Good Ol’ Roy-Ode to Coach Roy Williams
An Ode to Good ol’ Roy
Good ol’ Roy. Say that to any ACC basketball fan, and in particular, a Tar Heel fan, and there’s no question whether or not they know who you’re talking about. Well, good ol’ Roy Williams retired yesterday, and the Tar Heel faithful are left to reflect on a Hall of Fame career—and a Hall of Fame person.
Good ol’ Roy is synonymous with Carolina basketball. From his days as a student, to an aspiring coach, to Dean Smith’s assistant, to his triumphant return after the UNC program was teetering on the brink of mediocrity. He’s a lifer, and he’s made it his life’s work to keep the gold standard of NCAA basketball programs just that.
The wins, the banners, and the championships speak for themselves. But the relationships are what separate good ol’ Roy from many other coaches. He genuinely cares about his staff, his players, and the Carolina program. It’s evident in the way he carries himself, the way he interacts, and the way he has led the program since his arrival back in Chapel Hill.
I’ve had the opportunity of being around the UNC program quite a bit through the years—with one of my favorite roles as a summer camp coach. At Carolina Basketball School, if you’re ever asked to be the head of a gym during camp, it feels like a championship win. I’ll never forget good ol’ Roy coming into my gym during camp and calling me by name. How did he know MY name? It inspired me to do my very best for him and his staff.And it really is fact: once you’re in the family, you’re ALWAYS part of the family.
Good ol’ Roy deserved to go out on his terms—at his time. His press conference was filled with emotion, and, of course, typical Roy Williams humor. He chose not to ‘opt out’ (or quit, as he interprets the term). He retired, and he now has the chance to golf—and golf—and golf. And, of course, he can enjoy the many players who revere him and owe him so much as their coach, mentor, and friend.
It was a great run…a championship, Hall of Fame run. And Carolina remains the gold standard—thanks to good ol’ Roy.