“I no longer think I am the right man for the job.”
That was the most impactful quote from Roy Williams’ retirement speech this afternoon in the Dean Smith Center. Surrounded by the media as well as Carolina personnel, Coach Williams gave a speech that many of us won’t forget anytime soon. It was blunt, it was raw, and it was extremely emotional, and I will be the first to admit that it was hard to listen to without tearing up.
Let’s start at the beginning. Roy Williams began the speech by saying that he wishes this were an April Fool’s joke, but does confirm that he is retiring as the head coach of the North Carolina Tar Heels. He discussed how much he has loved being a coach, and how it is what he had always wanted to do ever since the summer after his 9th grade year. That is when he discussed the reason why, which was pure and simple: “I no longer think I am the right man for the job.”
Williams would go on to list all of his accomplishments over the last six years before diving into his missteps over the last couple of seasons. Always his biggest critic, he went on to list mistakes from last season such as not reminding the team to foul while up by three against Clemson, blowing a three-point lead against Duke, the six games that were lost at the buzzer, and finally, losing to Syracuse in the final game of the ACC Tournament. When it came to this season, he said that he didn’t manage to get the team to buy into what he wanted them to do. He then proceeded to list some great moments like sweeping Duke, but then stated, “I just didn’t get it done consistently enough.”
During the rest of his prepared remarks Roy Williams would go on to discuss everything he has achieved while at the University of North Carolina, and thanked many of his former players and staff. Near the end of his remarks, he had this to say:
“If I can get through this period here, I going to try to put aside the fact that I no longer feel like I’m the right person, and try to concentrate on the fact that I’m really proud of what we accomplished.”
The floor was then opened up for questions from the media, and a few things were asked that we now have answers to. According to Williams, his retirement has nothing to do with the current college basketball climate (transfers, NIL, etc.), he did not know that he was retiring when he kissed the logo on the floor, and his players had no idea what was coming until he spoke with them on a Zoom call earlier today. Needless to say, the door is still open for players to make their way in and out of the program, but it’s possible that many of them stick around to see who the new head coach will be.
Speaking of, at the time of writing this article Bubba Cunningham has gotten a chance to speak with reporters. What we’ve learned is that he is not going to exclusively seek candidates inside the Carolina family, would prefer someone with head coaching experience, and also would prefer someone who is already coaching on the college level. This means that the door is pretty wide open when it comes to who Cunningham may interview, so we will see what happens in the coming weeks.
Going back to Roy Williams’ words earlier today, it was hard not feel a stab in the gut whenever Williams mentioned not being the right man for the job. Sure, he made some mistakes as any head coach would, but at the end of the day there were a good amount of factors that played a part in what has happened the last couple of seasons. Injuries, shooting woes, COVID, early exits, and other sources of adversity didn’t make anything easy for the Hall of Fame coach, and I truly believe that if his final roster had gotten a proper preseason things would’ve went much better. But unfortunately we will never know how things would’ve went, and now one of the greatest college basketball coaches of all time will ride off into the sunset. It’s fantastic that he left on his terms, but it was said terms that made this hurt even more.
As much as I hate to say it, the show does indeed go on. We will be here to provide any updates that we receive when it comes to the head coaching search, but I’d also like to know all of your thoughts on Roy Williams’ speech. Do you think he was too hard on himself? Too easy on himself? Who do you think the new head coach will be? Let us know in the comments below.