By Ken Reed
Legendary North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith passed away on Saturday. He leaves an amazing legacy — on and off the court.
Dean Smith’s impressive coaching record:
27 straight 20-win seasons
33 years in a row of finishing in the top 3 of the ACC
22 seasons of at least 25 wins
13 consecutive Sweet 16 appearances
11 Final Fours
2 National championships
Just as impressively, Smith had a 96.6% graduation rate (30% who went on to some type of grad school). He broke the color barrier in most of the ACC and at UNC when he recruited Charlie Scott, and he helped integrate Chapel Hill, North Carolina by going to his favorite restaurant with a black student. He also helped a black grad student get a home in a previously all white area of Chapel Hill. He campaigned against the death penalty, fought for civil rights for gays and lesbians, and protested nuclear proliferation.
His program never had a single NCAA violation. He was known for his strong ethics, clean program, and stressing character with his players.
He always pushed team play over individualism and was one of the most creative and innovative coaches ever. Some things he’s credited with inventing: the 4-Corners offense, using a quote of the day at practices, having players point at teammates to acknowledge passes/assists, using the tired signal when players needed a break, double-teaming the screen and roll, the run and jump trapping defense, the team huddle at the FT line, and the Carolina fast break.
When players made a bad pass, he would yell “Nice idea!” and clap his hands. He used this positive approach with players because Phog Allen, his coach when he played at Kansas, would berate him for mistakes and immediately pull him from the game.
And he did it all with class.
His secretary said he treated everyone in the program, from secretaries to team managers, to the last person on the bench, the same way: with empathy, caring, and humility.
“Dean Smith is the best person I have ever known and no one else is even a close second,” said Eddie Fogler, who played for Smith and later coached under him and became a successful head coach himself.
Quite a life — as a professional and human being.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #32 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Prolific Author Joe Posnanski Joins the Show – Posnanski is one of America’s best sportswriters and has twice been named the best sports columnist in America by the Associated Press Sports Editors. We chat about his new book, “Why We Love Baseball,” his new Substack newsletter called Joe Blogs, and we cover topics including how baseball treats its fans, MLB’s numerous rule changes this past season, how the sport can become more fan-friendly, the greatness of Negro Leagues champion Buck O’Neil, and much more.
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Episode #31 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Foul Ball Safety Is Still an Important Issue at Ballparks – Our guests are Jordan Skopp, founder of FoulBallSafety.com and Greg Wilkowski, a Chicago based attorney. We discuss the historical problem of foul balls injuring fans and why some teams are still hesitant to put up protective netting in some minor league and college baseball parks.
Episode #30 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The State of College Athletics with Dr. David Ridpath: Problems and Potential Solutions – Ridpath is a sports administration professor at Ohio University and a member of The Drake Group, a college sports reform think tank.
Episode #29 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Honorable Tom McMillen Visits League of Fans’ Sports Forum – McMillen is a former All-American basketball player, Olympian, Rhodes Scholar and U.S. Congressman. We discuss the state of college athletics today.
Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world. We discuss problems in youth sports today.
Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- Reed Appears on Ralph Nader Radio Hour League of Fans’ sports policy director, Ken Reed, Ralph Nader and the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner discussed a variety of sports issues on Nader’s radio show as well as Reed’s updated book, How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan. Reed's book was released in paperback in February, and has a new introduction and several updated sections.
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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