I see it all the time, writers and fans alike who spout phrases such as “who will replace Roy Williams?” Or, “if Roy Williams returns...” Now, I am not sure if this is just used as click-bait or just fun fan banter to create what ifs and other woulda coulda shouldas, but we need to bring an end to this.
Listen, I get it. It’s fun to think about possibilities and create crazy scenarios, I have been known to do this too from time to time. But we really need to leave Ol’ Roy alone. I understand that he is turning 66 soon, and that he is coming off of knee surgery, and that he has had bouts with vertigo, but Carolina fans, y’all are spoiled.
I just don’t understand it. Dean Smith coached UNC for 36 years, compiled an 879-254 (.776), and two championships. Roy Williams has been at UNC for 13 years, has a record of 365-108 (.772), and won two championships. Not to mention Williams had his two championships within his first six years. I am not trying to say Williams is better than Dean Smith by any means, but he accomplished very similar feats in less amount of time, yet people are always wondering if he is going to coach much longer at UNC.
Why the disrespect? Why must we always be questioning Roy Williams’ tenure as coach of North Carolina? Is it because he is getting older? Mike Krzyzewski is 69 years old and has had two different surgeries since April but no one is calling for his replacement. No one is disrespecting him to the point of questioning his in-game decision-making. People are going to point to specific games and suggest that there have been lapses in decisions that have resulted in losses. I.e. against Duke in Chapel Hill this past season. But you can point to any coach on any team and find a time when the right play wasn’t called, or there wasn’t the correct execution of something. Regardless, it really needs to stop. How many great coaches deal with this kind of scrutiny throughout the year, especially like Roy Williams did at the Final Four.
Aside from all of this, who is a better coach for Carolina? Honestly, who do you guys want to replace him? Roy Williams is 2nd among coaches All-Time with NCAA tournament wins. He is 3rd All-Time in Final Four appearances, and only one current coach has more championships than him. So who exactly do you want to replace him with? Who could do a better job than that exactly?
People are going to refute these arguments by citing the fact that lately UNC has not had the top recruiting hauls that Carolina fans are used to. UNC has not had a top 10 recruiting class since 2012, which is bonkers to some people. And I get the frustration, but these “poor” recruiting classes are due partly to the NCAA scandal (not Roy’s fault) and the lack of one-and-dones that UNC has had lately (yay for seniors).
And I know that aside from this past year, since the 2009 Championship season, the farthest UNC has gone in the NCAA tournament is the Elite 8, which last occurred during the 2012 season. I know the early exists from the NCAA tournament over the past few seasons were not up to par with what the fan base expects. However, it isn’t like UNC has been upset in the tournament. They have been losing to high seeds and mostly fellow blue-blood programs. See list below.
2016- #1 seed UNC. NCAA Runner-up. Lost to #2 seed Villanova.
2015- #4 seed UNC. Sweet Sixteen. Lost to #1 seed Wisconsin.
2014- #6 seed UNC. Round of 32. Lost to #3 seed Iowa State.
2013- #8 seed UNC. Round of 32. Lost to #1 seed Kansas.
2012- #1 seed UNC. Elite 8. Lost to #2 seed Kansas.
2011- #2 seed UNC. Elite 8. Lost to #4 seed Kentucky.
2010-#4 seed UNC. NIT Runner-up. Lost to #3 seed Dayton.
But I am not going to argue good losses here. I am going to argue for the Roy Williams retiring talk to stop. The man said he wants to coach at UNC “5-9 more years.” So let’s not spend the next half-decade to a decade talking about when he or won’t he retire. Let’s take the man for his word and enjoy the rest of the ride, because not many teams have it better than us.