The Great Tommy Tomlinson Discusses His Emotional Piece On Dean Smith

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(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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Former Observer writer, Tommy Tomlinson, who wrote the emotional piece on Dean Smith for ESPN, joined Mac and Jim to discuss the piece and his time writing it.

On the difficulty of writing about this topic: It’s not hard on the writer in the same way, that its hard if you’re experiencing it, but part of what we do, when we write stories, is absorb the emotions that are going and try to translate that into the story, so the reader can feel the same things. Certainly there were some difficult conversations and some emotional moments and that does stick with you. I’ll never forget those conversations or those feelings.

On Dementia: It’s such a cruel thing and people just basically disappear into their own heads, but you know the person is in there, somewhere. You wait and work for these little glimpses.

On Dean creating the Carolina family: Part of what he did to create the family, is he stuck around. He was the head coach for 36 years and that stability was important. Also, the fact that he was so succesful. He won 20 or more 27 years in a row and that’s an astonishing record. People knew, year after year, that he was going to put a great team on the floor. He stood for something more than just having a good basketball team and people definitely responded to that. I’ve heard from lots of people who were fans of other schools and hated Carolina and Dean, when he coached, but now sort of admire what he built there.

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