• February 9, 2023

Roy Williams, UNC Basketball Coach Retires : NPR

Roy Williams of the University of North Carolina is retiring as the college basketball head coach after 33 seasons and 903 wins. He led the tar heels to three NCAA championships. Gerry Broome / AP Hide caption

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Gerry Broome / AP

Roy Williams of the University of North Carolina is retiring as the college basketball head coach after 33 seasons and 903 wins. He led the tar heels to three NCAA championships.

Gerry Broome / AP

After 33 seasons as head coach in men’s college basketball, Roy Williams hung up his pipe and called it finished. The head coach of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill announced his resignation Thursday morning.

The 2007 Naismith Hall of Fame candidate led the UNC Tar Heels to three national championships, winning titles in 2005, 2009 and 2017. Williams also led the UNC to two more Final Fours, nine ACC regular season titles, and three ACC tournament championships.

“It was a thrill. It was incredible. I loved it,” Williams said at a press conference at the Smith Center on Thursday. “Nobody has ever enjoyed training as much as I have … I no longer feel like the right man for this job.

“I’ve never had a day that I didn’t do my best. Not a single day. I took great care of my school. I took great care of every player. I’m really proud of what we have achieved. “

Williams, 70, is from Marion, NC, and is a 1972 UNC Chapel Hill graduate. He left his bench on the Tar Heels as one of the most successful college basketball coaches of all time.

During his coaching career – which also included 15 seasons at the University of Kansas – he won 903 games. He hit that mark faster than any coach in men’s college basketball history and is the only coach to have won at least 400 games in two schools. Among the Division I head coaches, he’s the third all-time overall winner, behind only Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim and Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski.

“Roy’s fingerprints will forever be in the sport of college basketball and the Atlantic Coast Conference in particular,” ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips said in a statement. “We wish him (his wife) Wanda and his entire family all the best as he begins this next chapter in an amazing life.”

Williams coached 52 players who would later play in the NBA, 32 of whom were selected in the first round. Williams also coached 17 first-team All-Americans.

After 33 years as Head Coach of the Hall of Fame, our beloved Tar Heel Roy Williams announces his retirement.

Thank you for all you have done and meant to everyone who play and love our game.

Release 🔗: https://t.co/l6y5tRjB2I pic.twitter.com/FzTUmbx3v1

– Carolina Basketball (@UNC_Basketball) April 1, 2021

“I’m sad he’s leaving because he meant so much to basketball,” said Tar Heel basketball legend Michael Jordan the Charlotte Observer. “(Williams) and my father made an incredible bond that meant so much to me.”

Before becoming head coach in Kansas, Williams was an assistant at UNC under Dean Smith for 10 seasons. Prior to that, he was the head coach at Owen High School in Black Mountain. He has been training young men in basketball for 48 years.

“I was never close to what Coach Smith did, but I tried every day to make him proud,” said Williams.

He took over the helm of the Jayhawks in 1988 and led Kansas to four final fours and four conference tournament championships in 15 seasons.

Williams was finally lured back to UNC in 2003, six seasons after Smith – his mentor – retired. Under Williams’ observation, UNC had a home record of 444-57, a gain of 88.6 percent. His last game at the Dean Smith Center was an 18-point game Victory over rival Duke. In his 18 seasons at UNC, the Tar Heels were the only men’s team to win three national championships. Williams had only lost one season in his North Carolina tenure, a record 14-19 in the 2019-20 season. In his 33 years as head coach, he missed the NCAA tournament only two more times: his first season in Kansas and 2010 a run to the NIT final with UNC.

In his last game at the top of the tar heels, UNC lost to Wisconsin in the first round of the NCAA tournament last month. It was Williams’ only loss in the opening round and his 30th overall game in the tournament. Williams was 45-13 all-time in the NCAA with the tar heels.

Mitchell Northam Roy Williams, a 2007 Naismith Hall of Fame candidate, led the UNC Tar Heels to three national championships, winning titles in 2005, 2009 and 2017.

“The last two years have been really tough,” said Williams.

Throughout all of this, Williams always had the respect of his colleagues.

Greetings to UNC head coach Roy Williams on a legendary 48-year career. With all due respect. Thank you for all you have done for the game, our league and the greatest rivalry in sport. 🤝

– Duke Men’s Basketball (@DukeMBB) April 1, 2021

I don’t have the words to write a message to describe the impact Coach RW has had on my life! Congratulations on becoming a legendary career coach, we will miss you 🐐

– Marcus Paige (@ marcuspaige5) April 1, 2021

“He was a fantastic ambassador for our great sport,” Florida state head coach Leonard Hamilton said in a statement. “The landscape of college basketball has changed tremendously, but the Carolina tradition through Roy Williams is stronger than ever. He is a Hall of Famer in every way.”

Williams said he doesn’t know what the future will bring, whether he will be involved in basketball in any way in the future, but he knows he won’t be training again.

“I would love to be an ambassador for the game and an ambassador for coaches,” said Williams. “Because coaches are my heroes.”

Jack

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