"He set the standard for loyalty and concern for every one of his players, not just the games won or lost," current North Carolina head coach Roy Williams said in a statement. "He was the greatest there ever was on the court but far, far better off the court with people."
The Tar Heels' rival, Duke University, tweeted its condolences, while Kentucky head coach John Calipari termed Smith "the most innovative and player-loved coach of his time."
Former UNC player Sean May, whose father was also coached by Smith, posted a photo of Smith to his Instagram account while NBA legend Kobe Bryant mourned "one of the greatest teachers our beautiful game of basketball has ever seen."
Smith, who coached innumerable players, including Michael Jordan, over his 36-year head coaching career and won 879 games and two NCAA championships, lived with advanced dementia late in his life.
- Will Green