Stretches of I-40 in Orange County to honor UNC coaches Dean Smith, Roy Williams

Orange County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Sections of Interstate-40 in Orange County will now honor former North Carolina men’s basketball coaches Dean Smith and Roy Williams.

On Wednesday, the North Carolina Department of Transportation formally approved a request by UNC-CH Athletics to honorarily name stretches of the interstate.

The Chapel Hill Town Council approved a resolution to support the request on Nov. 17.

Roy Williams Highway will run between exits 266-270 while Dean Smith Highway will be between exits 266-270.

NCDOT will place signs along those stretches to honor the coaches.

“Dean Smith and Roy Williams are two of the greatest to ever have coached college basketball,” said Gov. Roy Cooper. “And while their combined five national championships helped make UNC one of the premier basketball institutions in the country, it is their work off the court and in their communities that truly sets them apart. North Carolinians across the state are grateful for their leadership and these honorary road namings will help us recognize them for their hard work and sacrifice.”

Smith and Williams combined to coach the Tar Heels for 67 seasons.

The pair lead the Tar Heels to five total NCAA championships, 16 Final Fours, 16 ACC Tournament titles, 26 regular-season ACC championships, 33 top-10 Associated Press rankings and 1,364 victories.

The stretch of I-40 that honors Smith includes Highway 15-501 and Highway 54 – both of which lead directly to the basketball arena that bears his name, the Dean E. Smith Center.

“I’m flattered and consider myself to be a very lucky person to receive such an honor,” said Williams. “This came as a complete surprise. I never had an idea this was in the works. It’s something our family and friends will share with a great deal of pride and will mean even more years from now as our grandkids and their families can see those signs with pride and enjoyment.”

Williams retired as head men’s coach in the spring.

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