Presidential Medal of Freedom

Dean Smith, others will get Presidential Medal of Freedom Nov. 20

acarter@newsobserver.comOctober 23, 2013 

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With a table full of reporter's tape recorders to his left, former UNC basketball coach Dean Smith answers questions relating to the 50th anniversary of the ACC and the pivotal role he has played in its history.

SHAWN ROCCO — NEWS & OBSERVER

President Barack Obama on Nov. 20 will present the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Dean Smith and 15 others, the White House announced on Wednesday. The recipients had been announced in August.

Smith is one of 16 individuals who will receive the nation’s highest civilian honor, which, according to the White House, is awarded “to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”

Smith, who coached the men’s basketball team at North Carolina from 1961 through 1997, retired as the most victorious coach in the history of the sport. He has suffered in recent years from a neurological disease that affects his memory, and he hasn’t made a public appearance in years.

It's unclear who will represent Smith at the medal ceremony, said Steve Kirschner, a UNC athletic department spokesman.

Elsewhere

Georgetown: Georgetown says the NCAA has cleared center Josh Smith to play basketball immediately, starting with the Hoyas’ opener against Oregon in Seoul, South Korea.

Georgetown adds Wednesday that Smith was granted a waiver for last season, when he played in six games before transferring from UCLA, meaning he has two years of eligibility remaining.

Coach John Thompson III says Smith, listed at 6-foot-10 and 350 pounds in the Hoyas’ media guide, “has to maintain a high level of commitment on and off the court.”

Georgetown faces Oregon on Nov. 8.

Shaw: Fans will have a chance to meet the 2013-2014 Shaw men's basketball team Monday night when the school hosts its first Midnight Madness at C.C. Spaulding Gymnasium on the Shaw campus.

The introduction of the men's team will be only part of the event. Doors will open at 10 p.m. with a DJ providing entertainment until activities begin at 11 p.m.

The Shaw cheerleaders – the Chi-Chis – will perform and give away prizes.

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