2023 Black & Gold Award
Dean Smith 1949 Known primarily as a collegiate basketball coaching hall of famer, along with Janet Nuzman, Dean Smith is another 1949 graduate. Dean attended Topeka High School his Junior and Senior years having previously attended Emporia High School. During his high school career, he was a four-year letterman in basketball, becoming all-state as a Senior. He also played quarterback on the football team and was a catcher on the baseball team. During his time at Topeka High School, Dean felt strongly that the all-black team, the winning Ramblers should be integrated with the talented all-white Trojan team. He and his Rambler friend, Jack Alexander, worked together to convince the administration to merge the teams. The year after Dean and Jack graduated, the two teams were, at last, integrated. Dean would go on and play at Kansas University, leading the team to the 1952 NCAA National Championship and 1953 Runners-Up. In 1961, Dean became the Head Coach of the North Carolina Tarheels. As the new Head Coach, he worked vigorously to provide black basketball players opportunities to play for what had been a primarily white program. During his time, he garnered an overall record of 879-254, won two NCAA National Championships, coached in 11 Final Fours, won 13 ACC Tournament Titles, 17 ACC Regular Season Titles, and one NIT Championship. In 1976, he was named the Olympic Head Coach, and the team won the Gold Medal. These accomplishments lead to him being an eight-time ACC Coach of the Year, and being inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame, the Basketball Hall of Fame, and the College Basketball Hall of Fame. In 2013, Dean Smith was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom.