Dean Edwards Smith, simply known as Dean Smith, was a renowned American collegiate basketball head coach. He coached the basketball team at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for 36 years. He started coaching in 1961 and retired in 1997.
Having 879 career victories, Smith became the most successful men’s collegiate basketball coach, which was the NCAA Division I men’s basketball record at that time. He was titled the “coaching legend” by the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1983.
The icon sadly died on February 7, 2015. Smith was 83 years old when he passed away. Many people must be curious about his wife and his remaining family because he is a legend.
So, let’s know more about Dean Smith’s wife, Linnea Weblemoe Smith.
Who is Linnea Weblemoe Smith?
Linnea Weblemoe Smith is Dean Smith’s wife; moreover, she is the legend’s second wife. The couple got married in May 1976.
There is more to her other than being known as the wife of the icon. Linnea is a proud activist who is also known for her work on ESPN SportsCentury. She works as a researcher and consultant and is a psychiatrist by profession. Mrs. Smith’s works specialized in sexual violence, victimization, child trauma, and maltreatment.
UNC’s School Education described Linnea Smith as being “an advocate for exploited women and children.” So was noted when the university awarded the couple with the honorable “Peabody Award.”
Moreover, the duo welcomed two children together, daughters Kristen Smith and Kelly Smith. Dean Smith was married to Weblemoe for 39 years until he died in 2015. Not much information has been disclosed about their daughters. Hence, we can only assume they prefer to stay out of the limelight.
Dean Smith Was Married Twice
As mentioned above, Linnea’s husband, Dean Smith had married two times. His first marriage was in 1954 with Ann Cleavinger and Dean welcomed three children, two daughters and a son with her. The former couple’s daughters are named Sharon Smith and Sandy Smith, and their son is Scott Smith. The duo divorced in 1973.
After three years of the duo’s divorce, Smith had his second marriage with Linnea Weblemoe Smith.
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Married Until The Death Of The Coach
As mentioned above, the pair enjoyed a happy life with each other as a married couple for 39 years. However, it didn’t seem quite easy for the pair as the coach suffered from an illness that affected his memory. Dean Smith’s wife as she had to take care of him.
in an interview with ESPN, Linnea Smith described his illness in clinical terms as being “neurocognitive disorder with multiple etiologies.” It meant that Dean’s disorder had elements of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, vascular dementia, and the normal decline of old age. She further described it in two words, as being a “relentless loss.”
The coach would often forget his former players. Yet, he would always recognize they were people he knew and who cared about him, according to wife Linnea Smith. She would, nonetheless, never ask him if he remembered anyone or anything.
Due to his illness, Dean Smith had ceased most of his public activities. Weblemoe Smith accepted the Presidential Medal of Freedom honored to them by President Barack Obama on behalf of her husband in 2013.
It seems that Linnea Weblemoe Smith was really devoted to her husband. She has mentioned how it had been difficult for her to find help. Yet, despite all the hardships, she stayed with her life partner until his demise.
Linnea’s Life After Losing Her Husband
After his death, Dean Smith’s wife, a member of the board of Make Way Partners, continued with her social work activities. In 2016, Linnea urged advocates and lawmakers to plan a strategy for addressing Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
Linnea Smith mentioned how no one is exempt from developing a neurocognitive disorder no matter how successful one is or how remarkable their memory is. She seeks to spread awareness about the illness and help families who suffer from the disease.
We hope Linnea Weblemoe Smith is successful in her aspirations and leads a happy and successful life ahead.