"A prayer for Dean Smith" is the title of a touching column written by a NC State student that has gone viral, and won praises from Smith's fans.
The NC State student has been widely complimented after penning the column in his school's student newspaper, in which he focuses on North Carolina coach Dean Smith ahead of Saturday's meeting between the Wolfpack and Tar Heels.
The student is a junior called Rob McLamb, and in the column he reveals his admiration for the Hall of Fame coach. He expresses his hope that Smith realizes the love towards him not just from Tar Heels fans but fans from their Tobacco Road rivals too.
The 81 year old coach, Smith, has been out of the limelight increasingly over recent years after reportedly suffering from a fading memory. According to reports, Smith's condition is very up and down, and some days he can be as sharp as he was in his heyday, whereas on other days his memory confuses him and sometimes stops him from even remembering his lifelong friends.
The following is an excerpt from the piece:
When Smith is having one of his better moments, it would be wonderful if he could just feel a warm breeze of love — the type of feeling people get when they look into the eyes of someone they care for unconditionally and see the exact same expression staring back. It would be an appropriate way to show gratitude for someone who gave so much to others.
Let the warm regard from each person who has had his or her life improved by Smith be combined to form a sustained feeling.
Let that feeling gain momentum all over the Triangle and the state. Let it be created right here, right now in Wake County and pick up steam as it reaches the gothic buildings in western Durham that represent a different shade of blue.
Here is a video tribute to Dean Smith on ESPN's Sports Century: