The University of North Carolina has received a gift of personal records and papers from legendary basketball coach Dean Smith, including several items from his Kansas days.
Smith, who died in 2015 at 83, won two NCAA championships as the Tar Heels’ coach and was a member of the 1952 and 1953 Kansas teams that finished first and second in the NCAA Tournament.
Among the 12,000 items in the collection:
▪ A cover page from Smith’s 1946 high school report on Emporia, Kan. (He received an A). Smith was born in Emporia and graduated from Topeka High.
▪ Handwritten notes by Smith for his acceptance speech upon receiving the Kansan of the Year award in 2001.
▪ A brochure from the 1952 KU team, and an invitation to the 1952 team’s reunion in 2007.
“Here is one of the most important figures ever associated with the University and, of course, his roots are in Kansas, so it’s really interesting to see how a persona develops and the way that Southerners embraced him as a part of the bigger story of southern basketball,” said Bryan Geimza, director of the Southern Historical Collection at North Carolina.
The collection is open to the public by appointment at Wilson Library in Chapel Hill, N.C.