54. Dean says goodbye
When Hall of Fame coach Dean Smith left the RCA Dome floor in Indianapolis on March 29, 1997, his team's usually efficient offense and national title dreams broken by the Arizona Wildcats in the national semifinals, fans (as they do) almost immediately started pondering the chances of a long run the following season. They didn't know at the time it would be without Smith. Roughly five months later, he shocked everyone with his retirement, saying that after 36 seasons, he still loved teaching basketball but didn't have the same enthusiasm that he once did. The Tar Heels did return to the Final Four the following season, but under Smith's longtime assistant, Bill Guthridge.
-- Robbi Pickeral