For a quiet, unassuming guy who stayed home in Chapel Hill,
That afternoon, Tar Heel uber legend
Coach was. He was sitting on the couch in his living room and watching the vintage TV set mounted in the bookcase beside the stone fireplace. As he scribbled notes on his white notepad, his wife
Unlike Carolina's five other Final Four appearances since his retirement, Smith sought the peace and comfort of familiar surroundings. It isn't easy being a 78-year-old icon in a churning crowd that could love you to death. And it's even riskier when you haven't been the same after knee replacement surgery in December 2007.
Obviously, Smith liked what he saw, especially the balance of screaming offense and stifling defense that is always taught but rarely observed. Surprisingly, his coach's nerves didn't twitch when the Spartans rallied late in the second half to cut the Carolina lead to 13. "It's always tough to come back," he said after CBS had rolled
Smith's main thoughts reflected his pride in his former assistant's accomplishment. "This is coach Williams' night," he said. "I'm very happy for him. I sent him to Kansas and got him back here, and everything's gone smoothly."
And as for that Jordan fellow, Smith sounded sincerely bewildered by his praise: "Oh, my. That's nice of Michael. We all bow to him."