First National Championship for Dean Smith, 1982

Smith celebrates the Tar Heel's 1982 National Championship win by cutting down a net. Image from Pete Leabo/Associated Press.

Smith celebrates the Tar Heel’s 1982 National Championship win by cutting down a net. Image from Pete Leabo/Associated Press.

On March 29, 1982, Dean Smith won his first NCAA national championship with the Tar Heels men’s basketball team. The Tar Heels won 63-62 over the Georgetown Hoyas at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans.

Stars of the 1981-1982 season included junior forward James Worthy from Gastonia, sophomore center/forward Sam Perkins from New York and freshman guard/forward Michael Jordan from Wilmington. The championship win capped off an impressive season for the Tar Heels, who had a 12-2 record in the ACC and 32-2 record overall that year.

The championship game was tightly contested, and the lead changed 15 times over the course of the evening. The Hoyas were actually up 62-61 with just more than a minute of game time remaining, but after Georgetown called a timeout, Michael Jordan scored a jumpshot with 17 seconds remaining to put Carolina back on top.

Though it was his first national championship, Smith had led the Tar Heels to a number of NCAA regional championships, ACC regular season championships and ACC tournament championships throughout the 1960s and 70s.

He would go to win a second national championship with the Tar Heels before retiring from coaching in 1997. A Basketball Hall of Famer, Smith died in 2015.

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