Obama honors UNC's Smith with Medal of Freedom

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by AP

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has honored retired North Carolina men's basketball coach Dean Smith with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, praising the Hall of Famer for a career full of wins on the court and societal change off it.

Smith was one of 16 recipients of the highest civilian honor for contributions to society. Smith was unable to attend Wednesday's ceremony at the White House due to health reasons. Obama presented the award to his wife, Dr. Linnea Smith.

Smith retired in 1997 after 36 seasons with the Tar Heels as the winningest coach in NCAA men's history with 879 wins. He won two national championships, reached 11 Final Fours, and won 13 Atlantic Coast Conference tournament titles. He led the U.S. men's team to gold in the 1976 Summer Olympics.

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