I just received a phone call from a former D-1 basketball coach that I have known for a long time and worked closely with in the past. He just told me a coaching legend has passed away, however I have not seen anything on the internet or any other sources to confirm it. I consider this coach a very reliable source, but I am not comfortable enough to be the first to report it just in case the information is incorrect or their was some lack of communication to him. It is not a former UCLA coach who died (nothing to do with UCLA actually), but a legendary coach from back east. That is all I will say, but if is also safe to say that if this is true, it will have a big impact on the college basketball community. Part of the reason that I don't want to say too much is that I met this man several times, and he was a great person............and I am hoping it isn't true.
Nestor, I apologize for posting this if I am breaking any rules (ethically speaking) by posting info. that isn't public yet, and by not naming names. Please advise me or take down this post if that is the case.
If my source is correct, then the story will be public real soon. I am actually hoping it is false.
UPDATE: this was indeed a rumor, per this Chapel Hill station and the UNC Athletic Communications Director.
UPDATE X2: Smith's family sent a letter to former players and coaches Saturday, discussing the 79-year-old's health after generally declining to comment for privacy reasons. Smith's condition was described as a "progressive neurocognitive disorder that affects his memory." "He may not immediately recall the name of every former player from his many years of coaching, but that does not diminish what those players meant to him or how much he cares about them," the letter said. [Our prayers go out to Coach Smith and his family.]