Fellow Americans, if canvassers will make sure that any undecided voters hear about this endorsement, I can now say, with a certainty, that North Carolina will tip for Obama come Nov. 4th.
Today the Obama campaign sent to me an email with these signatures:
Coach Dean Smith and Linnea Smith
I assume many people will recognize this endorsement, but for those of you that don't follow me after the jump.
I am not a sports fan. I don't like football. I don't like baseball (Sorry, poblano). I don't like hockey. I really couldn't care less about NASCAR.
I don't like basketball, but being from North Carolina, I like Coach Dean Smith. Why? Because he's a winner, and everyone likes a winner. From 1966 to his retirement in 1997, the Tarheels never came in less than third in the ACC and when I was a teenager he took them to two National Championships. Here are a few of his other accomplishements.
- 879 wins in 36 years of coaching, 2nd most in men's college Division I basketball history behind Bob Knight. Adolph Rupp's 876 wins came after 41 years of coaching. Smith compiled a 77.6% winning percentage while coaching 1,133 games at an average of 31.5 games a season. Rupp coached 1069 games in 41 years at an average of 26 games a season with an 82.2% winning percentage.
- 77.6% winning percentage, which puts him 9th on highest winning percentage.
- Fourth total number of college games coached with 1,133.
- Most Division I 20-win seasons, with 27 consecutive 20-win seasons from 1970–1997 and 30 20-win seasons total.
- 22 seasons with at least 25 wins
- 35 consecutive seasons with a 50% or better record.
- Two national championships (1982, 1993)
- 11 Final Fours (second all-time to John Wooden's 12).
- 17 regular-season ACC titles, plus 33 straight years finishing in the
conference's top three and 20 years in the top two
- 13 ACC tournament titles
- 27 NCAA tournament appearances, including 23 consecutive.
- 96.6% graduation rate among players.
- Recruited 26 All-Americans to play at North Carolina under him.
When I was a teenager, I absorbed the comings and goings of all of the North Carolina teams; because, that was what everyone in school, at my work, and at my home where my Dad tried, vainly, to inculcate me with a love of sports talked about North Carolina college basketball daily--endlessly.
No one was more respected than Coach Dean Smith. Even Duke and NC State fans love the guy. You just need say the name and people from that era will light up and talk endlessly about the NC team during the 80's.
So, today I open my email and I see these words:
Linnea and I respect all that Senator McCain has done for our country. However, we feel strongly that it is Barack Obama who offers the real leadership our nation needs to tap its potential as a land of opportunity -- even as we face difficult times at home and abroad. Senator Obama is a patriotic American, a committed Christian, a good family man, and a man who shares the bedrock values that most North Carolinians have in common: fairness, hard work, respect for others, and personal responsibility.
There is more to the email, but that quote is the knife in the heart of the McCain campaign. William Ayres, no one knows him. Dean Smith, next to Billy Graham, he probably has the most name recognition to any North Carolinian aside from his most famous player Michael Jordan.
So, I know this isn't much of a Diary, but my heart is light and my day is now bright and I just wanted to let everyone know that North Carolina is now in the bag for Obama.
Updated: Wow. First time on the Rec list. WOOT! Thanks everybody.
I did some digging in Lexis-Nexis and I found no official endorsement of Kerry in 2004 or of Gore in 2000 that came over a newswire or was published in a paper or magazine. So, while a few comments have pointed out that Dean Smith is a lifelong DEM, it doesn't look as if he has endorsed in a very public or official way, in the last two Presidential cycles.
He did endorse Edwards in 2004 during the primaries.