Dean Smith won and tied on Thursday night.
With an 82-74 NCAA Tournament victory over Fairfield at Winston-Salem, N.C., the veteran North Carolina coach earned a tie with former Kentucky coach Adolph Rupp as the college game's all-time winningest coach.
Both the 66-year-old Smith, who has been at the Chapel Hill, N.C., school since 1962, and Rupp, who coached at Kentucky from 1931-72 and died in 1977, have 876 victories. Smith could surpass the record on Saturday afternoon when the East Regional's top-seeded Tar Heels play the winner of Thursday's late game between Indiana and Colorado. Indiana coach Bob Knight, with 700 wins entering Thursday's play, may be the only coach within reach of his mark.
"I'm just happy for all of my players who have won so many games over the years," Smith said after the victory.
Smith continues quite a legacy.
Dr. James Naismith nailed two peach baskets to the rails of 10-foot balconies in 1891. One of his disciples, Dr. Phog Allen, coached 48 years, winning 770 games and spawning the coaching careers of two of his players at Kansas - Rupp, class of '23, and Smith, class of '53.
"I think everyone who's ever played for him selfishly would like to say we all played for the winningest coach in the history of college basketball," said Eddie Fogler, a point guard for Smith in the late '60s, a longtime assistant afterward and now coach of South Carolina.
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