Ailing Smith Undiminished

Ailing Smith Undiminished

Dean Smith waved, but he did not speak. The crowd at the North Carolina alumni basketball game in February kept chanting Thank you! Thank you! as he walked off the court and into the tunnel.

It was quieter under here, a place Smith had been thousands of times, in a building named after him. But he looked disoriented. His eyes darted around the space. He took off his suit jacket, and his shirt showed the sweat.

"You did fine, Coach," said current UNC coach Roy Williams. Then he paused. "You feel OK?"

"Yeah," Smith said, still glancing around the tunnel. "Yeah, I think."

It has been an open secret for months among people close to North Carolina basketball: Dean Smith, the legendary Tar Heels coach, is facing health issues.


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