March 26, 2015 / 8:29 PM / 4 years ago

Late U.S. basketball coach Dean Smith's final task for players: Dinner on me

Former head basketball coach at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Dean Smith (C) listens as Roy Williams answers questions from the media during a press conference held at the Dean E. Smith Center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina April 14, 2003 REUTERS/Ellen Ozier

(Reuters) - The late Dean Smith had one final task for those who played for him during his 36 years as basketball coach at the University of North Carolina: Go out for dinner on him.

Smith, a Hall of Fame coach who died last month at age 83, directed his trust in his will to give $200 to every person who won an athletic “letter” for achievement, about 180 in total.

Each player received a letter from Smith’s trustee, Tim Breedlove, saying in part: “Enjoy a dinner out compliments of Coach Dean Smith.”

“It was indicative of the man Dean Smith was,” Breedlove told Reuters on Thursday. “It’s one more example of his thoughtfulness.”

Smith was the head coach at North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 1961 to 1997, compiling a record of 879-254.

He won two national championships, in 1982 and 1993, and reached the Final Four of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Men’s Basketball Tournament 11 times.

Reporting by Steve Ginsburg; Editing by Peter Cooney

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