Three-time NCAA champion with North Carolina, coach Roy Williams retires
Eliminated in the first round of “March Madness” with his Tar Heels, the Hall of Famer coach with three NCAA titles has decided to retire. At 70 years old.
Introduced to the Hall of Fame in 2007, Roy Williams is one of the great totems of American college basketball, forever attached to North Carolina. But at 70, the Tar Heels coach decided to hand over.
A product of Chapel Hill, he studied and played basketball there, under the command of the legendary Dean Smith, where he mainly helped with statistics and the organization of summer camps. It is therefore natural that he quickly returned as an assistant to the latter, in 1978. Invaluable in the recruitment of Michael Jordan, in particular, he took off on his own ten years later, in 1988, by being appointed to the head of the Kansas team, replacing Larry Brown, who was then leaving for the NBA. He remained in charge of the Jayhawks until 2003.
During his 15 years in Kansas, Roy Williams took his team four times to the Final Four, losing two finals (1991 and 2003). There he coached some future NBA stars, such as Paul Pierce, Raef LaFrentz or Kirk Hinrich.
One of six coaches with three NCAA titles
Already very close to taking the reins of the Tar Heels in 2000, it was not until 2003 that he made his big comeback in his heart school. Two years later, he clinched his first college title with Sean May, Rashad McCants, Raymond Felton and Marvin Williams. He did it again in 2009, with a band led by Tyler Hansbrough, Wayne Ellington, Ty Lawson and Danny Green. Beaten in the final in 2016, he finally won his third title in 2017.
What to offer a solid gold CV to Roy Williams, who is one of the six coaches to have won three university titles, with John Wooden (10 titles, UCLA), Mike Krzyzewski (5 titles, Duke), Adolph Rupp (4 titles, Kentucky), Jim Calhoun (3 titles, Connecticut) and Bob Knight (3 titles, Indiana).
But the past few seasons have been more complicated for the coach with 33 NCAA seasons and 903 wins (for 264 losses), the third total in NCAA Premier Division history. Faithful to an “old-fashioned” game, with interiors that do not differ, or very little, it has thus somewhat missed the evolution of the game in recent years and therefore leaves it to its successor to pass North Carolina in the modern era.
North Carolina Tar Heels basketball coach Roy Williams retires
Roy Williams, who led North Carolina to three NCAA titles in his 33 seasons as college basketball head coach, is retiring, the school announced Thursday.
Williams, 70, after a 48-year coaching career, will hold an on-field press conference named after him at 4 p.m. ET on Thursday.
Williams spent 18 seasons at UNC, going from 485 to 163 while leading the Tar Heels to national titles in 2005, 2009 and 2017. He also coached the Kansas Jayhawks for 15 seasons, leading them to four Final appearances. Four, before leaving for his foster mother.
UNC lost to Wisconsin in the first round of the NCAA tournament in their last game, which was Williams’ only first-round loss in 30 tournaments.
After 33 years as a Hall of Fame head coach, our beloved Tar Heel Roy Williams is announcing his retirement.
Thank you for all you have done and meant to everyone who plays and loves our game.
— Carolina Basketball (@UNC_Basketball) April 1, 2021
He ranks third all-time among Division I coaches in wins with a 903-264 record (.774 winning percentage), and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007. He is the only coach in NCAA history to post. 400 victories in two different schools.
In Kansas, Williams led the Jayhawks to nine regular-season conference titles and two domestic championship games.
After coaching for five years at Charles D. Owen High School in Swannanoa, North Carolina, Williams began his college career as an assistant under Dean Smith in North Carolina. After 10 seasons on the UNC bench, Williams moved to Kansas to replace Larry Brown in 1988.
In 15 seasons with the Jayhawks, Williams won nine regular-season conference titles and went to 14 NCAA tournaments, four times in the Final Four and twice in the national title game.
After losing in the national championship game in 2003, Williams decided to return to Chapel Hill.
This was not Williams’s first alliance with Tar Heels work. He succeeded UNC in 2000, after Bill Guthridge retired. Two years after replacing Matt Doherty, however, Williams broke through for his first National Championship in the first of five Final Fours with the Tar Heels.
He led the Tar Heels to the NCAA tournament in all but two of his seasons. North Carolina has won nine CCA regular season championships and three conference tournament titles under Williams. In addition to his three national championships, Williams led the UNC to two other Final Four appearances.