Almost two months after the iconic coach Dean Smith passed away, his former players received a final farewell this week.
Tim Breedlove of Miller McNeish Breedlove & Hearn, the trustee of Dean E. Smith Revocable Trust, said he sent out letters to about 180 basketball letterman who played under Coach Smith on Monday. Each player was given $200 and told to “enjoy dinner out compliments of Coach Dean Smith,” according to letters posted on Twitter from appreciative players.
“Each player was important and special to Coach Smith and when he prepared his estate plan, Coach (Smith) wanted to reach out to each of his letterman. Accordingly, Coach directed that following his passing, each letterman be sent a two hundred dollar ($200.00) check with the message ‘enjoy dinner out compliments of Coach Dean Smith," the letter said. Each player received the same letter Breedlove said.
“It’s just one more example of his thoughtfulness and consideration for the people he loved,” Breedlove said. Smith passed away on Feb. 7, 2015 and a public memorial service was held at the Dean Smith Center two weeks later.
The bequests, which totaled $36,000, had been a part of Smith’s estate plan for a number of years prior to his death, Breedlove told WealthManagement.com on Thursday. “Estate plans are very personalized,” Breedlove said, but added that this type of bequest was not uncommon, just a simple request to a larger group of people.
Smith coached at the University of North Carolina from 1961 to 1997, retiring with 879 victories. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on May 2, 1983. North Carolina’s basketball offices helped Breedlove and his firm find contact information for all of the players, the attorney said.