Smith seeks 700th victory tonight

January 09, 1991|By Don Markus | Don Markus,Sun Staff Correspondent

CHAPEL HILL,N.C. — CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- When Dean Smith's first team at the University of North Carolina won eight of 17 games during the 1961-62 season, there were some around here who didn't want him to get a chance for No. 9.

"They hung him in effigy a couple of times," said Frank McGuire, Smith's predecessor at North Carolina.

Tonight, when the fifth-ranked Tar Heels play Maryland in a building named after the 59-year-old coach, he will be going after No. 700. Smith will try to become the sixth Division I coach in history to reach that mark.

"I really have trouble thinking about it," Smith said, downplaying the milestone reached by some of the game's coaching legends, including his coach at Kansas, Phog Allen. "I am trying to think about getting No. 12 this year."

If the Tar Heels beat the Terrapins, Smith would become the newest member of what is an exclusive 700 club. Aside from Allen (746), the list includes Adolph Rupp of Kentucky (875), Henry Iba of Oklahoma State (767) and Ed Diddle of Western Kentucky (759). *

"Sure, I have some great memories," said Smith, whose teams have won five Atlantic Coast Conference tournament championships and a national championship in 1982. "When you're at it a long time, you're going to win some games. I'm certainly fortunate to have had some of the players and the assistant coaches we've had here."

McGuire, living in retirement in Columbia, S.C., recalled when Smith was hired, first as his assistant in 1958 and later as Tar Heels head coach. Smith, who had been in the Air Force, had been an assistant basketball coach and head baseball coach at the recentlly opened Air Force Academy.

Former Falcons coach Bob Spear recommended Smith to Navy coach Ben Carnevale, an old friend of McGuire's. "I needed some help, and they told me about this young guy named Dean Smith," said McGuire. "I kidded him about his name, Dean. I wondered why he wasn't named Joe Smith."

When McGuire told the administration at North Carolina that he was leaving Chapel Hill after the 1960-61 season to coach the Philadelphia Warriors of the National Basketball Association, Tar Heels athletic director Chuck Erickson said he had someone else for the job.

"But the chancellor told Chuck, 'It's been decided,' and Dean got the job," said McGuire. "He sure as hell done the job."

And, 699 victories later, he's still got it.

Smith's 700th

Winningest Div. I coaches*

Coach School No.

Adolph Rupp Kentucky 875

Henry Iba Okla. State 767

Ed Diddle W. Kentucky 759

Phog Allen Kansas 746

Ray Meyer DePaul 724

Dean Smith N. Carolina 699

John Wooden UCLA 664

Ralph Miller Wichita St. 657

Iowa, Ore. St.

Marv Harshman Wash. St., 642


Norm Sloan The Citadel 627

N.C. State,


Smith's milestone victories

No. Date Opponent

1 Dec. 2, 1961 Virginia

100 Jan. 3, 1968 Wake Forest

200 Jan. 8, 1972 Furman

300 Jan. 25, 1976 Maryland

5400 Feb. 1, 1980 The Citadel

500 Dec. 3, 1983 Stanford

600 Feb. 11, 1987 Wake Forest

*-Minimum 10 head coaching seasons in Division I

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