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With the retirement of Roy Williams, college basketball has lost a great coach, though not everyone realizes

With the retirement of Roy Williams, college basketball has lost a great coach, though not everyone realizes

The most bizarre career of head coach Roy Williams is that he started from the top and went down – in terms of public perception – even though he achieved greater success, respect and wealth every day from July 8 onwards. , 1988.

Williams was applauded for his work as a Kansas coach in his first season, and when he reached the NCAA National Championship at the end of his third season, he was seen as a rising star. However, somehow, after winning four Final Fours in Kansas and a second title, returning home and returning to coach the North Carolina Tar Heels, he reached the 2005 title against Illinois. “Talent vs. Team.”

MORE: Top 10 candidates to replace Roy Williams at the UNC

His heels were not the “group” of that equation.

Don’t think you didn’t realize it. He was humble to say anything publicly, but he had every reason to worry.

And surely he felt it again in 2012, when he was named the “most valued coach” in the nation in an anonymous survey of college basketball coaches conducted by CBSSports.com staff and posted on his website. Williams had two NCAA championships and seven Final Fours on his resume at the time, and he still wasn’t close. He got 23% of the vote.

Here’s the hard part: Although Williams didn’t appreciate what he released, he would never want anyone to rise above Dean Smith himself, who trained in Carolina, and hired staff from Tar Heels, who recommended him to the former Bob. Frederick hired Williams from Kansas in 1988 to coach the Jayhawks even though Roy was 0-0. So we’re not going to do that.

We’ll let the numbers do it for us: Williams, 70, retired from college coaches on Thursday with more career wins (903), more NCAA tournaments (three), more NCAA Championship appearances (30), NCAA Championship wins (79) and regular season conference tournaments ( 18).

To fulfill Roy’s wishes, we’ll take more than say that North Carolina has never had a great basketball coach.

Everything Williams has won is fourth in the game’s history, behind Mike Krzyzewski, Jim Boeheim and Jim Calhorn. The last nine quarters are in fourth place, behind Krzyzewski, John Wooden and Smith. His three titles are in fourth place, behind Wooden, Krzyzewski and Adolph Rupp and tied with Calhoun and Bob Knight.

You see the names there, the man who has kept Williams company, and no one has ever respected the respect that William has had since he often returned to Chapel Hill.

The foreword to this 2005 title game is the most notable example. The “Talent vs. Team” framing was ubiquitous, enough for The Associated Press to refer to Tar Heels in a 75-70 win over Illini in a split game.

The construction was ridiculous to say they weren’t the right team. Williams and his staff worked hard to achieve this. Williams had to convince Marvin Williams, who would become No. 2 in that June NBA Draft, to accept the sixth-man role because he didn’t want to replace the prolific talented Jawad Williams. Rashad McCants had to get a volleyed wing to fulfill his role in attack and defense, which was no exception. He had to commit a crime around the giant low shot at the Sean May center, a view that was rarely the main feature of Kansas teams.

MORE: Qualifying for the Final Four teams to win everything

Williams won two more titles, in 2009 and 2017, with teams that were divergent in style and personality, and reached the other Final Fours that did not win a championship. In 2019, his Tar Heels won another ACC regular season title and another No. 1 pick but Auburn knocked out Sweet 16. His last game was in 8th place in the first round of the 2021 NCAA Championship, as Heels lost 23 points to Wisconsin.

Williams cried after that game, following the last game of a season as he often did. Most of them were defeats, because that’s the nature of the sport, but the champion manages to finish with the victory, and he did more than that.

“The last game is very moving,” Williams told reporters afterwards. “I’ve been very lucky; I’ve been in the locker room four times – one as an assistant, three as a coach, because the last game of the year was really emotional in a good way.

“My club, I didn’t do a very good job. It has been a difficult year. But we’ve all had problems with COVID. It’s been a tough year pushing and pulling, pushing and pulling something every other day. But how can you have more than Roy Williams is coaching basketball? “

You could be among us getting to see him do it. Is that luckier? Who will tell? Perhaps the end of his career will convince those who didn’t really appreciate him: Here goes Roy Williams, close to the best he’s ever been in this game.





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