Members of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association have been talking about an honor for the late UNC men's basketball coach Dean Smith since the Final Four at the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament in April.
And at a press conference Wednesday morning in the Smith Center, the association officially announced the concept for the new award it will sponsor in partnership with UNC. Few specifics on the award were discussed, though Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports said the criteria is going to be open-ended.
"That’s really what we’re seeking to honor here, people who have had an impact on the game and on the people around them, outside of just college basketball and on the court," Forde said. "What they do with players outside, what they do in society. Coach Smith was never afraid to have a voice in that area."
Present at the announcement to further elaborate on the award were John Feinstein of the Washington Post and Dana O'Neil of ESPN. Joe Mitch, executive director of the USBWA; Dean Smith's son, Scott, UNC Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham and North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams also made appearances at the press conference.
"The winner's going to have nothing to do with wins and losses because Dean was about so much more than wins and losses," Feinstein said. "The causes that he stood up for, the lives that he touched throughout his coaching career and after his coaching career — that's what this award is about."