College Basketball

Dean Smith leaves players $200 for a dinner out

UNC coach Dean Smith congratulates point guard Jimmy Black after the Tar Heels defeated the Georgetown Hoyas to win the 1982 National Championship in New Orleans, April 7, 1982.
UNC coach Dean Smith congratulates point guard Jimmy Black after the Tar Heels defeated the Georgetown Hoyas to win the 1982 National Championship in New Orleans, April 7, 1982. 1982 News & Observer file photo

Dean Smith left each of the varsity letterman he coached at North Carolina $200 for a “dinner out,” according to a letter one of his attorneys sent to his former players that was posted to Twitter on Thursday.

Tim Breedlove, a Charlotte accountant who is the trustee of the Dean E. Smith Revocable Trust, confirmed the authenticity of the letter during a phone interview on Thursday.

Breedlove said on Monday he’d mailed “about 180” of the letters – with a $200 check enclosed – to Smith’s former players.

Breedlove said he was still tracking down the addresses of a few of Smith’s former players.

Smith died on Feb. 7 at 83. He became UNC’s head coach in 1961 and retired in 1997.

In the letter from Breedlove to Smith’s former players, they are directed to “enjoy a dinner out compliments of coach Dean Smith.”

“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.’ Enclosed is a check in the amount of two hundred dollars ($200.00) with the notation ‘Dinner out.’

Jeb Barlow, who played at UNC from 1980 to 1982, told ESPN thursday that the letter was a surprise.

“We never expected anything like this, but it doesn’t surprise me that this was done,” Barlow, told ESPN.

Serve Zwikker who played from 1993 to 1997, told ESPN he would not cash the check.

“I don’t think I can cash this,” he said. “If anything, I will donate it to a good cause.”

Carter: 919-829-8944;

Twitter: @_andrewcarter

Related stories from Charlotte Observer

  Comments