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Live Fearless: Brad Daugherty on Coach Dean Smith, Success, and Moving Forward

By Chris Privett | March 5, 2015 | Explore NC

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Born in Black Mountain, NC, Brad Daugherty rose to basketball stardom at UNC and in the NBA. Since 1994, he has covered both basketball and NASCAR for ESPN. He is an owner of JTG Daugherty Racing, which captured its first Sprint Cup victory in 2014. The Brad Daugherty Foundation supports charitable work in Western North Carolina. Brad also serves as the National Chairman of Hoops Against Hunger.

Brad has seen his share of setbacks as well as successes, during a life built on the strong work ethic and goal-setting that he learned from his parents and mentors like Coach Dean Smith.  Brad shared his story, and told us how he lives fearless.

What was your experience playing for Coach Dean Smith, and what lessons did you take away from that experience?

Coach Smith epitomized everything you want a leader or mentor to be in a young person’s life. He always made you think. At every practice he would give us a “thought of the day.” It might be a Bible verse, or a line from some philosopher. We had to memorize them. I was having enough trouble trying to learn the plays.

What did you take away from Coach Smith that helped you succeed later in life?

He made me realize I needed to have goals that were truly outstanding and work hard and strive toward those things. That I could measure my own success, but that I had to set the bar high. He taught me that you learn through hard lessons, and that you’re going to bump your behind a lot along the way. Coach Smith was my voice of reason. Like a lot of his players, I talked to him almost every week, long after I’d quit playing. He’d give me career advice, financial advice.

Read the rest of the conversation here at