Each player who lettered under late North Carolina head men’s basketball coach Dean Smith is receiving a surprise gift from the coach himself: $200.
Smith, who died last month, willed the money to each former player in his trust. Tim Breedlove, who wrote the letters to the players, confirmed the gift to SI.com on Thursday. The letter from Miller McNeish & Breedlove, PA, reads, “enjoy a dinner out compliments of Coach Dean Smith.” The enclosed checks also included the notation, “Dinner out.”
Smith died at 83 on Feb. 7 at his North Carolina home. He was the head coach of the Tar Heels from 1961 to 1997, retiring as the winningest coach in college basketball. He led the Tar Heels to national championships in 1982 and 1993, to 13 ACC Tournament titles, 11 Final Fours, and an NIT championship, and directed the United States Olympic Team to a gold medal at the 1976 Summer Games.
Sports Illustrated estimated that during his time at UNC he coached 184 players.