Dean Smith Honored at UNC's Public Memorial Service in Chapel Hill

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIFebruary 22, 2015

CHAPEL HILL, NC - FEBRUARY 22:  UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt speaks during a memorial service for former North Carolina Tar Heels basketball coach Dean Smith of the  at the Dean Smith Center on February 22, 2015 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

A public memorial service was held for legendary North Carolina Tar Heels basketball coach Dean Smith on Sunday at the Dean E. Smith Center in Chapel Hill.  

Smith coached UNC for 36 years, compiled 879 career victories and guided the powerhouse program to two national championships. He passed away on February 7 at the age of 83.

ESPN.com's Gene Wojciechowski was on the scene to report the initial details from the service, along with a fitting summary of the proceedings:

Inside Carolina captured an image of an essay about Smith featured in the service program:

Numerous past players were present, per Carolina Basketball:

Former UNC star and retired NBA veteran Billy Cunningham was the first player to speak.

Carolina Basketball logged Cunningham's key quotes:

The university's official Twitter account documented what school chancellor Carol Folt, the first to speak at Sunday's service, had to say about Smith:

Former Tar Heel walk-on Mickey Bell played for Smith in the 1970s, and he shared his thoughts to the North Carolina faithful, via The Associated Press' Aaron Beard:

Bell hinted at the one-of-a-kind mark Smith left—and how he refused to rest on his laurels in spite of all the deserved praise and recognition:

Another past North Carolina standout in Phil Ford, who also coached with Smith, spoke about attending the funeral of a rival program's coach, and then proceeded to explain how he feels now that Smith has passed away:

A great musical interlude paid tribute to Smith's penchant for jazz before Brad Daugherty took to the podium.

One major takeaway from Daugherty's speech echoed some of what Ford had said, including the concept of loyalty:

First to represent the 1990s decade was Eric Montross, who was at North Carolina from 1990 to 1994. Montross observed how many of the pillars from Smith's lengthy era were seated before him:

Antawn Jamison also stood and delivered his memories from his time playing under Smith, which was followed by an a cappella vocal performance of "Amazing Grace" by the UNC Clef Hangers.

Past UNC system president and Smith family friend Erskine Bowles and current Tar Heels coach Roy Williams also spoke.

Before Williams spoke, Smith's children, Scott and Kristen, addressed the audience:

The large gathering gave Williams a warm reception, as UNC student Taylor Sharp revealed:

An assistant under Smith before taking the helm at Kansas and then in Chapel Hill, Williams sensed the silver lining amid the service:

Williams took a page out of Smith's playbook in the team's first home game since Smith's passing on Saturday, courtesy of SportsCenter:

Although Williams expressed disappointment that the home crowd wasn't more enthusiastic during the 89-60 rout of Georgia Tech (h/t USA Today's Nick Schwartz), Sunday's service cast the spotlight on Smith exclusively.

Smith made a profound impact on many young men during his historic tenure at North Carolina. For all his coaching brilliance, Sunday's memorial service showed how much Smith meant away from the glorious hardwood to players, fans and everyone involved with the program.

The tribute was fittingly held in the basketball arena named in Smith's honor. That ensures his epic legacy in Chapel Hill will endure.

Note: Coaching stats courtesy of Sports-Reference.com.

Related

    Duke Believes Zion's Eligibility Not Compromised

    College Basketball logo
    College Basketball

    Duke Believes Zion's Eligibility Not Compromised

    newsobserver
    via newsobserver

    It's Now or Never for These NBA Hopefuls

    College Basketball logo
    College Basketball

    It's Now or Never for These NBA Hopefuls

    Jonathan Wasserman
    via Bleacher Report

    Injured Shareef O'Neal Not Giving Up on Basketball Career

    College Basketball logo
    College Basketball

    Injured Shareef O'Neal Not Giving Up on Basketball Career

    Mike Chiari
    via Bleacher Report

    Calipari Shares His Solution for the Future of College Basketball

    College Basketball logo
    College Basketball

    Calipari Shares His Solution for the Future of College Basketball

    Drew Franklin
    via Kentucky Sports Radio