‘No one has ever enjoyed coaching like I have:’ UNC’s Roy Williams retires

UNC

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) — Roy Williams, who led the University of North Carolina to three NCAA championships, is retiring after 33 seasons and 903 wins as a college basketball head coach.

The 2007 Naismith Hall of Fame inductee addressed the media at a press conference Thursday afternoon.

“I will say I am retiring, resigning as the men’s basketball coach at North Carolina. It’s been a thrill, it’s been unbelievable. I’ve loved it. Coaching and that is all I’ve ever wanted to do,” Williams said. “No one has ever enjoyed coaching like I have.”

Williams, a 1972 UNC graduate, just concluded his 18th season as the head coach at his alma mater. In addition to NCAA titles in 2005, 2009 and 2017, he led the Tar Heels to a 485-163 record, two other Final Fours, nine ACC regular-season championships and three ACC Tournament crowns.

His departure will open up one of the most coveted college basketball coaching jobs in the NCAA. Williams said he felt his time had come to move on past coaching.

“Everybody wants to know the reason and the reason is very simple, every time somebody asks me how long I was going to go, I would always say as long as my health allows me to do it. But deep down inside I knew that the only thing that would speed that up if I did not feel that I was any longer the right man for the job,” he said.

Williams says he won’t ever coach again but says he will continue to be useful to UNC and an ambassador for basketball and its coaches.

“Coaches are my heroes,” Williams said.

In his 48 seasons as a basketball coach, 33 were spent as a college head coach (18 at UNC, 15 at Kansas), 10 as an assistant coach at UNC, and five as head coach at Owen High School in Black Mountain, N.C.

Williams was inducted into the 2007 Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and his 903 wins are third all-time on the NCAA Division I wins list. He reached the 900 win plateau in fewer games (1,161) and seasons (33) than any coach in NCAA history.

He left UNC as the second-winningest coach in program history after former boss and mentor Dean Smith.

Williams is the only coach in history with at least 400 wins at two schools and compiled the sixth-highest winning percentage (.774) in NCAA history and was the third coach to take teams to the NCAA Tournament at least 30 times

He was voted as the consensus National Coach of the Decade (2000-09) and led UNC and Kansas to nine Final Fours, good for fourth most all-time.

Williams ends his career second in NCAA Tournament wins (79), second in No. 1 seeds (13), second in games (105), third in NCAA Tournament winning percentage (.745) and tied for fourth in NCAA championships and an NCAA-record eight wins over Associated Press No. 1-ranked teams.

OTHER CAREER HIGHLIGHTS

  • Second in NCAA history in 30-win seasons (12) and tied for fourth in 20-win seasons (29)

• Tied for fifth all-time with 18 regular-season conference championships

• Third all-time in ACC regular-season wins (212)

• Third-most ACC road wins (93) and fourth-highest ACC road winning percentage all-time (.604)

• Second-most wins (208) in first 300 ACC regular-season games

• 32 NBA first-round draft picks (22 at UNC, 10 at Kansas)

• 52 former players in the NBA

• Four National Players of the Year, six ACC Scholar-Athletes of the Year, 10 consensus first-team All-Americas, 17 first-team All-Americas and three Bob Cousy Award winners

• Only coach to coach two Academic All-Americas of the Year (Jacque Vaughn at Kansas, Tyler Zeller at UNC)

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