After 33 years coaching at the highest level in college basketball, North Carolina Tar Heels head coach Roy Williams has decided to retire. The school made the announcement this morning. Williams led the Tar Heels to three national championships, and compiled a record of 485-163 while in Chapel Hill. He also coached at Kansas for fifteen years, before taking the head job at his alma mater. He is the only coach in NCAA history to record 400 wins at two different programs.
Williams’ Legacy At UNC
Williams arrived on campus in Chapel Hill in 2003. He had just led Kansas to the 2003 national title game, where they lost to freshman phenom Carmelo Anthony and Syracuse. North Carolina had just had a mediocre season under Matt Doherty. Two seasons prior, the Tar Heels had the worst season in the program’s history. However, Williams inherited a lot of talent including McDonald’s All-Americans Sean May, Rashad McCants, and Raymond Felton. In his first year at UNC, Williams led the Tar Heels to a 19-11 record and an NCAA Tournament birth. They were knocked out in the second round by Texas.
The following year, 2004-2005, the Tar Heels returned to national prominence. They finished 33-4, and beat a very good Illinois team in the National Championship. The following season, after a huge exodus of seniors, the Tar Heels were knocked out in the round of 32. Williams went on to win titles in 2009, and 2017. His legacy will be remembered forever in Chapel Hill. The thing that will be remembered most about Williams? He swept “dook” in his final year. It will be a tough task to find a coach who can fill Williams’ footprint, but I have a couple of ideas.
Candidates To Replace Williams
- Billy Donovan: When the news first flashed on the television, my mind went straight to Billy Donovan. Yes, as many were clear to point out, Donovan has three more years on his contract with the Bulls. However, the NBA has General Manager’s and a salary cap, colleges have boosters. If North Carolina really wants Donovan, they’ll likely find a way to get him. Besides the money, Billy Donovan is one of the greatest coaching minds to coach in college. He basically did the impossible in 2006 and 2007. He won back to back championships with Florida, in dominating fashion. Florida was the first program to accomplish the feat since Duke last did it in 1991 and 1992. With the way that college basketball has changed in the recent years, it’s a feat that will likely never again be accomplished. I’d take that guy on my sideline every day of the week and twice on Sundays.
- Wes Miller: It may be a little early to put Miller on the list, but he should definitely be an option for the Tar Heels. Miller played for North Carolina from 2003-2007, winning one national championship. Miller is hot name among up and coming coaches. He became the head coach at UNC-Greensboro in 2012, after a small stint as the interim head coach after former coach Mike Dement resigned. Since 2012, the Spartans have made the NCAA Tournament twice. Just a couple of weeks ago, Miller led his 21-7 Spartans in a first round match-up versus Florida State, where they were knocked out after losing 64-54. It would be perfect if Williams decided to retire in two or three years instead of today. That way Miller could have more time to grow as a coach. However, I’m fine with him coming on right now! The guy is the winningest coach in UNC-Greensboro program history. He’s 38.
- Hubert Davis: Is it finally time to give the keys of the program to Davis? He joined Williams’ coaching staff at UNC in 2012, after leaving the television business. He is the best candidate for the Tar Heels, in terms of an ‘inside guy.” He has been Roy’s top assistant since he joined, and now it’s his time to take over the Tar Heel legacy. Davis averaged 8.8 points per game in his career in the NBA. Davis has also been a big factor in recruiting for the Heels. If he wants to bring the program back to national prominence, he’ll have to hit the recruiting trail hard this year.
Follow Me on Twitter: @BrownlojCLE