Dean Smith’s loyalty extends to Greensboro’s natives, residents

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Dean Smith

By Jeff Mills/The Greensboro News & Record

GREENSBORO, N.C. – The telephone rang in the Granville Towers residence hall one day in 1975, and John “J.C.” Cohen recognized Betsy Terrell’s voice on the other end.

The kid from Greensboro, a guard on North Carolina’s junior varsity basketball team, knew there was only one reason Dean Smith’s secretary would call.

All these years later, he remembers it as if it were yesterday.

“Mrs. Terrell said, ‘Johnny, Coach Smith needs to talk to you,’” Cohen recalls. “So I ran down to the basketball office at Carmichael Auditorium as fast as I could. Coach Smith sat me down and told me, ‘Johnny, your playing days are over.’ I said, ‘Yes, sir.’ Then he said, ‘But we’d like you to be a student manager.’ And I said, ‘Yes, sir!’

“It’s one of the best things that ever happened to me.”

Dean Smith is gone. But his legacy is forever linked to Greensboro, and it’s a legacy that goes beyond the seven ACC tournament titles the Tar Heels legendary coach won at the Greensboro Coliseum.

Read more: The Greensboro News & Record