This past weekend the world lost a basketball genius with the passing of Dean Smith at the age of 83.
Smith changed the game of college basketball during his 44 years as a coach, 8 years as an assistant coach at Kansas, Air Force and UNC and 36 years as the head coach at North Carolina. During those 36 years he racked up 879 wins, making him #4 on the All-Time Wins list, additionally he has 35 winning seasons, 26 NCAA tournament appearances, 13 ACC titles, 11 Final Fours and 2 National Championships. He also won 4 National Coach of the Year awards an Olympic Gold Medal, A Presidential Medal of Freedom and in 1983 he was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame and as a player he won a National Championship in 1952 when playing at Kansas.
He wasn’t just a coach, he was a mentor. He made sure his players excelled on the court and in the classroom and with a 96% graduation rate he rated as one of the best coaches academically. Even coaches and players that played against him had only nice things to say about him following his passing.
Because he was such a prominent coach in college basketball he had plenty of cards, mainly Press Pass, Donruss and Upper Deck including a number of limited parallels and official autographs. His autographs are going for well over $50 with some of them even being priced in the thousands.