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UNC Basketball: Roy Williams named USA Today Sports National Coach of the Year

After being snubbed of the ACC Coach of the Year award, Williams finds himself earning national honors.

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NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at North Carolina Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Not long ago, the ACC released their annual awards for the best players / coaches in the conference. Much to many’s surprise, Roy Williams found himself in third place for the ACC Coach of the Year award, with Tony Bennett winning the award and Buzz Williams having the second-most votes. While Bennett winning wasn’t the biggest surprise, Roy earning the third-most votes was maybe the biggest head-scratcher of all.

More than a week later, it turns out that good ol’ Roy would get some recognition after all. USA Today Sports released their All-American team / coaches awards, and Roy Williams was named the USA Today Sports Coach of the Year.

Here is what they had to say about Coach Williams:

The Tar Heels came on strong late in the season, winning 15 of their last 17 to finish as co-champions of the ACC and earn an NCAA tournament No. 1 seed. While this UNC team had veteran pieces (Cameron Johnson, Luke Maye and Kenny Williams) to drive its success, it was Williams’ ability to mesh that experience with young talent (Coby White, Garrison Brooks and Nassir Little) that helped North Carolina peak now. As much hype as Duke got and as good as Virginia was, North Carolina was among the elite and it’s as a result of Williams’ coaching and winning culture.

For Tar Heels fans, the recognition of Roy Williams’ ability to coach is a pretty big deal. He is often overlooked for coaching awards, which is especially confusing given his ability to develop players at an elite level. Arguably his biggest claim to fame is how senior forward Luke Maye turned out, as he is a preseason All-American, second-team All-ACC, and yes, a national champion thanks to his heroics in the Elite Eight game against Kentucky. Williams has done a fantastic job all year with this team that got off to a shaky start, and now they are a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament and, in some circles, a favorite to get to the Final Four.

Congratulations to Roy Williams, and hopefully this isn’t the last time we hear his name as national outlets continue to roll out their national awards.