and certainly adults should have that choice. I just don't want our children and grandchildren to be encouraged to drink beer while they watch college basketball.

When you retired you said you wanted to spend more time with those children and grandchildren. What else will you be doing ?

Several Democratic party leaders talked to me about running against [Senator] Lauch Faircloth (R., N.C.) in '98, but my wife pointed out that the two things I liked least about coaching were giving speeches and going to functions. So I've talked to the university about teaching a seminar, maybe on sports and society. I want to teach a basketball coaching class, and I want to continue doing clinics in the off-season. I might do some commentary work for TV. And I'm going to be a consultant to the athletic department. That way I could serve on NCAA committees if I were asked.

There'll certainly be time for golf. I went to Augusta for three days in November and talked to Brad Faxon. I wish I could have gotten a putting lesson from him. You're never too old to learn.

I consider myself very lucky. I retired as a coach. Not many of us do.

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