Atta boy Roy: Williams wins title with Tar Heels
St. Louis, MO (Sports Network) – At long last, Roy Williams accomplished the
one thing missing from his already impressive career coaching resume, as North
Carolina beat Illinois Monday night to win the national championship.
The Carolina graduate, in his second year as head coach at his alma mater, is
one of the most respected coaches in the game. And now, no one can lessen that
by saying he never won the title.
Williams, the Kansas head coach for 15 seasons, took over the UNC program on
April 14, 2003, replacing Matt Doherty. He was also an assistant coach for
Team USA at the 2004 Olympics. Williams has coached teams that have won nearly
80 percent of their games, his players have been exemplary student-athletes
and his programs have been first-class in all aspects.
Four years ago Williams was the top choice to replace a retiring Bill
Guthridge at North Carolina, but he struggled with a decision to return to his
alma mater or remain at Kansas with a freshman class that included Nick
Collison and Kirk Hinrich.
He decided to stay in Lawrence and those two players nearly helped Williams
win a national championship. The Jayhawks reached the Final Four in his last
season and lost to Syracuse in the national championship game in New Orleans.
The 54-year-old Williams was born in Spruce Pine, North Carolina, grew up
outside of Asheville, attended the University of North Carolina and graduated
in 1972. He also played freshman basketball at the school.
Williams attended practices and took notes while watching the legendary Dean
Smith. Williams’ coaching career began in 1973 at a North Carolina high school
and he joined Smith’s staff as an assistant before the 1978-79 season.
During his 10-year stint with the Tar Heels, Williams learned from the master
and in 1988 he was ready to take over at Kansas when Larry Brown left after
guiding the Jayhawks to a national championship.
Just a few weeks after his July hiring, the Jayhawks were placed on probation
for violations that took place before his arrival. Williams guided his first
team to a 19-12 record and spent the next 14 years building the program into a
Williams posted a record of 418-101 at Kansas with nine conference titles and
led the Jayhawks to 14 NCAA Tournament appearances. Four of those teams went
to the Final Four and twice the Jayhawks lost in the national championship
The Tar Heels missed the NCAA Tournament in Doherty’s last two seasons.
Doherty, who played for Smith at North Carolina, was an assistant under
Williams at Kansas for seven seasons from 1993-99.
Doherty, hired after Williams turned down the job, had a record of 53-43 at
North Carolina and was forced to resign amid issues about player relationships
during the season.
Sean May scored 26 points in Monday’s game to lead the Tar Heels to a 75-70